Sunday, April 24, 2005

Swimming With the Gators

I have a friend who lives on the bayou and has a pontoon boat. The first time I went out on the pontoon boat with him and another couple was the first time I had been on a boat in the bayou. It's beautiful and peaceful and I was told we would ride around the bayou and drink and swim and drink and ride and swim and barbeque and, just generally, relax.

I thought that sounded great but I knew there was no way in hell I was swimming in that bayou knowing there were alligators and snakes everywhere. Although I had never been on a boat in the bayou, I had eaten at many restaurants where you could go out on the porch and see the alligators swim by.

However, drinking and 90 degree heat can weaken even the strongest convictions. I put on a life jacket and carefully descended into the wonderfully cool, still water. Someone handed me my girlie drink (my bayou friend's specialty - a wonderful blend of vodka, frozen raspberry lemonade and frozen limeade, the perfect boat drink) and I was in heaven. We would swim around the boat and under the boat between the pontoons and I never gave a thought to snakes or fish or alligators.

At one point, the other girl with me and I noticed the men had swam off a short distance away from us and were talking quietly and staring off into the distance. She said, "What are they doing?" I said, "I don't know, I think they see something." That's when we saw it. An alligator on the opposite bank slipping into the water. My friend and I made a beeline for the boat ("F**k, f**k, f**k, f**k...") but realized the men weren't following.

My friend hollered, "What are you doing?" They turned around to us and said, "Stay in the water. It's alright. We're going to scare it away." My friend started yelling at her husband to come back and just get on the boat, but it was too late. The testerone and the vodka had blinded and deafened them to common sense and to the sounds of silly women's voices. Off they swam, smacking the water with their hands and feet like idiots trying to scare the alligator away.

If they were hoping to look like manly, cavemen, save-the-women-folk, heros, they were sadly off the mark. Instead, they looked like spastic dolphins smacking the water with their hands and feet and sounded like seals honking across the bayou. It was not a pretty sight and we were praying that no other boaters would come by and see us with those two goofballs. Of course, this being Southeast Texas and all, any men who would have passed would have happily jumped into the water and joined the fracas for fear of being called pussified.

Eventually, the alligator, which I'm sure was laughing it's ass off, went back on the shore, the men came back and the rest of the day was uneventful and we went dancing at the Rodair. Now, that's a full day.


OldHorsetailSnake said...

I sure hope they didn't call that alligator any bad names. That would hurt its feelings, and be contrary to the tenets of ASPCA. According to me.

Lorna said...

between these last two posts, I officially renege on my description of Beaumont as heaven on a sound system. Texas is too testosterone-driven for the likes of little old me...

TrueJerseyGirl said...

I won't go swimming in the bays in NJ because there might be crabs in there and one might nibble gently on my toe. Alligators? OMG, I will pass.

Although that drink you mentioned does sound divine.

Abby Taylor said...

You can just hear the conversation between the two alligators on the shore.

"Hey, Al, wanna see something funny?"

"Yeah, what?

"See those two guys in the water staring at us?" Watch this..."

---- splash splash splash ---

"hahaha Al, that was great!"

"Yeah, dumbasses."

Zina said...

Loved the abby taylor post.

I'm sure the guy would have had a cute remark if he had gotten attacked by the alligator...
"Huh, I didn't think it was a real gator!"

After going on an official swamp tour in New Orleans...the guide fed gators a marshmallow on the end of a very thin stick.
Any guy from the swamps has got to be missing a few brain cells.

OldRoses said...

OMG! That was soooooo male. Bet the gator was female. It had too much sense to go after them.

Laurie said...

Old Horsetail - I think there was some name calling involved. I'll be sure to alert the proper authorities.

Lorna - You are so right. Lots of testosterone but also lots of good food and music. It's a trade-off.

True Jersey Girl - The drink is divine. Summer is coming. I need to make a batch.

Abby - That's funny. That gator did seem to be wondering what all the fuss was about.

Zina - And what about the guys who wrestle those things?! I remember staring at the alligators and crocodiles at the Houston Zoo. Frightening.

Old Roses - Our fear (the women on the boat trip, not the men) was that it WAS a female protecting her young. It could have been ugly.

Aisha said...

Absolutely horrible story --
if yu ever read the early entries in my blog, you know I hate those handbags!


parated2k said...

Oh the Memories!!

When I was a teenager, I lived in Florida for a couple of years. There was a pipe that went over a river not far from our house.

It was a semipopular place for kids to go "pipe jumping" to try to escape (if only for an hour or so) from the Florida summer heat.

The first kids to get there in the morning would take rocks from the banks, walk out onto the pipe and throw them in. The aligators would take their cue and head off into the reids.

The unspoken deal was that, as long as we stayed out of the reids, they wouldn't make breakfast out of us.

It seemed to work, I never even heard of anyone getting attacked there. I tell that story to friends now and they react with shock and horror (or just don't believe me).

The ironic part was, we never felt like we were being macho, or showing off for the girls (except with the belly flops, pushing them off the pipe before they were ready, and other teen antics), we just enjoyed the fun.

Sounds like those guys were real winners though!! ;~D

carrotpenis said...

A friend of mine from college was fishing with his girlfriend's dad when he got the bright idea to throw a fish at an alligator in the water. Instead of eating the fish, the gator charged up onto the beach after them. Surprisingly, he and the girl broke up shortly afterwards.

Glod said...

People don't know that thyey're dating me neither. Oh the sorrows of imaginary love.

Donna said...

OMG. I don't think any amount of vodka would loosen me up enough to go into the water there!

Laurie said...

Aisha - It was actually kind of funny and I hope I didn't give everyone the impression that those guys were total idiots. They were really sweet and a lot of fun. The men down here just think they're indestructible.

Parated2k - That's a GREAT story. We had a levy behind our house and all the kids used to play back there, too. I don't think we had gators but there were nutria rats. Uuuuuugly!

CarrotPenis - That's hilarious! I guess alligators are a bad omen for relationships.

Glod - Thank God it isn't just me!

Donna - The vodka loosened me up but it was the heat that really got me into the water. Well, the heat and a desperate need to get rid of some of the vodka, if you get my drift.

Rik said...

Holy crap, I just don't get you Southern people sometimes. Why in the world would you go anywhere a body of water that had alligators in it?

Reminds me of the time a few years back when we were driving through Alligator Alley in South Florida. There were these guys with their pants rolled up, standing in the water up to their knees fishing. And not even 10 feet away, you could see alligators hanging out in the water.

I just don't get you people...


Dr. Sauce said...

Rik, it's not like they actually do anything (50% of the time...)

Yeah, growing up the way I have, I was like, what, 10? Before I actually realized that alligators are bad things :D.

Wow, thinking back now, I can clearly remember being in some swampy place with my entire family (uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents) and being on my dad's back, walking down a little path with my brothers. Then we saw an alligator on the left of us, maybe seven or eight feet away. It was obviously female, since it was, you know, guarding a big nest of little alligator eggs. So what did my dad do?

He kneeled down with his daughter on his back and young sons around him and pointed at it and brought the whole family around to see, of course.

I've never even thought about that till now. Haha, my family's pretty dumbass.

Laurie said...

Rik - You should see these guys at the beach. Our beach isn't like the Caribbean. If you stand in ankle deep water, you can't see your feet. Yet, people go out chest-deep into the waves to fish! You should see what they pull back to the beach in seines and these guys are standing in it. Freaks me out.

Dr. Sauce - That's funny. We used to go crabbing on the banks of the Sabine River and never thought about alligators. We were little kids (8 or 9 of us cousins) but no one had a life jacket. Good times. Good times.