Wednesday, July 25, 2012

42 years on a sailboat in a toga

42 years old.  Does this mean I will come to further understand the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything?  Well, it does mean that I got not only a cool wallet with a Sailor Jerry design but also a new pair of Sennheiser pro headphones.  At work, my desk was decked out, Joseph brought breakfast, and my boss brought cake.  I even got a tiny gag pistol that drops a little banner that says "bang" when you pull the trigger, totally inappropriate workplace entertainment.  Yet nothing seemed simple all day.  I was pummeled and shuffled.  Luckily, I had my best present last:  leaving work behind, and enjoying some of the best wind I've ever had on Lake Union.

The Betsy D braves the melee

Toga night at the Duck Dodge.  Us flabby men looked ridiculous, especially with me in a very loose "Bacchanial" tie, while the women didn't stick with white bedsheets and were sometimes quite shiny.  Gomez, joining Zanne, Dan, and me for his first Dodge, stayed in his civvies.  Fact is, since I'm always the one to go foreward to unfoul the jib and get it over the lifeline, the toga got in the way and was quickly stowed.  Gomez added a bit of CWB-ness to the cruise, but he wasn't the only one:  The dear Betsy D and couple Blanchard Juniors were out in the fresh breeze, too...not in the race, just out for fun.

Captain Dan with laurels and ale

It really was serious racing weather, the kind that heels the boat way, way over and makes you let out the main just so you don't overpower.  It also meant we had to be a well-coordinated team.  Dan was at the tiller, while Gomez and I each had a jib sheet, me on starboard and him on port.  Zanne chose to keep out of the way in the cabin while we got our rhythm, supplying us with croissant sandwiches and moving with each tack.

Gomez plays it safe and enjoys a veggie sandwich

Yet, as always, things got casual.  Gomez took the tiller while Dan handled the sails.  Zanne went to the bow and dipped her feet.  We joshed, we drank, we had fun.  For a while, I was lost in the moment.

Lou abandons the toga and any effort at sobriety

The mandatory colorful spinnaker shot

At one point, I even felt like I had found a place in the cosmos.  "Pirate Lou" is not necessarily the most skillful seaman, or the most experienced.  I had one turn at the tiller, and honestly I accidentally tacked.  But I will crawl across a well-heeled deck, take care of a loose line, and enjoy it.  When it comes to the water, I have a very strong romantic streak and tendency towards arcane knowledge.  I'm not looking for captaincy, and I know I'm nowhere near being able to manage my own boat.  But I love it all, and especially the learning.

Coiling the halyard with a Blackbeard glare

Many boats, far away

The wind is my gift.  My friends are my gift.  Escaping the mundane, the harrassers, that is a gift.  And it all made turning 42 not bad, not bad at all.  But even if 42 is the answer, I still don't know the question...

That's what I'm talking about

1 comment:

  1. (from Zanne, on Lou's laptop)

    That was a really nice sail. I finally feel at ease on the water, and straddling the bow to drag my feet through the water is an awesome feeling. I trust you and Dan completely on the Mirus. Gomez... Well, he's learning. I just try to stay out of the way, feed the guys dinner, sip from my flask of bourbon, and let the guys do all the heavy lifting.

    Dinner with the boys was fantastic. It was to thank Dan and Joseph for helping us in the Move From Hell. We invited Gomez, too, because he's just that fun. And sweet. He keeps bringing me bananas. I love bananas. His friend Bernadine is absolutely enchanting.

    I'm off for more tea, Lou. Thanks for making it this morning.