the adventures of a girl, her dog, and two cats.

Friday, April 4, 2014

friends and neighbors

Pretty sunset view from the cockpit
Just because we both live on boats doesn’t mean we have to be friends. Yes, you read that correctly. That may be common sense to many people; just because you live ashore doesn’t mean you’re friends with every other person who lives in a townhouse or a McMansion. But some folks clearly feel that every other liveaboard is his de facto friend. It’s true we share a common thread in having chosen an unusual lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean we have anything else in common. I’m starting to think some people actually become cruisers to gain a gaggle of new friends to have potlucks with. Personally, I can’t even wrap my head around that.

I had over 200 make-believe friends on Facebook, with whom I’m probably actual real-life friends (say, people who would definitely know if I were pregnant or getting married), not acquaintances, with less than two dozen, a good chunk of those being gals I’ve known since I was 14. (I deactivated my Facebook account March 8 and the world hasn't stopped spinning; indeed, I think I like the world a little better now.) Rather than cultivating friendships, I’d say Facebook gives the illusion of relationships that do not exist and impedes real-life cultivation of the handful of meaningful relationships we can actually sustain. No one has several hundred friends. We probably all know several hundred people by name and possibly by sight. But we are not friends with all those people. Our society seems to have confused the concept of having stood next to someone in line at the grocery store and being friends. But the cult of networking tells us we must be viral and have some connection to everyone out there. It is a dangerous fallacy. A handful of meaningful relationships is a much more powerful network than LinkedIn and Facebook accounts hundreds deep but full of merely superficial connections. In any event, I may be forced to return to Facebook at some point, but I'd certainly prefer to have a handful of real friends and leave it at that. If anyone on Facebook really missed me they could always come here and find out what I'm up to. Or, y'know, text me to meet up in real life for a pint of beer.

Anyway... I didn't really understand why random people who also happen to live on a boat think we have some deep connection, but now I realize it's because the "potluck cruisers" want to be friends with everyone. I had already realized that many of the single liveaboard guys will adhere like a barnacle to every liveaboard mermaid they meet. Miraculously, I have finally met a few who are not barnacles and don't think I'm their personal mermaid, which is really nice.

Foggy day at the dock
I've been at the new marina for almost six weeks now. I've only met three of the other liveaboards so far. I haven't met any of the girls, but one or more of them somehow manages to leave a lake in the dressing area of the bathhouse. She must step out of the shower and stand there dripping everywhere, (eeewwww), rather than drying off in the shower stall. I've mostly resigned to not being able to dress there post-shower because the water all over the floor will get my pants soaked when trying to get them on. Someone has basically commandeered one shower stall by leaving their bar of soap and scrubbie there, as if no one else needs space to put their toiletries and as if I really want some random chick's germs just hanging out there all the time. One of the gals also has a conniption if she can't easily get a paper towel out of the dispenser. She leaves a huge pile of paper towel shreds all over the floor. I guess this is just further confirmation that liveaboards are crazy. As is the fact that these things bother me so much.

Parking spaces adjacent to the slip
Despite the gals needing some coaching on personal hygiene and shared public space, I am enjoying the new marina. Twice someone has rescued a wayward sock I lost in the washer or dryer and left it out for me, which was nice. I am trying to move to a different slip that I'm hoping will be more private, but the dockmaster is still figuring out who is coming back and where everyone will fit. The current slip is along a bulkhead with parking spaces right there and the parking garage behind me. Being a light sleeper, the noise of the cars in the garage wakes me and one night someone parked right next to the boat and ran their engine from 2:30am to 3:30am. I couldn't figure out what the awful noise was and why the whole boat was vibrating until I pulled back the shade on a port light and the headlights were shining right on me. They must have seen me because by the time I was topsides the car was off and they were gone. Then one day a little girl came over to the boat and kept pulling it against the bulkhead. I fear that as the weather warms up and people mill about ogling boats, someone will make the mistake of boarding and get a shock when I come out with a 12-gauge. So, I'm hoping a slip on another pier will be less likely to have strangers walking up to the boat and put me a little farther from the parking garage.

Parking garage right behind me
It took 6 months before I had a cat overboard incident, and a year-and-a-half before a man overboard. The young sumthin sumthin I occasionally hung out with (I hadn't seen him in two months) called me over and over in his usual inebriated state and I accidently called him back when I was just trying to see the call log. I warned him he shouldn't be driving but he insisted on coming to the pub where I was having a beer with friends. At least there I convinced him to eat something and killed some time, though he shouldn't have been trying to have a philosophical discussion with the adults at the table. When we were walking to the boat he asked if I wanted to get married, which gave me quite a belly laugh. He kept saying "You look so cute in your Helly Hansen jacket." And I kept correcting him that it was Gill; I'm not a gang-banger or a snotty-yachty, so you won't find me in HH. Ugh. Naturally he had only one thing in mind when we got to the boat but my pack always comes first and the dog needed a walk. I was already quite annoyed with his drunk nonsense and pawing at me. I really just wanted to tuck him in and not have to deal with him. He insisted on coming along while I walked the dog and then said there was no need to pick up the dog shit. Seriously. That's just bad karma. "Yes, I do have to pick it up." I told him. Then he didn't want to hold my hand because I had just picked up dog shit. With a plastic bag. Yep, when he opens his mouth, stupid just falls out in abundance. Sigh. Then he took forever getting in and out of the boat and one of the cats got out. Cars speed through the garage and there are just a lot of dangers being in a much more commercial location, so I try to monitor closely any off-boat forays the cats undertake. He was a baby about me telling him to hurry the F up and not let the cat out again. I can be very patient but when it's the last straw, I'm done. When he didn't shut up as told, I was done and told him to leave. He had kicked off his shoes as soon as he was aboard and complained I was kicking him out without his shoes. I quickly grabbed them and put them up on the deck for him. He took his shoes and was yelling at me and complaining he didn't know where his car was. A whole two blocks away in front of the pub. And he has plenty of friends in town he could call to stay with if he didn't want to drive home.

It turned out it was early enough (11:00pm) I could get to bed almost on time so I started setting up coffee for the morning and getting ready for bed. Then I heard a ruckus topsides and felt the boat move. It seemed he was back without permission. I threw open the hatch: "What the fuck!" I heard calls for help and came out to find him in the water between the dock and the boat. He was holding onto the stanchion at the boarding gate with one hand and holding the toe rail with the other. He claimed he came back for his phone and keys (perhaps he'd left them on the dock or on deck). I convinced him to loosen his grip on the stanchion so I could get the keys off his finger and throw them in the cockpit so they wouldn't fall in the water. I quickly threw him a line that runs through a snatch block and to the dock so he'd even have extra leverage if he used it to pull himself out, but he wouldn't even try. He was freaking out and I told him he needed to stay calm. Panicking just uses up body heat. And even though the water was cold, he was a 6'2" guy standing in just 5' of water. I grabbed the ladder out of the lazarette and hung it over the side for him. That's when one of my new neighbors arrived to help. He'd been out in the cockpit of his boat on another pier and heard the commotion. Of course our "swimmer" said he wanted my dockmate to pull him out, not me. It's unlikely either of us alone could have pulled him out easily since he's 6'2" and 200 pounds. My previously-torn rotator cuff certainly wasn't happy with me for helping get him out. We pulled him up and sat him on the dock. He'd been in the water only a couple of minutes. I fished his shoe out with my net and gave him his keys. Although I was quite done with his stupidity, I was going to offer to put him in a hot shower and throw his clothes in the dryer or drive him to the ER if he wanted. But before I could make the offer he was walking off and was yelling belligerently at me. It was about 11:10pm. Not long thereafter I received a series of malicious text messages from him accusing me of trying to murder him. Seriously? He was trespassing and fell in the water. If he'd come back 10 minutes later I might have been gone walking the dog and maybe no one would have heard him call for help. By 11:29pm he was getting arrested for DUI, an open container in his car, some eight charges in all. It'd be nice if he'd learn a lesson about being responsible and considerate of others in the world, but he's an entitled little rich kid who will likely find a way to weasel out of it and not change a bit. But at least I learned that I have neighbors here who will rescue wayward socks from the dryer and wayward boys from the water.


  1. You really nailed the Facebook thing. My sentiments exactly!
    Love to read about your experiences Keep the posts coming

  2. I agree with Dennis, and with your comments about the 'lets all be friends' thing. I'm not anti-social, but one of my personal reasons for living aboard is to get some distance from people and their associated drama. Good stuff. Keep us posted as you make progress on Ambrosia.


Thanks for reading! Have you had a similar experience you'd like to share? Have a link to an interesting blog fellow readers and I might enjoy? Just want to say hello? Post your comments below. I'm a smart, resourceful girl doing things her own way, so I just ask that folks keep the unsolicited advice to themselves.