A Letter of Apology to the Ottawa Emergency Services

Last weekend, my boyfriend and I decided to take my family’s newly purchased boat out on the Ottawa River for a romantic sunset cruise. We had wine and a small snack, and I must admit, I thought I might even get a little lucky that night. Instead, we spent at least two extra hours stuck in the middle of the river with a dead engine, at which point I decided to call the Ottawa Emergency Services.

Right away I should have suspected something was wrong, as the boat wasn’t going its normal speed and wasn’t able to hydroplane. Truth be told, I know very little about boats.

About halfway between the Parliament Buildings and where we took off, the engine gave out. We thought this was due to a shortage of gas, so we switched the tanks, and hooked up the full one. We played around a bit with the gas pump, and the boattook off again, this time making it to the parliament buildings and then started on our way back.

Once again, the engine gave out, but this time the sun had fully set and we knew it wasn’t an issue of gas. So my boyfriend, assuming the testosterone-driven, patriarchal role that he had been raised to fill, gave me his sweater and started playing around with the engine, doing things that I can’t even begin to comprehend, while I tried my best to be useful.

Immediately I went for the emergency kit. But of course the emergency flashlight decided that this was the best time to run out of batteries. By this time my boyfriend had given up the manly man role,  so I looked  for the next tool in the kit: an air horn. Poised for the blast, I covered my ears and waited for him to blow it. The word “anticlimactic” has never been more appropriate,, the horn sounded like the last breath of a dying seal.

So I called my dad. His exact words were “Well, what do you want me to do?’ Thanks, Dad. He suggested we flag down another boat to tow us in. Great advice, but there weren’t any boats to be seen, so I called 911. They transferred me to the fire department, at which point I had a very composed and amiable conversation with the dispatcher. He asked if anyone was in distress to which I answered no, but explained that I just wanted to go home and not sleep on the Ottawa River that night. The dispatcher then explained to me that if they did come and rescue us, we would have to put the anchor down and leave the boat overnight.

You would think that I would have, at the very least, known where the anchor  was, but I didn’t. So I got back on the phone with my dad and had him explain where to find it. As I was relaying the directions to my boyfriend and speaking to my dad, my boyfriend found the anchor. It was in the water. We had driven the whole way to the Parliament Buildings and back with the anchor in the water.

Turns out neither of the Bailey sisters are too bright when it comes to boating excursions. My sister had been the last one to take the boat out with her friends, and had decided to anchor at a sunny spot. Her friend volunteered and threw out the anchor, forgetting to check if it was actually attached to the boat. Well it was attached to the boat, but my sister was none the wiser, and thought that they had just lost the anchor, so she also drove home with the anchor still in. High five sista!

Had our situation taken a turn for the worst, this really would have qualified for a Darwin Award.

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