The thing people ask me most often is, “what do you do all day?” Everyone wants to hear the exciting tales of my grand adventure. So I thought I would give you a look into my last couple days.
On my way back to Key West from Minnesota I had a scheduled 12 hour sit in Miami thanks to my rapacious (but wonderful) husband. After this remarkably long layover, and just about the time I was ready to lose my mind, my flight was delayed well into the night.
When I finally landed in Key West the cab driver was painfully chatty. I placed my forehead against the window and shut my eyes. The coolness of the air-conditioning blasting in my lap warred against his melodic voice to keep me awake. I had been awake for over 24 hours.
The motor for the dinghy started right up, ran perfectly for less then a minute and then died, not to be restarted for anything. I threw my head back and laughed into the storm clouds above me.
My hysterics were quickly expelled as I pulled the oars through the calm water and lamented my luck for. I got to the boat dripping with sweat and utterly exhausted somewhere around four in the morning. I got into bed wet and fell asleep to Boatcat crying at me about how much he hated being left on the boat alone for three days.
I woke up around eight and got out of bed. Something was very wrong. I looked down at my legs and was appalled to see more then twelve fleas biting my feet. I stomped and stomped them off and yelled obscenities and immediately started stripping the beds. I grabbed every towel, every rug, every piece of cloth and clothing in the entire boat and tossed everything into the cockpit. The pile grew and grew, as did my disgust.
I ended up with four gigantic contractor bags filled with cloth and bugs weighing down the dingy (which thankfully started with no problems). As I drove into town wave after wave broke over my bow from the weight. Eventually the saltwater covered my feet but I didn’t care at that point. I was busy mentally preparing to walk each of these giant, heavy bags over ten blocks to the Laundromat and back.
When I got to the dingy dock I decided to steal a cart (which are for use on the dock only) and hike it all there in one trip, self-righteously deciding that my problems were more important than everyone else’s.
This is when I met an angel. I couldn’t find the cart so I went to ask the little man in the gulf cart that picks up the garbage. His skin was black as the night and he had huge scars running the length of his left jaw. His hands and his eyes were very kind. We did not speak the same language and I was having a hard time explaining what I was looking for. Or so I thought. I kept asking about a cart and he kept making strange movements with his hands. Eventually I took him to my dingy and pointed to the bags. He immediately grabbed two and started walking away. I grabbed the other two and struggled to keep up with him. I ended up dragging them. He threw his two into his gulf-cart and took mine and did the same as sweat dripped into my eyes. The heat and humidity were outrageous. I got in his cart and he drove for twenty seconds and stopped at the bar right next to the dinghy dock. I looked at him and he was smiling. He took my hand and led me to a door in the wall next to the bar and unlocked it. In that beautiful door, right next to the dingy dock, were two washers and two dryers that I would have all to myself all day long.
In between loads of laundry I biked to CVS and got two huge cans of flea spray and then to the pet store for Frontline for the cat. Then I sat outside the little room scratching my legs, waiting for the laundry to be done, and I watched as the heat waves rose off the pavement and distorted the people in the distance. If I could have panted I would. Sweat dripped off my baseball cap.
At one point I heard a scream. I went over to see if my years of safty training from flight attending could be of service. A drunk driver had missed pinning a small child against a wall by mere inches. No one was hurt. The police were called and there was nothing for me to do.
The dryers were pretty crap so when everything was done I had to carry it all back still damp and twice as heavy as if it had been dry. I left it all in the dinghy when I got to the Talisman, doused the cat in Frontline and chucked him outside. As the sun was settling into the ocean I took out all our food, opened all the windows and sprayed two large cans of very sweet smelling poison over every god-forsaken inch of that place. I was a slightly demonic weasel about it. I wanted to see the death I was causing. My legs itched so bad and I was to tired and I was so pissed and I wanted to see bodies drop to the floor. I wanted something to bleed. I worried that perhaps the chemicals were getting to me.
I sat outside with my flea-bag and waited for the poison to clear from my sanctum sanctorum and wondered how the hell he got fleas in the middle of the ocean.
Eventually I went back downstairs and watched Star Trek until I fell blissfully asleep.
When I woke up I still itched but found no bugs on me when I got out of bed. I decided to “mow the lawn” (scrape the algae off the bottom of our boats). I procrastinated for a couple hours by playing the Uke but I did eventually get in the water. Right away I didn’t like it. Visibility was the worst it has ever been here. I couldn’t even see the full length of the keel. I decided to suck it up and get to work anyway. The little grey fish with the yellow tails that live under our boat kept me company and happily ate the algae as I scraped it off the dingy for them. As I finished up the dinghy and moved to the Talisman I saw I had attracted a group of bigger fish. I scrubbed the rudder and then wrapped my legs around it to hold myself down after every breath. I was happily scrubbing away when I saw a huge very ugly face peeking around the keel at me. My heart sped up and I instantly felt the need to breathe but couldn’t move. He was six inches from my leg. He was moving painfully slowly. And his body just. Kept. Coming from behind the rudder. He was much longer then I thought a barracuda could get. My lungs were screaming but I was paralyzed with fear. We watched each other and when I could not take it anymore I slowly unwrapped myself from the rudder and reached up for the ladder. My movement broke the spell and that glorious fish whipped around. My heart beat painfully in my ears. He turned and swam under the boat and into the fog. I ran up the ladder as fast as I ever ran up the basement stairs as a kid. That was my wall. I was done. I made sweet potatoes and onions for dinner, watched a gorgeous sunset and called it a day.
As most of my blankets were hanging on the lifelines to dry from the day before, I simply made a nest on deck and in the breeze, under the stars, listening to the waves gently lapping at the hull, I fell deep asleep with Boatcat snuggled against my body.
A lot of people think I just lay on my deck, in a bikini, while my gorgeous husband sails me to exotic places where I drink and dance until dawn. Those things certainly do happen but these last three days are far more indicative of my life now.
And I wouldn’t change it for the world.