without time to even think how stupid i was, i was completely under water--except for my arm that held the bottom of the overturned kayak. it seemed essential not to lose the kayak or the paddle. it also seemed essential to hold onto something, anything. my feet could find no bottom. the sides of the river were steep and muddy.
i didn't yell as much as took in air in a noisy fashion. the cold immediately made it impossible to breath. a couple giant breaths came in, but nothing came out. i sounded like those guys on the fire breathing chicken commercial.
i heard lisa say something about letting go of the kayak and paddle. as slippery as the bottom of a kayak is, i was willing to claw myself into it rather than let go. it was the only land in sight.
finally i found some footing, walked up to knee deep water, and made a new series of freezing noises. lisa helped me dump out three quarters of the water. i got back in to try to paddle to a better shoreline to get the rest out. having gallons of water sloshing in the bottom of the kayak made the short trip to the opposite shore very unstable. i was pretty sure i was going in again.
i didn't. we got most of the water out. we switched kayaks so lisa could sit in my damp one while i dampened her dry one. it made sense at the time.
long story short. cold. underwater. stayed cold for hours. woke up the next morning with a sore tail bone, but i don't think that was related to my near icy death.
i have a hard time opening things, but i don't have the foresight to carry a knife. i fear my eyes are growing farther apart and my legs closer together. if i left the room, someone who doesn't know me might say, "who was that nervous guy standing on one leg?"