So we have this boat. It’s an old boat. An old and creaky boat. An old and creaky boat that is erratic in its trustworthiness and sucks up money that we don’t actually have.
And we love it — or one of us does. I mostly hate it, because I’m prone to seasickness. Usually, I am grumpy while I’m packing to go on the boat, grumpy while I’m casting off lines and leaping onto the boat as it slips away from the dock, then grumpy again while we wait for the Mystic River railroad bridge to open up to let us putt down the river and into the sea.
And then? Something happens. It’s the same thing that happens when I head out on a trail in the woods. I am free. I am loosed from the chains that bind me and the wind picks up and we slip past the houses and the restaurants and the land-bound people who wave at us like we’re…something. I don’t know what. Maybe they see we’re free, too. I always wave back because I always feel a little sorry for them. They have to finish their lobster and then get back into the hot car and be land-bound.
Yesterday, we putted over to Rhode Island, dropped anchor, and swam and napped on a beach that’s hard to get to if you’re land-bound and don’t have access to a creaky old boat. The engine had revved a few times over, but did I mention this is an old boat? These things don’t bother us.
But on the way back, the engine stopped. We’d just bobbed past a large rock and then? We were becalmed. It’s a motorsailer, so technically we have sails and could sail on out of there, but it’s like sailing a trawler. We know because we’ve tried. The sails are mostly for show, and so that we can say, “Hey! We have a motorsailer!”
So we dropped anchor, called the towboat, and sat and made up lyrics to “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” starring us. We sat and watched the horizon, and answered the phone of the towboat operator, who called us frequently to let us know how close he was. We ate potato chips, now soggy from the sea air, which made them fun to gum.
When Towboat Operator Keith arrived (we got to know him because we were tethered to his boat for an hour), it turned out he is a retired Groton police officer. He and Captain DJ discussed pensions, and retirement, and Florida and how they both really want to be there, but family’s here, so…
Meanwhile, I pretended to steer our boat. I was exhausted (the only kind of motion sickness remedy that works for me is the Dramamine that makes you sleepy) but weirdly happy. We’d died in the ocean. We lived, anyway. We didn’t run aground, hit a rock, or otherwise meet doom. The boat died. We didn’t.
Later, in the car, I watched Hillary Clinton give her acceptance speech on my phone. We got home very late to a parched garden that is today getting served — finally — a heaping helping of rain.
We own a boat. A creaky boat that makes us poor. The repair bill will break us, most likely. This is a first-world problem.
I am stepping away (Again? Yes, again.) from the blog until Wednesday. We are heading back to Rhode Island, this time in a car that I trust, given the odds, will get us there. God bless you and keep you. Go out and have an adventure. See you Wednesday.