Team members: Alex Kozma
Hometown: Langley, British Columbia, Canada
Race vessel: Seaward Kayaks Chilco X3
Human propulsion: Paddle
If anything it’s your fault, Mustang. No, we’re not blaming you, but you knew who he was when you hired him.
Really, it happens to everyone. There’s this kind of desperate human optimism that justifies our desire for something by making us focus on the parts that fit our ideal and convinces us that we can fix the parts we don’t like. If I love him enough he’ll stop cheating on me. With enough treat training that wolf dog won’t eat my other hand. If we hire outdoor professionals who live and breathe the outdoors to work in our outdoor gear company, we’re sure that they’ll love their cubicle jobs and work under the inside fluorescents with the steadfast zeal of a Midwestern puritan.
Sure, we could play along like he asked us to, but the fact is that it’s no coincidence that Alex is calling in sick at the same time as the Race to Alaska. Mustang, as our friend and sponsor, we’re going to grab your shoulders, look you in the eye and give it to you straight: Alex isn’t sick, he’s kayaking to Alaska in the R2AK.
Cry it out. Cry it out.
Think of the bright side: he’s not seeing other companies. He just needs some space. He’s juggling a lot right now: this job, two kids, and he’s got that whole turning 40, ‘What the hell happened to my life?’ thing going on. You know Alex. He was a big-time paddler, outdoor guide certified, just look at the picture of him as a kid winning a medal in some kayak competition—he’s been a kayaker for a long time. Look at the paddle map he submitted with his resume—he’s already paddled most of the coast. You can’t expect him to unhear the call of the wild. Admit it, that’s a big part of why you were attracted to him in the first place.
Of course he’s freaking out. Wilderness and wild abandon used to be his day to day; now what’s he got? The weekends you give him, all 57 of your Canadian holidays, and his commute. You didn’t know that he paddles three hours to work? You didn’t notice the wet footprints in the lobby? That he wears Mustang drysuits around the office? No, we don’t think it’s entirely out of school spirit, and no, spray skirts are not common for casual Fridays. We know, it’s a lot to process.
Come here, big hug.
We’re going to get through this. We’ll keep track of him, make sure he stays safe and always wears his drysuit (yes, the one you made for him) and when he comes back we can all sit down and talk it out. In the meantime, let’s exploit the hell out of the fact that he’s one of your employees, and use every chance we get to talk about Mustang Survival Gear. Feel better?
Yes, we’ll stop hugging you now.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Mustang Team Ghost the Coast. We think it’s awesome you work for a place that would let you do this thing.