2-7-13 Written at Tanya’s house
Random words pulled from a hat:
Two words: Gratitude, schooner
Next word: Amnesty
Next word: Intrigue
It was good to be on the water again. I had come down from a landlocked town at the behest of a distant friend who had made it big. Jim had more toys than he knew what to do with, and a few that he couldn’t play with alone. The schooner was one of the latter. What had possessed him to buy a full-rigged seventy five foot schooner?
I ran him through the basics of setting up the boat, got him situated in the cockpit, and started the diesel up to get us away from the dock. Jim was a fair dinkum motorer, I found out. He could point the boat in a direction and go there, avoid buoys and sandbars if they were pointed out to him, and he kept a smile on his face the whole while. I like confidence in a sailor.
We came out of the channel into the sound, and I headed forward to set the sails. I suddenly had a pilot with split attention. Jim had to keep the boat pointed into the wind for me, but he wanted to watch what I was doing at the same time. I blessed him with first-timers amnesty, and gently let him know if he was about to kill me with a jib sheet across the throat. As the sails were unfurled and caught the wind, the boat suddenly came to life, and I had Jim cut the engine. He got that right the first time.
Silence came over us, and Jim was blessed with the serenity of the sailor. He didn’t have that need to fill the space with talk, and I sat back and enjoyed the wind in my face as he learned to sail his new toy. I was intrigued by his ability to take this all in stride, and he explained that for the past five years he had been studying Zen Buddhism when not working and making gobs of money. The dichotomy was stunning. A filthy rich Buddhist. What do you know?
I finally felt comfortable enough to go below and get us a couple of beers. There is nothing like drifting along with the wind in your face and a beer in your hand. Luckily Jim hadn’t fallen head over heels into vegetarianism and abstinence, so the beer was welcomed. We sat back, listened to the waves at the bow, and remembered our past together.
“Jim, whatever happened to that girl you were hanging out with when we graduated?”
“She went her own way”, Jim said.
Brevity. I liked that, too.
We were running out of water, and I told Jim what to do to get us turned around. I headed forward, and Jim let out a hearty “Jibe, ho!” I ducked fast to avoid a swinging boom. I figured that he had a fine future ahead of him on the water.