A Nation of Clubs

Danes love to join clubs. When in Rome . . . while I admit for most of my life I had more of a Groucho Marx sense of joining, who famously said, “I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member,” … this is here and now.

I joined the Danish Film Directors Association this week and signed up for a kayak club. The kayak club was a bit back and forth. I went to to their informational meeting last Saturday and was told based on the number of interested people that we were all accepted. Then on Sunday evening, I received an email saying sorry we miscounted and you didn’t make it in.

That of course prompted my wife to respond in my stead – she was super annoyed. I was less annoyed. However then I had to cancel all the orders for the clothes I needed to do this adventure that I had made on Saturday after being told that I would be accepted.

Then on Thursday I received another email from the club telling me that whoops some people had cancelled on them (this is the most expensive kayak club in Copenhagen by all accounts so no surprise there) and that suddenly they were pleased to accept me.

The challenge now was staying warm enough to survive the training session this weekend – it’s about 50 degrees outside and the water is 48 degrees. So it would only take about 40 minutes to kill you. As I said an adventure.

In the email, the instructor mentioned that you could get an inexpensive wet suit from one of the “Lowe’s” style stores here. I checked online and found that the nearest one with a wet suit was about 4.5 miles by bike from here. I tried calling to make sure they really had the item before I hopped on my bike and rode out there. My danish isn’t good enough to handle automated telephone answering trees so I decided to take the bike ride. It was ten minutes shorter to go by bike than taking public transit.

Twenty-one minutes later I’m at Harald Nyborg next to the airport. I ask the young man at the info desk where I can find the wet suit. He checks and tells me it’s in the stock room and he’ll fetch it. I get an XL because cheap stuff is always cut small and wonder about going for the XXL size. He says it may take him awhile. I respond fine with me – I need to recover from my bike ride anyway.

He’s back in five minutes with the wet suit. I pay the $30 and hit the road. Back home in 30 minutes, I then try to get the suit on. Shit. It almost fits. I’m too tired to ride all the way the hell back out there. Later that evening I measure myself and the suit. It should fit.

I’ve never owned a wet suit or even put on a wet suit. Clearly I did something wrong in trying to get the thing on. I plan to try again or maybe get some help. Or just return the darn thing, which of course requires riding all the way out there again. I’m up in the air about the whole thing. It may just go in the storage room. We’ll see.

Today, I need to buy wool underwear. My plan is to do that before I go swimming. It’s all rather complicated and stressful. My days aren’t usually this filled. What have I got myself into?

I’ll write more about my kayak adventure unless hypothermia sets in. It seems like a lot to learn a new language and a new sport and cope with a new country all at once.

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