The switch has been flipped — spring is off, summer is on. Time to hide on Chappy.
I’d like to talk about the weather now, as it’s a great space filler, and it appears that there’s a storm a-brewing. But, unless you’re a weather archivist (“Honey, what was the weather on Chappy like last Tuesday, the first? Will you check Brad’s column?”) then my meteorological musings won’t be worth much of a read. It’s warm. It’s going to get wet.
The ferry wait was a bit long on Monday mid-afternoon, mostly due to a stalled van on the OnTime XIV. Eventually (actually fairly quickly) Eric arrived and towed the vehicle to safety (the only real danger was from the angry mob of ferry line waiters). Now, I pride myself on being a patient, kind and tolerant person (just ask my wife . . . wait . . . no, don’t) so I made every attempt to curb my negative thoughts regarding the driver of the van. But despite my best efforts, I found myself wondering why the driver of the broken van hadn’t spent less on his new leather jacket and koi pond and more on van maintenance. I had no real knowledge of these purchases, but imagining a scenario in which said driver foolishly misappropriated his funds made my desire to be angry more justifiable. The van-pulling stopped adjacent my truck, so I was able to get a good look at the driver — his eyes belied his embarrassment and I felt immediately lousy for my impatience. Maybe if we were all made to look into the eyes of those who annoy us, we might be less inclined to wish them ill. Perhaps that’s why so many people look away when we cross paths.
Given the time for reflection that the ferry line afforded me, I briefly contemplated writing my column, but then remembered that I was characteristically incapable of completing a task less than five minutes before it’s due date. But I did reflect on my own incident of chagrin on the ferry many, many years ago (not the only one surely, but the most resonant). I was a teenager, showing my college buddies a good time on “my” island — part of which involved going to Edgartown for some evening drinks (legal age was different back then . . . I think). Night had already fallen, so as was my habit, I was using my headlights to illuminate my passage whilst driving my truck to the ferry. I was first in line and the ferry was approaching, but being green before my time, I turned the truck off instead of idling. I forgot, however, to turn off my headlights. I knew this because a group of younger teens was pointing at my truck’s grill and then to a sign that stated (more politely than the teens) that headlights should be turned off while waiting for the ferry (even back then, we needed reminding).
This wouldn’t have been such a big deal had I not been endeavoring to prove myself a BMOC (big man on Chappy) to my pals, and these mocking teens were diminishing the validity of my proof. They (the teens) also looked richer, and thus smarter, than I, so this only added to the subtraction of my status.
Anyone who has ever had any sort of run-in, no matter how small, with another individual near the ferry line knows that the rule of karma is that they will be forced into tight quarters shortly thereafter while traversing the harbor, ferry-board. So, I spent the four-minute ride with my new superior friends seated just feet away from my open truck window. “You know,” Biff began his lecture, “you’re supposed to turn your lights off.”
I wasn’t prepared for a snappy retort, so the best I could do was “I live here” — I didn’t, but I felt like my truck looked like I did. The trip lasted longer than usual, me attempting to seem live-herey, and they very naturally snickering. Eventually the ferry did dock, and I waited for the chain to come down before starting my engine (“See, I’ve done this before”), but I forgot about the chock under my front tire. Why won’t my truck move? The captain held up his hand to stop me, but I was beyond help at this point, and simply added more gas to the effort, hoping to leave the madness. For those of you who don’t think that one can drive over a chock, you can indeed, but it will exit with alacrity in the opposite direction, nearly decapitating one’s elderly neighbor.
Have a lovely holiday, listen for the fireworks — they’re up there somewhere.
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