Right now at the marina it is slow. It is very, very slow. On
Wednesday, I went the entire day not speaking to a boater. I took no
reservations. Had no boats coming or going. It was pretty boring. Today when I
got in we found a couple of forty foot sailboats had “snuck” into the marina
overnight; meaning they had no reservations; we had no information from them.
If they decided to leave we could not charge them for their stay. Our marina
manager took a stroll down the dock to make sure to let them know that they needed
to come up and pay. One boat was a couple of middle aged guys with accents
(English? Australian?, I can’t say); they came in carrying bags with six packs
of Brooklyn brewery beer and some food. I felt like they were kind of condescending
to me. I guess it’s easy to do that when you own a 40 foot sailboat and are
dealing with someone wearing a bright blue polo shirt emblazoned with “Mitchell
park marina staff.” Moral: don’t judge a book by its cover.
The second boat sent up a youngish gentleman with a few days’ worth of
stubble on his face. He was wearing a fleece jacket and a baseball cap. His
eyes were very, very hazel. I got some information from him and then when he
went to pay he took his hand out of his pocket and I noticed that he had what
seemed to be some sort of birth defect. His arm ended prematurely and his hand
seemed not quite formed; functional but not quite formed. As soon as he had
grabbed his credit card he put this hand back into the pocket of his fleece
jacket. I looked, of course I looked, and of course I tried not to stare. And I
didn’t. I finished helping him and he left. I watched him walk back to his boat
with his hand in his pocket. I was wondering if he was glad that the weather
was starting to turn cooler so that he had a pocket. Maybe he spent his life
sailing to the right climate so that he would never have to worry about being
in summer; never have to worry about not having a pocket.
I figured that that would be the last time I saw my sailboat guy but lo
and behold he turned up at the office again asking how to get to the wineries.
I, of course, because I believe that I am the arbiter of good taste and I know
everything, also asked if he wanted my opinion on some wineries to go to. What
was he going to say? I told him to go to Shinn Vineyards and Macari. They are
smaller, generally, have great wines and are less circus-like. I gave him the
numbers of the local cab companies and told him to have a good time. I watched
him again make his way down to his boat with his hand in his pocket. Having
your awkward parts, the ones that you don’t really want anyone to see, be a
physical manifestation must be difficult. We all have these parts, parts we would
like to keep to ourselves; parts that embarrass us; make us feel ashamed. Most
people’s are typically much more difficult to see; less obvious. Their hiding
places are more intricate and difficult to find than pockets and we would never
choose to take them out in front of strangers. Sometimes we do not even take
them out in front of those we love.
I found myself hoping that my sailor guy’s pocket gives him the comfort
he needs to get through his life. I hope that he is as successful as the 40
foot sailboat that he came off of would indicate. I hope that there are times
in his life when he feels that he does not need his pocket. That he can just be
his pocketless self. Maybe that is a hope that I should harbor for everyone. To
feel OK to air out our ugly bits; our secrets, our fears and our shame. At least
to those who care for us. Because we have a choice; we can choose what we want
to take out of our pockets.