The World’s Most Awkward Human Kayaks the Au Sable

Lindsey Toth
3 min readJun 1, 2021
Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

In THIS episode of Most Awkward Human…

Ever since our move from California, I’ve been trying to adapt to my Midwest-midlife-crisis like any “cool” girl would. I’m being flexible. I’m ignoring the urge to complain about bug bites every dang second of every day. I’m paddle boarding, kayaking, and swimming in bodies of water that I would have previously described as “icky”.

I am living that lake life, river life, pond life. It’s actually been quite lovely ever since I accepted that the fish will definitely nibble me whenever they get the chance.

Yeah, I’m pretty relaxed and cool (hair flip). Or at least I WAS… until Monday.

We kayaked up the Au Sable River with Erik’s extended family and then stopped at a nearby pebbly shore to let the kids swim.

On our way back down river I noticed something black and squirmy on my ankle. A LEECH.

Cool Girl disappeared.

I stopped paddling and let out some sounds that were later described by my siblings-in-law as such. “It was like you didn’t need to inhale while continually screaming”. And “you sounded like a car alarm”.

While my kayak bounced off of logs (because I was unable to paddle), I pried the leech off of me by breaking its suction with my thumb nail. It was then stuck to my thumbnail. I thrashed my hand in the water until it was gone.

Traumatized, I got to listen to my nephews imitate Aunt Screechy Leechy while I inspected my foot.

I began paddling again when I found an even larger leech on my heel.

I. COULD. NOT. More car alarm screeching. More bouncing off of logs. Begging my mother-in-law to come peel it off of me bc I could not touch another one. She pulled it off. Then I just stopped on the side of the river to sob.

We passed by some people who live on the river. They said it sounded like we were having a really good time.

At least it’s a good story.

[originally posted on Facebook July 15, 2020]

**All Most Awkward Human stories are real life events from my awkward and very rarely exaggerated perspective. This incident occurred in Roscommon, MI. I still kayak but don’t spend much time standing in rivers anymore. **

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Lindsey Toth

The World’s Most Awkward Human series chronicles my daily struggle to interact normally with people and my environment.