When Laura Abel was approached to join a Polar Bear Plunge team, she said what most people would say: no. After all, you're diving into water in the middle of winter.
"My gut reaction was, 'That's insane. Can I just give you some money!?'" said the 25-year-old Patterson Park resident. Her friend/co-worker Matthew Mayer said that a money donation would be fine, but Abel decided to join his five person team, the awesomely named Bear Naked Bohs, anyway.
"[It's] far more rewarding to jump in and get a little dirty yourself," she said. They've raised $415, but Abel is confident that the team will meet its $1,500 goal — and is attempting to do so in nontraditional ways.
"Much like other nonprofits, I'm giving personalized gifts at various donation levels. However, I think you'll be hard pressed to find a nonprofit that will play Madden with you, buy you a beer or let you dragon kick them."
Best Plunge team ever? You can see for yourself at the Special Olympics fundraiser Saturday at Sandy Point State Park in Annapolis (for more information or to make a donation, go to plungemd.com). As she preps for her inaugural Plunge, Abel talked with us about oversharing cat photos, "Storage Wars" and more.
Worst pet peeve? Verbal corrections of others' grammar. It is probably the single most obnoxious thing in the world (and I guarantee no one thinks it's endearing).
Your worst habit? I'm an oversharer of photos of my two cats. It's teetering dangerously on the edge of crazy cat lady territory.
Plunging strategy? A little assistance from liquid courage.
Trend that has exceeded its natural lifespan? The idea that marriage needs to be defined as between a man and a woman. I'm proud of Maryland's vote in the last election, but there's still work to be done.
TV show you can't get enough of? "Storage Wars." I just read that aspects of the show are (allegedly?) "fake" … and I was completely crushed. I refuse to believe Barry isn't the real deal!
Best way you think you'll get warm after plunging? Please refer to plunging strategy.
Last great meal you had? We just celebrated my fiancé's birthday at Fogo de Chao and were, literally, sweating by the end of the meal/meat marathon.
Favorite and most loathed fashion statements? I have a complete love/hate relationship with hipster fashion. I might snicker at some kid on the street wearing the most outrageous flannel getup, then the next day I walk out of the house looking like a lumberjack wearing an infinity scarf.
Favorite thing about Baltimore? It's impossible to pick one. When Natty Boh occasionally winks at me from his tower, when the Legg Mason lights glowed orange during the O's postseason, every time I hear some heavy Bawlmerese or strangers exchanging joyous "CAWWWW"s while walking down the street ... the list goes on and on.
AS TOLD TO JORDAN BARTEL