We choose this

What a week!

I show up at 4:30 in the middle of the fucking night after a six and a half mile bike ride to find I still have a trashcan full of water on my desk, I’ve asked my “team lead” four times to fix the leak in the ceiling above my computer… It still isn’t done. There’s a box on my desk it’s addressed to Dena Hankins, C/O James Lane, C/O Whole Foods Market. It’s Dena’s advanced copies for her novel Blue Water Dreams.

I do my job, I let my country steel my tax money, I smile, I work like all the rest and then I step out of my wage slave gig, it’s Friday afternoon, my Monday and I notice I have two voice-mails on my phone.

I dial up the VM and of course I get the second one first…

“Everything’s okay, I got the boat anchored in the little cove in front of the rehab center, we’re fine. If you want to go to the gym to work out,  go ahead, really, we’re fine!”


When I get to our new anchorage Dena is sitting in the cockpit, she rows out to the water-taxi dock and I pull the box out of my pack and hand it to her…


She did it! She published her first novel, they printed it, put ten of them in a box and sent it to her and when she opened that box this is what she looked like!!!

Everything else instantly became insignificant, well, for the moment anyway.

We went out for a very nice dinner and showed the copy she gave me to our waitress and we got a free desert out of it, it was sublime.

What had happened was, the Coast Guard had to bring a giant propane tanker up the Mystic River, just a few hundred yards from where we were anchored, evidently, to make some kind of emergency repairs and they had to clear the area of any potential hazards… That would be us I guess.

Anyway, we ended up staying in that anchorage through the weekend and on Monday evening just as we were settling in for the night a Harbor Master boat came up along side of us with a po-po woop-woop. The guy that did all the talking was over fed, under exercised, lightly educated and seriously late for his tea party, in other words: the dude had missed his calling as one of Ferguson’s finest and ended up getting stuck hassling us that evening, an unfunny clown, armed to the teeth.

Him and Dena had a few moments of absolute misunderstanding before he gave us the bottom line, which was… “Because of 9/11 you are only allowed to anchor in designated anchorages and this is not a designated anchorage.”

Because of 9/11?! You fucking piece of shit, that was 13 years ago!!!

We did not get shot that night and the reason being, I (James) did not open my mouth. I stood there in the companion way with a smile on my face the entire time, making him very nervous by not showing my hands.

“You need to pull up anchor and leave, right now! Do you need assistance?”

“No! (We said in unison, okay I did say something), we’re rather good at this, thank you, goodnight.”

After the “Dock-Boys-with-Glocks” motored away we made reservations at one of the pricey Boston waterfront marinas, pulled up anchor and sailed away. After grabbing a mooring ball we caught a water-taxi back to where our bikes were and rode back to the Boston waterfront, rowed the dink back out to the boat and very quickly went to sleep.

About an hour after going to sleep I woke up violently sick to my stomach so I ended up working the next day on about an hours worth of real sleep. My only explanation: Yes, fascism makes me ill.

We left the waterfront the next day Tuesday, my Friday, and motored back to “our” anchorage up the Mystic River where we’ve been now, unmolested, for two beautiful nights.

Yes, we choose this, this is the way we live! We are free citizens of the planet Earth and we are not going to give up that easily.



  1. Hey you two! Very glad for your achievement! Keep on sailing and always with your eyes on the horizon. Peace, L & V

  2. About those seacops…Ferguson has me thinking about White privilege more than usual. How different would that exchange have been if one or both of you were Black? Especially if she was White and you were Black, would they think you must be a pirate?

    I was taught that if you are in trouble you go find a friendly policeman (always -man) and he will protect you. Like, they sent cops in to my kindergarten class to make sure we were not afraid of the uniform in case we needed help. Badge means SAFE.
    And that turns out to be pretty much true. For me.
    Black folks I know were taught that the police are the least safe people you might encounter. Everyone will be racist, you will experience at least microagressions every day, but police will be racist with power behind them and they have a weapon. They might kill you, but even more likely, you’ll end up in jail. Nearly every person of color I know knows somebody in jail, regardless of class background.
    The police aren’t protecting you, say Mamas to their brown children. They are there to protect whites FROM you.

    How does race play out in the boating world? I reckon the population of yacht or plastic destroyer people, people with expensive boats for show, skews White. I wonder how many liveaboards, people who depend on a boat for home, are Black? Is there a noticeable distinction?

  3. Kate,
    As I said, we choose this, unfortunately people of color in this country have fewer choices, especially when it comes to traditionally white-elitist life choices such as sailing or living aboard…
    There is no doubt the sailors of color that I have met in our travels on the water are truly incredible to say the least but few and far between. Yes, boat owners(sail or power)are skewed white and, in my opinion, that is to the detriment of the community as a whole.

  4. Yes, Congrats ,Dena on your very long road . You have been Published ,into the literary world you go.As for James, well I can add alot, but will refer to the age old saying”Shit flows downhill” meaning that you are not in the basement. Someone else will get. I believe that “Karma ” is real, whether or not we see it is another thing. I have always said you,my friend will reach into a toilet and pull out a gold watch. Keep the faith and drive forward to your goal. We all know what we ” like” , but do we all know what we need?
    As always, Aloha to you both,

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