This year has been remarkable in that the guests have been fairly on time. Almost everyone has showed up within 15 minutes of the hour and with their paperwork completed. This has saved a lot of time in the morning. It also shows that our constant "nagging" is working. No one wants to wait for anyone in 105 degree weather. The bus driver needs to keep on schedule. The guides want to get you on the water. The other guests don't want to wait when they were there on time and ready to go. So I think, our clients have been just wonderful this year. Almost everyone has been on time.
What's also been remarkable is the type of client coming on our rafting trips. They have been what we like to call type B personalities. Laid back... undemanding. Everything is cool as long as they get to go rafting on the river. Kind of a guide's perspective... if you know what I mean.
As a guide, all of us share the common stories of hardship in trying to get to a particular river trip. I'm sure you've read our stories on our website of crazy situations and traveling problems to the rivers. None of it ever matters, once you're on the river. The river soothes all things and smooths the sharp edges away. Nothing matters, but the river. And it seems that our guests feel the same way. They may have fought their way through awful driving conditions, ie, traffic, snowstorm? or getting the kids ready, to get to us, but they arrive with smiles on their faces and an infectious enthusiasm for something that is totally unknown to them. But, it's a river and the water connects us all.
A prime example was the other morning. The bus was not there at 9:00am as usual. The guests were all on time and ready to go at 9am. The driver was off schedule due to another group's late arrival, so the driver would not be there until 9:15am. The group was laid back and most just went to the edge of the river to wade in the water. They were laughing and talking and introducing themselves to each other.
One small group, a mom, dad and a couple of kids, stood off to the side. The kids were antsy as kids usually are, but the Dad was mad. "I got here on time and I don't want to wait... Jimmy stop splashing me..." and on and on. He was upset and we hadn't even started. The guy focused on the company and started in with one of the guides. "Why can't you get another bus here now," the dad demanded. The guide, patiently, explained that the driver would be there within minutes. As they spoke, the bus came down the hill and a collective cheer rose from the group. Everyone got on board quickly.
Everyone was ready to roll, but the Dad was still angry. He started yelling at his kids and then the mom got in the act. The entire bus listened to this guy berate his entire family while the onlookers tried not to stare. Suddenly, someone started laughing in the background as a joke was told. The laughter helped to break the uneasy situation. Maybe that's what made the Dad stop.
Perspective is the key. Did it kill him that the bus was a few minutes late? Didn't he bring his family rafting because he wanted to enjoy the company of his children and spouse on a wonderful river trip? Did he realize how he affected the others around him with his tirade?
Sometimes life is hard and difficult. The best laid plans go awry. Sometimes things just don't work out and we have to deal with that in the best possible way... or we go the easy route, and just give up. The people who I've met around rivers and paddling are not quitters. They are the best damn people I've ever met. They never quit, they don't complain and they find solutions for any obstacle in their way. It's kind of a paddlers creed, and it works in real life, too.
For those of you who are type A personalities... the river will soon change you... and you will feel the same way we do soon... just get on as many rafting trips as you can and you will find nirvana on the river... just chill; you'll enjoy yourself even more.