Schadenfreude

I’m not anti-jet ski.  I’ve ridden them before–most memorably a four-hour rental on Rangeley Lake on a cold and stormy late-August day when the boys were young–and I’ll ride them again. They are undeniably fun.  They also sound like the bastard offspring of a dentist’s drill and an aquatic chain saw.  They are annoying when ridden in circles on the same place again and again and again and again.

Like today.  Neighbors were racing out of the neighboring cove, turning in front of our property, and riding in circles about 400 feet off our dock.  For hours, uncharacteristic traffic for our quiet lake.  These aren’t teenage boys but men who appear to be in their 30’s or older.  We were on our dock most of the day, subjected to endless wake-jumping right in front of us.  I would have been content if they’d spread their noise all around the lake, or wake-jumped in front of their own waterfront for hours.  But they didn’t.  Mostly they rode in a 200-yard circle right outside our cove.

It was all worth it, though, after one of the riders fell from his jet ski a few hundred feet from our dock.  He was unharmed, wearing a life vest, and in no physical distress. And it was the aftermath, not his fall, that we enjoyed.  Climbing aboard his top-heavy frame unbalanced and rolled the jet ski, dropping him him in the water.  He moved again to the stern and very carefully pulled his torso onto the seat, but when he pulled his legs aboard the jet ski rolled and he fell in again.  And again. And again. And again. This continued for about 10 minutes. For a while his companion watched from a few feet away on the other jet ski without offering any help. Then rode away, leaving his hapless friend on his own. I met his first dozen attempts with a “serves-you-right=you=boor” attitude, but after a while his pathetic inability to solve his problem became as annoying as his endless wake-jumping.  I was considering swimming out to assist–either counter-balancing the ski or pointing to the shore 60 feet away where he could climb aboard from a rock–when he arrived on his own at the later solution.

3 thoughts on “Schadenfreude”

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