I’m down below decks listening to the rain and early fall wind howl through our wind generator, I’m shaking my head, tisking my tongue and thinking about out last adventure… You’ll love this one, it’s got a happy ending!
The job was over… I had put all of my wage-slaving resources into that (broken application of an oblivious ideal) job and come out of my two month haze with a powerful sense of independence and caring.
The lines were tossed off, we were underway and it was 0630 hours.
The night before our escape we loaded up our little pick-up with all of our non-sailing gear and building supplies and parked it at the Liberty Marina about a quarter of a mile away from Oak Grove, where our boat was. I didn’t sleep worth a shit but by the time we got underway I was as freaked out and as ready for an adventure as I’ve ever been.
We set sail to the Sou-Easterly breeze freshening off our beam just East of the South River Bridge and I started up my computer so I could send off my resignation; it read…
Dear Carefree Boat club,
My final day of work was Friday September 24th 2010.
Please attempt no further correspondence.
…And just like that, I was not working for the Carefree Boat club or rather, free of carefree.
I guess I have to give some kind of reason behind my abrupt retreat from my former employer or a passing reader might think I was little more than a disgruntled slacking dock hand… Oh, believe me it was so much more than that.
Here’s my take on the aforementioned ‘oblivious ideal’.
Let’s say you (not really you but some other you, whatever…) got “the hook” and you want to go boating but don’t want, or you think you can’t afford, a boat. Like most Humans and Americans in particular, that are used to getting pretty much anything they want, you look for an alternative to owning and actually working on a boat, and again, like most spoiled (fucking, top-of-the-food chain) Homosapiens you go to the internet and you find what you are looking for… A pretty website that tells you exactly what you want to hear.
What a “Carefree” customer wants to hear, and is told, not only by the pretty website but by a non-stop-barrage of e-mails, phone calls and slick office meetings with very motivated salesmen (with 6 or more children to feed), is that you can have a beautiful watercraft, anytime you want, it will run perfectly and you don’t have to care at all, that’s why it’s called Carefree…
Of course, in there lies, my problem.
I am a man who has spent the last decade living on and caring for my boat and I honestly believe that it is imperative that I, at the very least, give a shit. If I didn’t care, if I was care-free, I couldn’t do it and as a matter of fact, I don’t think anyone can. If you don’t care about the vessel and how it works and moves through the water than how can you care about the effects that vessel has on the environment and the other people that share that water with you. I believe that you have to immerse yourself, not only in the boat but the environment and the industry that surrounds boating if you’re going to be safe and respectful on the water, and I also believe, that is the only way to do it right. I’ve always told people that ask how Dena and I can live like we do; to do it safely and comfortably you have to change every single part of your life to those ends, or rather, you have to care, deeply and profoundly.
At first I was as idealistic as I usually am about a new opportunity, I told myself that there was no better person to teach the club’s novice boaters how to ignore the creed of the club they were giving all their money too and care about what they were getting into. Of course I didn’t tell the club owners that the above was my (nefarious) plan but that is the actual job that I set out to do.
What my carefree job turned out to be in reality was launching 15 carefree boats, twice a day with a compliment average of 3 to 5 carefree boaters per launch and then capturing the vessels and drunken carefree’ers upon their arrival, cleaning up their soggy carefree messes, pumping out their carefree urine and puke filled toilets and cabins and saving their carefree lives when they broke their carefree boats.
After getting overwhelmed immediately after starting the job by all the above Carefree-ness I very quickly realized that there was no one in the company that shared even a hint of my on-the-water philosophy and finding the people that would respond to my expertise within the club its self was going to take a very long time if I didn’t have the right staff for the the project. The project of changing a bunch of dangerous carefree fools on the water into careful boaters.
Right out of the gate, the decision to hire me deeply hurt the feelings of the two guys that were working there for most of the summer. They both could clearly see, that after all the shit they had to deal with concerning the members of the club, that a company that would go off and hire an “outsider” to take over a job that they both wanted, wasn’t worth a shit and the only way they could see to get back at the company was of course, to monkey-wrench the manager. Both guys hated each others guts for various reasons so it wasn’t a unified concerted effort to bring me down but along with the other responsibilities of the job it did have a remarkable effect on me. Those guys believed, incorrectly, that they could do the job I was hired to do so both of them showed me nothing but contempt. And why not, they didn’t know me, I was just another manager, all they knew was that the company they worked so hard for didn’t care enough to pay them enough to live, didn’t offer them any kind of perks or benefits and didn’t believe they could do a job that they thought they were already doing. They believed, correctly, that the company they were working for was, in fact, Carefree.
….I am also a man for whom life has endless possibilities and all that Carefree’ing got old enough to set our ship to sail on the MOST Perfect Sailing Day of THIS YEAR!!!
Of course you have to know that Dena’s responce to my initial grumblings of not wanting to take it for long was always a resounding, “Fuck it, let’s go!”
… So we sailed off into to the sunrise, away from the non-caring, from the careless, from the (fucking) carefree once and for all with my bridges thoroughly a-flame. I walked out without notice on a Saturday, dude, I was not going back to that job.
…And it was beautiful and inspiring and it reminded us of what it was we were doing, and how we were doing it, and how right it was for us, and that we were happy just to be doing it, just to be sailing off into the sunrise together. The sailing effected us deeply, in ways that are so absolutely profound that we couldn’t help but care.
…It looked like this.
The wind was on our starboard beams aft quarter for the first two hours under-sail but as we rounded up into the Chesapeake Bay-proper the wind, as foretold by our technology, changed its direct to our port-side broad beam. The gybe was invigorating!
North, north east for 8 solid hours when the wind changed again to give us an hour of wing on wing down hill running back up that old River to our familiar moorings in green water… Home, again, and as always, ready for the next adventure.