Thursday, January 05, 2006

I might be being a "212"...

One of the many interesting factoids (or possibly mythoids) I picked up during my 3 years at Manhattan Kayak Company was that in the world of adventure-sport guiding and outfitting, there's a certain type of client noted for being...oh, let's just say difficult. Demanding, neurotic, with expectations of nothing short of an Outdoor Magazine-writeup-worthy experience with 5 star cuisine and a masseuse and a manicurist waiting at the end of the day (ok, I MAY be exaggerating slightly) and in some cases a totally Disneyfied view of nature (or at least a tendency to think that as long as you have your cell phone, somebody is always going to be able to come bail you out if you get in over your head). Now I don't know HOW widespread the use of this particular jargon is, but I have heard that the adventure-sport industry code word for this type of person is:


Scenario: After 20 minutes of intense telephonic interrogation, adventure-sport outfitter employee #1 says into phone "If you can just hold on one moment, I'll check that out...", puts client on hold, rolls eyes, and groans to employee #2 - "Oh my god, what a 212...". Employee #2 shakes head sympathetically (and thanks his or her lucky stars that #1 was closer to the phone when the fateful ring did rend the peaceful air).

"212" is, of course, the primary area code for Manhattan.

Get it?

Ever read Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air? In that book, Sandy Pittman ended up coming across as the quintessential 212.

Now, obviously living in Brooklyn I can't be a real "212" but last night I was guilty of sending of a possibly 212-ish email to Sweetwater Kayaks - I'm leaning more and more towards going to their BCU and Greenland week - I know exactly what I want to do for the first 3 days, but the last day nothing's really jumping out at me. Problem is that on Friday it's a lot of Part II's of 2-part classes, plus one thing I will have taken on Wednesday (which would probably not be terrible to take again - 2 days working with Nigel Foster couldn't hurt), plus one other thing that might or might not be good (Trip & Group Management - could be a good brush-up since I haven't guided in so long, but since I'm also not likely to be guiding much in the future - unless I leave New York - I do have to ask myself "Why brush up skills you won't use?"

So last night, going on the assumption "It can't hurt to ask" but also feeling a little bit like I've got to be being a pain by doing so (I mean, it's pretty straightforward - there's no surfing scheduled for the BCU week, for that you go to their symposium) I emailed 'em and asked if there was any way to maybe go do some surfing on Friday. That would be awesome but it just isn't on the schedule...if I don't ask and there is some way that could happen then I'd be missing out on something that I'd really like to do for no reason.

But I do hope they aren't looking at my email & going "Oh, no, not a 212". I really don't want to be a pain. I would just really really really love to surf something better than a ferryboat wake, that's all...

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