Friday, August 3, 2007


I was in my patio/grotto/grilling pit this afternoon and realized, finally realized, something: I've spliced my hulk to this vineyard. The tractor which drags some contrivance, that waters the rows of grapevines, wheeled past my stern sheets and I caught a whiff of diesel. Not BMW diesel. Not green-handled SpeeDeeMaht diesel. The kind of diesel that's been sitting in an engine for "a while" and is answering to a nearly-forgotten but oh-so-welcome call for motion. It's a call I made often enough, grudgingly, on board, setting the iron genny. (That's the iron jenny "they" talk about when "they" want to sound salty.)
But I prefer -- O Cap'n GrapefruitHead forgive me -- the song of the "silent" running of topsails and mainsails, set your spanker to correct for weather. And on this day, with a rare northerly pointing one out to Bermuda or Block Island, that smell left the sound of canvas' snapping clear in my ear's memory. And the continual splashing baptism of waves. Waves expressing affirmation, consent, rendering virtuous the deck and hull, every drop of disturbed ocean dew a new beginning born of the coupling of vessel and environment.
As much as I'll complain about my neighbors here on The Beach, my rancor is the voice of a sailor who, too young, has retired to a clean bed and an immobile nav station. I still awaken and check the weather. I've quit cigarettes and coffee (pretty much), but that morning ritual doesn't die. It evolves. But it's not about diet, this landlubbing.
Last century, whether I awakened on a Port-a-potty 31 or on a 169-foot wooden ship model, I whiffed the air of a beach I would inevitably be leaving, usually within days or hours. But here I am.
I'm the guy who walks to the mailbox in his tie-dye shirt. Please don't call me a hippie. Not because it was ever an insult as I grew up, but now it seems to be one. This from the people who can't operate a baseball cap. You do know that the bill (the flat part) is there to keep the sun out of your eyes? Don't you?
I'm that guy who lingers by the rum shelf at the liquor store. No, not the one who smells funny.
I'm the guy who actually keeps things in the pockets of his cargo shorts. Like a glucometer. And currently a copy of Hunter Thompson's Rum Diary. That bulge on the belt (under the Art Blakey T-shirt?), a Leatherman™ on one side and an insulin pump o't'other.
I'm the guy who sometimes feels like he should be cast as the world-weary, sardonic vampire, if only because of the seen-it-all look, so many bodies in his wake, and that hard-learned lesson: "That we'll pass and be forgotten like the rest." Then he realizes it's hard to be cast in a comic book.
Sure, I understand that my town hates taxes, grammar, and youth. I know that nearby Fall River is filled with rats and 4529 people are running for mayor. city council, and whatever they pretend is a "school committee" so they can continue to inflict the very same policies that have filled the town with rats, bad schools, and official city websites that don't even publicize next weekend's Fall River Decides to Admit It's Part of America Celebration of Special Ness, featuring East LA faves Los Lobos, who couldn't play the New Bedford Festa because, well, you know. (Besides, what Catholic religious festival is complete without Lez Zeppelin?)
Maybe I really like The Beach.
I know I like you.
And as you leave the unlit porch to find your hybrid parked in the former barnyard of this northern outpost of the Conch Republic, I'll remind you:
"Drive carefully. I've been drinking."


Dr. Momentum said...

It certainly is a crazy complicated place.

Large said...

In the immortal words of the philosofeer J Boo-fait :

"His world had gone from sailing ships to raking mom's backyard
He never could adjust to land although he tried so hard
We both were growing older then and wiser with the years
That's when I came to understand the course his heart still steers ..."


"He's somewhere on the ocean now that's where he oughta be
With one hand on the starboard rail he's wavin' back at me.."

The I-Pod keeps me going while I pull weeds from the middle of my driveway and wonder,...

where did the canvas go ? ? ?

maybe some tarps in the garage and dust off the ol' copy of Levers sea officers sheet anchor......

ThirdMate said...


Although, if you're pulling weeds out of the quarterdeck, then I'd say it's time to cast off.

The Buzzards Bay Regatta was in my (literally) backyard this weekend. It was partly sponsored by Mount Gay Rum but the liquor stores around here were all very low on vodka. Damn yachties.

Large said...

what do yachties know about good drinking,good boats,good women and good times ??

ThirdMate said...

It's always relative and subjective, but if quantity equals quality, then they've got the drinking one right. Frozen snot, smug & sexless honey-blondes, and throwing up lobster bisque off the YC deck are not my lifestyle requisites.

But then again I like cream soda and riding that frankenstaysail over Tampa Bay during thunderstorms.

ThirdMate said...


I insulted the honey-blondes.

karie said...

probably just the smug ones.

LARGE said...

Don't worry they werent going to kiss you anyways,..that would be too sex-iest-ism-ish umm where is that blonde to english terms dictionary ....

~looking into the ditty bag ~~

here it is,.."sex-iest-ish-ism" (multiple uses) of contrian nature to and in violation of the sexless clause in your trophy contract ~under no circumstances allow this to happen~

anyways that would keep them from getting TCR'ed so in a way your insulting the ditzes is a publick service ??

ALL HANDS RAISE A PINT TO THIRDMATE for his gallant act to save the rare "double breasted yellowtopped yachet garnish"