A cheesy story about what living on a boat means to me. (CB)

You know those little opening conversations you have with people from time to time. The people that you either meet in passing or for the first time at a party or maybe you work with them but don’t really know them. These conversations always start with the same questions. The first question after you exchange names is typically, “Soooo, what do you do?” At this point their explaination usually starts to sound alot like Charlie Browns parents talking, Waaaah waah wah, wahhh wahh wahh waaaaa? That last “waaaaa?” is my que to snap out of my train of thought wondering if my fly is unzipped or trying to scratch my ass without it actually looking like i’m scratching my ass (you know that little “wiggle, flex, leg shake move) and tell them what it is I do for a living. It’s equally as boring, but it’s all part of the dance.

The next question is usually where do you live? They’ll give me the name of the part of town or world they live in. I’ll usually dig around in my memory for the name of a bar close to their house that I’ve been to or something to keep the conversation going. Then they’ll ask me where I live. I normally just tell them, Ballard. Which is the Seattle neighborhood I live in. If they push it and ask what part of Ballard, i’ll tell them I live in Shilshole Bay Marina, on a boat. Then I get to ramble on and on.

The first question I usually get after telling someone that does not live on a boat that we live on a boat is “Don’t you get cold?”

What the Fuck? What kind of retarded question is that?? I can only assume that in that person’s mind they are picturing a bass boat or canoe of some sort. But then I have to think, how could they possibly think that I live on a bass boat?

The second question I get is, and this one is more resonable. “How big is your boat?”.

Ok, this one makes sense. This is a logical question. I’ll tell them it’s a 38 foot sailboat. And they usually reply with “Wow! That’s really small! How do you live like that?” A rude but understandable response. Some people think it’s cool, but will confess they could never do it. But the majority of people absolutly cannot fathom it.

I try to explain that we have a all the aminities of modern life. A full kitchen, sans microwave (by choice). We have shower, shitter and sink in the head (bathroom). Two bedrooms….tiny but comfortable. A couch, dining room table with seating for 7 or 8. A desk, closet and plenty of storage space. Flat screen HDTV, XBox 360 and 2 laptops with highspeed internet. All this and more with 76 feet of water front property. And a fuckin HEATER! But it just does not seem to matter. It’s not a house….a big house. None of that matters. It’s still a boat, people would except it better if I told them I lived in an R.V., a urine soaked doorway in Pioneer Square or in a rusted out van down by the river. But not a boat for some reason.

People that live on boats know the secret. People that love boats, or own boats know the secret. People that live on the hard, dirt dwellers, do not know the secret.

For reasons unknown boats, sailboats to be specific, for me are, for lack of a less gay word, magical. We live on our boat just like we lived in our house. But I never ‘loved’ the house. I liked it, but truth be told it was really just a place to store our crap and to watch T.V.

Our boat on the other hand is a bad ass vessel that will take us around the freakin world and back. Houses cannot do that. You buy a house and your stuck. That’s it, your always going to be the exact same distance from any other point in the world. We can untie five lines and unplug the shore power and in less than 10 minutes have the engine turned off and the sails up. That is my favorite part. When the engine shuts down, and you can hear the water rushing past the hull and feel the wind and boat keeps moving. I know theres science behind it, but to me….it’s magic.

Even a simple sail to a cove 10 miles away, can seem like a voyage that legends should be made of. Sure I could hop in the Jeep and drive to that same cove. And that exact same cove would bore the shit out of me. I most likely would not even consider going there in the first place by car. But if I sail there in my boat, that is a whole nother story. It may be a light wind day, and it takes hours to cover that 10 miles. No bother, grab a book and sailbag or that comfy beanbag my buddy Scotty made for me for xmas and plop down and chill out, maybe take a nap and let someone else steer. Or maybe its blowing 20 knots and it’s on the nose. We now have to make our boat that is relying soley on the wind to move, steer it against the wind to get where we want to go. Maybe a storm is coming. Maybe it’s raining. Maybe it’s a perfectly sunny day with the wind pushing us along to our destination. Either way it’s a challenge, an old school challenge that sailors love tackling over and over.

When we do get to the anchorage we now have another challenge. You don’t just park the boat in the walmart parking lot, unless you go to a marina, but that presents it’s own challenge. You now have to set the anchor and make sure all is right and your not moving. Stow the sails and get the boat squared away. Then….chill. At that point there’s a feeling that we earned that spot in that little cove. We worked for it. As happy crappy tourist trappy that little town maybe, it feels like we just blew in from a million miles away and are discovering the new world. Like Lief Ericson the Viking stepping foot on some foriegn land looking to pillage and plunder, or Captain James T. Kirk beaming down to a strange planet with a couple red shirts in the landing party. That is my other favorite part of sailing.

The answer to this whole post could probably have been summed up in one very simple statement/question. That question is, You know how Han Solo felt about the Millinieum Falcon, or how much Captain Malcom Renolds loved Serenity?(best TV show EVER!) Well that’s how I feel about Palarran. It’s our ticket to our idea of freedom and until someone much smarter than me gets off their ass and discovers hyperdrive or warp speed. This boat will have to be my spaceship.

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