Usually when I leave my studio to go fishing I’m not very talkative. I’m not exactly a bear, but to clear my head there’s nothing better than to concentrate on casting my fly without making tons of knots and, if you’re half blind like me, to strive to see fish when there are practically none and, finally, to maintain my balance on those dumb rocks that are as slippery as soap from Marseille.
On that day, in the middle of MY river, in MY favorite spot, there was a guy installed; he looked rather amiable, not the kind of show off thinking “look at me, I am the perfectly attired fisherman!”.
I approached the character and discovered that he was using a fly that gave him slim chances of attracting a fish, even a drunk one.
So, always being the good samaritan, I offered him one of my flies that had proven itself the miracle of the season: my famous scarab. To my great surprise he didn’t even take the trouble to look at me, nor to respond. I thought that perhaps he was excessively timid. I was ready to do an about face when he turned toward me and, surprised by my presence, he uttered a phrase that sounded like: “Ourmf…ourf… Greu… Grrr.”
I quickly realized that the guy in question was deaf and dumb and that those sounds that came from his throat, resembling water running down a drain, were all that the poor soul could offer as conversation.
I opened my metal box of flies that contained the invincible scarab and offered him one.
After a few croakings he accepted my offer with a big smile. I’m here to tell you that I have never seen anything as luminous and sincere as his sunny smile (except, of course, for that of my wife). It was the kind of smile that that I saw as a kid when my christian friends had first communion cards with beaming cherubs, gold glitter and the good lord saying: “Hello!” with a gesture to invite you to refrain from messing around with young girls until anointed by a priest at the alter.
Naturally, we fished together like two old friends, I showed him the best spots in my river and he clucked and croaked like a family of happy frogs savoring a delicious dessert of flies.
We spent an afternoon of pure delight, one of those rare moments of silence and perfect harmony. The next day I returned, in the hopes of seeing my deaf and dumb friend and enjoy again, rich hours of peace. I found, instead, two confusingly ugly guys who, each time they missed a fish, would squeal like pigs having their throats slit. I finally reached the riverbank where their wives encouraged them while listening to “Europe 1” as loud as possible and smacking their howling kids
Even when I reached the other side of the river, way below past the bend, I could still hear the flow of nonsense, each more one vulgar than the other… vanished, the sweet silence of yesterday… gone, the almost zen harmony; with rage in my heart I packed up my gear and returned home to my wife for consolation (she does it so well!) and to a bottle of Cotes du Rhone.
Dear readers, if, by the greatest coincidence, you know a deaf and dumb fly fisherman, I beg you to leave me his address at the office of le Mouching who will in turn pass it on to me. My mental health depends on it…