When I was 14, my friend, Susie, invited a few of us for a sleepover on Friday night. Her backyard was an avocado grove that sloped to a drainage ditch we called the La Branca. It had rained heavily that evening, so the next day we took Styrofoam boogie boards and rode them down into the ditch, where we happily paddled downstream.
Of course, it was dangerous. I can hardly believe I did it, and now I envision being sucked into the sewer or wherever that little ditch goes. My mother was horrified. I remember her telling my dad, “Donna played in a ditch Saturday morning.”
In recent years, I’ve been pretty tame. I avoid bad weather and hunker down inside. Until today.
We have a regular Tuesday golf group and most canceled because of anticipated rain. I was the first one to arrive at the golf course, and it was deserted. This was about 9:30 a.m., and my tee time was 10:04. It was sprinkling off and on, but the big rain was expected around 12:30 p.m. I putted a little bit and checked my emails. Two more had canceled. I thought, I could wait around another 30 minutes and be the only one here. I’m going for it.
I asked the guy in the shop if I could go out alone, and he said sure, he’d tell anyone in my group who showed up I got an early start to try and beat the rain. Rain, you can’t stop me! I was dressed in multiple layers with a rain jacket over it all. And a good hat.
Not that golf is dangerous in the rain unless there’s lightening, but it’s kind of a mess. I’ve been sort of a fair weather golfer lately, but I was ready to begin the adventure. I usually walk, and I considered taking a cart, but I figured wet is wet. A cart won’t save me, and my pull cart has an umbrella.
It was so much fun. I had the course to myself, and I felt like a kid again. It did get pretty wet out there, but I managed to walk 18 holes in three hours … before the big deluge. But it was fun! If I weren’t retired, I might have felt ripped off, but I have plenty of time, and I like to stay active. That said, as I’ve gotten older, I’m pickier about enjoying the outdoors in less than ideal conditions.
As I walked up to the golf shop, I saw the rest of the group. Just three brave souls. They quit at the turn, where they were happy to see the club house, and we decided gather inside for a bite to eat.
And that was my only mistake. Sitting there for an hour in wet clothes gave me a chill. On the way home, I put the car heater on high and heated up my seat, too. I really didn’t warm up until I got home and took off those wet clothes. My golf junk is soaked and drying out in the garage.
I’ve come to think whatever your sport, whatever your weather, if you’re properly dressed, a little nastiness won’t hurt you. What do you think? Ride it out inside or go for it? For me, it was just plain fun, and in the future, I will be more open to getting outside when it’s wet.
But super cold weather? Let’s sit by the fire and talk about that for awhile.
Donna Pekar is an aging badass (for real) who lives in California and writes Retirement Confidential.