After an afternoon kayaking outing on one of the last warm summer afternoons of the year, I returned to the dock where I’d put in to pry myself out of the cockpit. There was a man in the water hanging on to the end of the dock. I asked him how the water was, thinking he was in there to cool off, but he made it clear that he wasn’t swimming for pleasure: “My girlfriend threw my pants in the water and all my money is in the pockets.”I peered into the water that was in my shadow. On the bottom I could just make out a shopping cart and a green ride-share bike, but no pants. He said they were farther out, but on that side of my kayak there was only glare. I hauled myself up on the dock and wished him luck, as much for finding his pants as for finding a new girlfriend.On the drive home I regretted not doing anything more to help, but he had a diving mask on, so if the pants were somewhere near the dock, he’d be able to see and retrieve them; the water there is only about 12′ deep.

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