A pal of ours came to visit me the other day on Tickety Boo. As I watched him climb onto our boat and make his way down below, I started thinking to myself how very different boat living is.
When you go to visit someone on land, you ring the doorbell or knock on the door. When you go to visit someone on their boat, there isn't a doorbell to ring, let alone a proper door. Instead, you knock on the hull. Tap, tap, tap. You cry out, "Hello, is anyone home?" Someone pops their head out of the companionway and says, "Hey there, come on board!"
Then you take a look at all the obstacles in your way and think to yourself, How in the world am I supposed to get on this boat without breaking something? You put one foot on the deck, grab onto one of the metal bars and pull yourself up. Not on the first try though. The water level is high and it's a long way to jump up. Maybe it's time to start heading back to the gym.
Finally, you end up with both feet on the deck, hanging on for dear life, but then realize that you need to climb over the lifelines. You wonder why they call them lifelines. It's a little disconcerting. You lift one foot carefeully over, then the next foot. Phew. You've made it on board. Kind of. You're still standing on the deck and somehow you have to make your way down below where you've been promised treats and beverages.
But how do you get into the cockpit? There are these bars in the way with tiny, irregularly shaped openings between them. And there is this awning thing in the way. You take a deep breath, size up the options and choose Door #1 to the left. You crouch down, try to squeeze your way through without banging your head on one of the metal supports or stub your toe on the cleat which is right in your way. So, that's what those yoga fanatics mean when they talk about the Downward Dog posture. How embarrassing. You really hope no one was watching.
Finally, you make it into the cockpit. You wonder why there is so much crap in there and what all that crap is. Your friend tells you that she had to take everything out of the lazarette to check for leaks and has left it in the cockpit for the time being. You have no idea what a lazarette is, but don't really care because you've now encountered your next obstacle - an air conditioner.
How are you supposed to climb over this? It's perched in the doorway on a cinder block with towels stuffed on either side of it. There's a tiny bit of space on either side of the air conditioner. Are you supposed to step there first and then over the air conditioner? Or just make a giant leap directly over it? Or go back out the way you came and find somebody else to visit who lives in a normal house?
You look down below and you see coffee. You like coffee, so you decide to attempt yet another yoga movement and clamber over the darn obstruction.
You stick one foot over and realize there is an extremely tiny step you have to manage to get your foot onto. While, of course, trying to avoid the cord for the air conditioner which runs across it and over to the outlet in the head. You've been told that "head" is sailor talk for bathroom. You really don't care at this point. The heck with coffee, your friend better have a very large beer waiting instead.
Finally, after twisting and turning and hanging on to the grab rail, you manage to make it down below. Your friend quickly puts the washboard back in and closes up the hatch. Bugs out, cold air in. While she's getting you that promised beer, you look back the way you came. What is all this stuff hanging up on the wall? This is not your normal kind of doorway.
It's all kind of weird.
Okay, this kind of seems normal. Keys. You have a table by your door where you put your keys. Wait a minute, there's also some stuff you don't recognize here either.
Ah, boat living...it's a bit quirky, isn't it. I wonder if our pal will be back to visit again?
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