Have you seen all of the elaborate inventions trying to reinvent water fun?
I'm talking about some next-level party shit. Inflatable Relaxation Stations. Hot Tub Boats.
The 2012 model of the Intex Oasis Paradise Island Float Lounge Station Inflatable Relaxation Pool Raft (as it is listed on eBay) measures 8.5 feet by 8 feet and features big inflatable back rests, cup holders, a mesh floor, and Boston valves. It retails for $289. An earlier model, called the Pacific Paradise Lounge, resembles the Dharma insignia from "Lost." The hatch-sized octagonal floaty is bright yellow and red and, according to Amazon.com, customers who bought this item also bought the Kwik Tek Airhead Aqua Oasis Inflatable Island. It's so much more than a floating cooler.
And then there's Seattle's Hot Tub Boats, "a concept born out of necessity. Ok, maybe it was a bit more of a 'want' but sometimes the line between the two is a bit blurry. Hot Tub Boats offers one of the most luxurious and magical experiences," according to the website.
I'd get in it. But these fancy contraptions make me think that their inventors must not have experienced the simple summer pleasure of lazing down a fat Southern river. An inner tube, a couple Ziploc bags of beer, and a river unwinding so slowly beneath the trees that it feels as if the heat has brought everything to a complete stop except for the current's slow tug.
No speakers blaring, no boat motors revving, just the lapping of water, and the occasional muffled plunk of a friend slipping off the tube for a swim.
The only thing that might possibly take the experience to the next level is the Kwik Tek Airhead Aqua Oasis Inflatable Island. It does hold 24 beers.