Biz Stone's Ring
Photo by Paige Green/Courtesy of Biz Stone
In tech, Biz Stone is a giant. First he cofounded Twitter, which got the whole world talking in 140 characters or less. Now he's working on Jelly, an app for crowdsourcing answers to questions. But in nature, Stone is a simple man. He survives with a sense of humor.
My wife, Livy, and I got married summer 2007. That October, some friends invited us on a kayak trip on Tomales Bay in Northern California.
Neither of us had any experience even going on a hike. Livy didn't think it was a good idea. She had looked up Tomales Bay and read that it was full of sharks, which have terrified her since she saw Jaws when she was, like, three. I kept chipping away at her, and finally she agreed to go. From then on out, it was destined to be a disaster.
The plan was to meet up at this outfitter near the bay and rent camping equipment and kayaks. On the way, I took a few wrong turns. I assumed it was fine to stop for bagels. By the time we arrived, everyone was waiting with their boats and gear.
Of course, none of the good stuff was left. My wetsuit was two sizes too big. We got this kinda junky plastic boat. We put our stuff in garbage bags and just trusted that the guys at the shop had snapped the cargo holds tight.
We got a late start and couldn't see any of our friends because it was foggy, and we were all sort of dispersed in this choppy water. I was in the back, and Livy was in the front. Gradually, the boat kept getting harder and harder to paddle. Every time a wave went by, it seemed like we were going to fall over.
I shouted up to Livy, "Is the top of the boat supposed to be flush with the surface of the water?"
She yelled, "What?" It was hard to hear over the wind and waves.
I thought, "Well, I won't mention it." A wave came, and I could tell we were about to flip. I yelled, "Did anyone tell us what to do if the boat flips over?"
I couldn't see her face, but I'm sure she wasn't happy.
Another wave came and dumped us into the water. The cargo holds popped open, and all of our stuff fell into the bay. I managed to grab one of the garbage bags as we were hanging on to our upside-down boat.
Livy started blowing like crazy on the rescue whistle attached to her life vest. I started making jokes: "The good news is that the sharks won't go hungry." That, of course, was the wrong thing to say.
I helped Livy tip the boat over and get back in, but I was holding on, treading water for about 20 minutes before one of our friends showed up and helped us pump out the cargo hold and shut the traps properly. We struggled to shore just as it was getting dark. Everything we had was soaked. No one had brought extra stuff, so Livy and I lay on the floor of our wet tent, shivering uncontrollably underneath a sheet. I thought that if I fell asleep she might kill me.
As dawn broke, I happened to look at my hand, and I realized my wedding ring was gone. But Livy wasn't really angry with me about the ring, more about everything else.
I got a new ring, made of recycled silver, and Livy got us kayaking lessons. That old gold band's like the precious Hobbit ring now, at the bottom of Tomales Bay.