Well, we made it to the middle of the week again, and now we know the Cleveland Browns will be the 2018 Super Bowl Champions. This was the first Hard Knocks season I watched in full. HBO definitely overdoes it with stupid puns and unnecessary cinematic shots, but damn were the Browns entertaining.

If you’ve been reading MWCT at all this summer, you know I’ve been living at my lake house in upstate New York while I look for a full-time job. In honor of summer being “over” with Labor Day having passed, here’s the best story I have from my summer.

Can’t Measure Fog

My old friend from high school, Jimmy, who had been up here many times got the chance to visit a couple weekends ago. We were the first to normalize midnight (and later) kayak trips during high school summers. The middle of a lake on a starry night is an even better place to drink beer than beside the campfire.

After a night of drinking at the local bar that we walked a mile and a half to get to, jumping off the town bridge, and getting a very generous ride home from another friend, we found ourselves home at 1:30 AM. Jimmy had earlier suggested to take out our fishing boat with my cooler rather than go to the bar. We figured we now had the chance to get both done in one night.

We had been playing a drinking game with a measuring tape all night, guessing lengths and distances of random objects. Way more fun than it sounds. What we failed to measure, was the fog on the lake. Jimmy grabbed the flashlight, I grabbed the cooler and got the engine going, and we were off. Shortly into our trip, Jimmy—hanging off the bow with the flashlight—yelled back that there was a buoy right in front of us. Knowing roughly where I was headed, I turned us into deeper water and thought we avoided a problem.

After a few more beers, it was starting to get cold and we realized that our visibility was roughly negative 2. I tried to get the 25 year old engine going, and as it had a few times this summer, it refused to start. So we sat. No phones, only light hoodies, shorts, flip-flops, and a cooler full of beer. Probably 2:30 AM. Jimmy grabbed our only oar and with no sense of purpose or direction, started paddling, likely spinning us in circles. Now we really didn’t know which way is home.

Once again, I pulled on the engine cord. And again. And again. Then VROOM, we got it going. The night would be saved after all, or at least that’s what I thought prior to shifting my attention to our navigation. Jimmy’s plan was to drive a steady speed in one direction until we can see land, figure out where we were, and get home based on that. After maybe 5 minutes of this, I realized that I probably wasn’t going in a true straight line, and with no visibility, we could’ve been headed straight for a rock, a dock, or just the exact wrong way. So Jimmy came up with a new plan, let’s go to sleep.

With a sole boat cushion and some water under my back, I slept between the bow bench and the middle bench. Jimmy had a far more comfortable spot, laying backwards towards the bow. He was snoring before I could even think about sleep.

I was awakened by Jimmy coarsely telling me that he sees another boat. I sat up and sure enough, there was a fishing boat sitting just 50 yards away. I gazed around through the still thick fog, and was able to make out a distinctive tree on the point by our camp. I SEE THE POINT! We were no more than 150 yards from home. I ripped the engine and we were on our way to actual beds. Must have been a good sight for the fishermen: a seemingly empty boat at 6 AM, one guy sits up, another sits up, and then they’re gone.

My mom heard us come in, it was about 6 AM. Jimmy was the first to cross by her doorway and politely directed her question, “where were you guys?” off to me. I heard a small tingle of frustration in her voice so I silently turned into my room, shut the door and went to sleep.

We woke up and it was almost noon, about 4 hours after Jimmy was supposed to be on his way home. We had to tell the story a couple times before he could leave knowing that the next night was sure to be much warmer for each of us.

I wish I could’ve cleared the air of fog, but damn was it fun.