Mid-Winter Boat Blues

The season is upon us. The mid-winter boat blues have hit.

It is right about now when I begin to wonder: Why pay moorage on a giant block of ice?

I try to go to the boat. 

I work in the neighborhood -- the graveyard shift at the charity hospital. I sit in my car at six in the morning after work and think, “I should go to the boat.

I just scraped frost off the windows. I can see my breath in the car. I would see my breath in the boat.

Theres water in the bilge, everything is dark, and she is starting to smell moldy. 

I am wondering if anyone else wants this ole bucket. 

The carapace kindly constructed by that builder guy I used to date is starting to bow and creak in the wind. I dont want to face it. The concept of the sacrificial tarp might have to include a sacrificial tarp frame. 

I tell myself, I should get up there and fix that thing. It needs a few more supports, and the tarp ideally should be tight as a drum, whereas I have locked myself into this fancy tarp, reinforced in pink, that is on vertically instead of horizontally and might, in the end, have been better on the drawing board than in the real world. 

I should be like the rest of the people here and just have a tarp, and not a reinforced tarp. 

Fixing it involves power tools, and here I am standing in a puddle of rain water.

Theatre may or may not be the greatest preparation for life, but it is a great preparation for power tools.

Everyone has to build sets, just as everyone has to sew costumes, which means everyone is trained in light construction. 

This is probably why I worked for an architect for five years, read fifty books on architecture, and wrote five plays about architecture. 

I love buildings. 

I’ve had my own tool box since the age of seventeen. It is unthinkable not to be able to reach for a drill, a sander, or a jigsaw. They are part of me, as they are part of every actor.

And that actor is looking at this situation with the tarp and saying, I intend not to electrocute myself to death in this boatyard work slip. I intend to look the other way and hope it holds until spring.

So it was with immense dismay that I drove up exactly a month ago today and found the entire structure quite, quite down and not lasting until spring. Too much rain had pooled in the tarp, which, weighed down, caused the entire thing to go ka-flooey. I was reminded of the demise of Ophelia in Hamlet, "But long it could not be/Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,/Pulled the poor wretch from her melodious lay/To muddy death.” (Hamlet, Act IV, scene 7). 

Speaking of drowning, I took advantage of the massively perfect strip that is South Park, to drown my sorrows in cider on tap at my favorite drinking hole, and decided, like Scarlet O’Hara, to think about it tomorrow.

I am pleased to report that when that darn thing came down, no one was there. It didn’t hit another boat. It didn’t even hurt the mast. 

The tarp is now secure, in a modest sort of way, by being on a boat and not on a marvel of ad hoc engineering that, like that love, was pretty for a while, but, ultimately, we disagreed about everything, someone got fired from the boat, and it wasn’t me. 

I will never see that white truck drive up again and all problems solved, and never again will I sit there in the midst of a great storm being peace.

© Joann L. Farias 2023