THE SONIC BOOMER
Mark and I are currently in Tennessee, scheduled to look at yet another boat tomorrow. Mark has looked at five boats so far, looking to buy one that suits “our” needs. Three of these boats have gone as far as sea trials (like a home inspection), but none of these sales went through due to unreliable electronics, bad upholstery or the guy who looked at it the day before signing on the dotted line before we did.
Each time we don’t get the boat, Mark is devastated.
Each time we don’t get the boat, I see a glimmer of hope.
Obviously, Mark and I are at odds on the subject, but, because we’ve been married a long time, we don’t fight about it. I want him to be happy, and thinking of himself behind the captain’s wheel of a boat makes him very happy. When we’re not actually looking at boats, he’s “researching” boats online, smiling all the while. He has probably clicked on the photos of 1,500 boats, often calling me over to admire this or that feature of this or that boat. He’s always smiling. I’m always holding my tongue.
The boats he’s looking at are 36 feet long. According to Mark, that’s the size “we” need in order to entertain one of our children’s families. I point out that our children’s families will each come to see the boat one time, say “nice boat” and move on with their busy, busy lives. They might stay one night in a stateroom, but the rest of the time, it’s him and I, rattling around in something I am praying that I, personally, never have to park.
But Mark sees sun-kissed grandchildren leaping into the water from an upper deck or giggling maniacally from an inflatable raft towed behind the boat. He sees himself and I cuddled up together on the foredeck, sipping pineapple drinks as the sun slowly sets. He imagines hours, days, weeks of exploring the coastline from Miami to Maine.
I see none of this. I see grandchildren falling from an upper deck headfirst onto a metal railing or screaming frantically as a shark approaches their inflatable raft. I see Mark and I huddled up together on the foredeck under a tarp, eating soggy crackers as the rain continues to intensify. I imagine hours, days, weeks of boring coastline from Miami to Maine, trapped on a slow-moving vehicle with no pizza delivery, no first-run movies and no emergency medical clinics.
The last boat we looked at, Mark said, “Do you see anything wrong with it?”
I replied, “Yes. It’s a boat.”
Between travel, hotels, food and inspections, we’ve spent several thousand dollars looking at boats… so far. I cannot think of any new ways to tell Mark how much I hate this idea. I have suggested renting a boat, part ownership of a boat, finding a friend with a boat. I’ve begged, pleaded, whined and, as a last-ditch effort, resorted to logic. Boats are expensive. Gas is expensive. Repairs are expensive. Slips are expensive.
Deaf ears. He wants to buy a boat.
Does this story have a happy ending? I don’t know. Ask me tomorrow night.