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Time To Abandon This Sinking Ship

| Friendly | December 2, 2016

(My family and I go to a group camp out on one of the lakes. It’s organized for and by a loose group of about 200 people with one woman taking the lead and others arranging segments. One of the activities is a kayak trip leaving this camp ground in the morning, heading south, stopping for lunch at a place secured by me, and then paddling another several miles to a pull out where a bus and trailer will meet us. I have a daughter with special needs, so I brought my own tandem kayak and two singles. We get there and mark our camp site with tarps and pin them down with the kayaks. After dinner we get back to the site and my tandem kayak is gone! My kids and I walk down to the lake to see if the kayak is there. It is. My son and I pick it up and head back up to our camp site.)

Woman: “Hey! What are you doing?! We’re using that boat!”

Me: “Sorry, there seems to be some confusion. This boat is mine.”

(I continue walking. She runs up to us and stands in my way.)

Woman: “No! I have a child who wants to go on the paddle tomorrow but is too small to go alone. We’re going to use this boat.”

Me: “No, this boat is mine. I don’t think the camp owns any two-seaters.”

Woman: “I was told I could use this boat!”

Me: “I really don’t know who could have told you that. The boat belongs to me. I brought it here for my daughter and me to use. It is my boat. I gave no one permission to use it.”

Woman: “I asked [Organizer]. She said I could use it!”

Me: “It is not hers to promise out. It does not belong to her. It does not belong to the camp. It belongs to me.”

Woman: “We’ll just see about that!”

(She storms off and I think that is the end of it. But nope. She and the organizer come stomping up to my camp site just as I get there.)

Woman: “She took this boat from us! You said we could use it tomorrow.”

Organizer: “Yes, I told them they could use it. Her child would not be able to row on his own.”

Me: “There seems to be some confusion. The boat does not belong to the camp. It is my personal boat. It will be used by me and my daughter, no one else.”

Organizer: “I told her she could use it.”

Me: “Why would you think you have that right? It isn’t your boat. It doesn’t belong to this camp. It belongs only to me. It is registered to me. The number on the side of this kayak is a number issued to me. It is my boat. You can’t promise out someone else’s property.”

Organizer: “I said she could use it.”

Me: “I don’t care.”

Organizer: “You need to let her use it.”

Me: “I assure you, I don’t.”

(During this conversation, my son and I put the kayak back on the roof of our van and lock it in place. Someone with the woman actually tries to pull it off.)

Man: “How do you unhook this strap?”

Me: “With the key.”

(My son and I load the other two kayaks, toss our gear into the back of the van, and he and his sisters get in.)

Me: “I don’t know who you all think you are. I don’t know why you would possibly think that you can just take someone else’s property. I have explained repeatedly that the kayak belongs to me. Now, you have promised about 30 people that they will have burgers and entertainment down the lake at noon tomorrow. I am the one who knows where. I believe I am the only one who knows where. But I’m leaving so you are screwed. Have fun.”

(I did indeed call my friends whose property we had planned to pull out onto and told them it was off. They invited their friends over and had a grand time the next night. The band even agreed to change their time from noon to 7. I brought my kayaks and let the guests paddle around. The tandem got a lot of use. I have no idea if the group paddle at the camp out even occurred.)

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