a recent gorgeous Saturday, I was sitting on our front porch with my
laptop trying to look productive and important, when I noticed our
neighborhood friend biking down the street while trying to balance a
really large gas can.
normal person would pause what they’re doing and ask, “Hey, Where are
you headed?” So, naturally, I looked up and asked, “Hey, What are you
setting on fire?”
responded that he was about to gas up his boat and take it out on its
inaugural ride for the 2016 summer season and that we were welcome to
ride along if we were so inclined.
here’s a tip from me to you that will make your life infinitely better
in every way: If someone offers you a boat ride, you drop whatever it
is you’re doing and say “Yes!”
don’t care if you’re at work, at your own wedding, or in the middle of
a surgical procedure. (Although you’ll probably want to get a new
doctor if your surgeon asks you, mid-procedure, if you’re up for a boat
ride. And the person who shouts out at your wedding, “Get on a boat!”
probably shouldn’t have been invited in the first place.)
it also doesn’t matter if the boat ride is to Buxton, to the Inlet, or
to England. You just cancel whatever plans you have scheduled for the
day and go.
I know I had important things to do that day – like continuing to
fiddle on my laptop or going to the Food Lion to creep through the
Saturday crowds with a deer-in-headlights expression.
But cruising out to the sound -- or wherever we were going -- sounded like a better agenda on all counts.
John and I threw on our “boat attire” – navy bathing suit, breezy tank
top, and matching shorts for me and whatever looked clean in the dirty
laundry pile for him – and climbed aboard.
we arrived at the vessel, a straightforward but comfortable 17-foot
skiff, our friend was tinkering around making repairs and using fancy
terms that I was unfamiliar with like “air valve” and “gel coat” and
somewhat useless, I offered to help as best I could by a) Banging on
some boat part with a hammer, b) Banging on some boat part with a
wrench or c) Banging on multiple boat parts with multiple tools. After
all, I know my way around a toolbox and can hit anything with veritably
any object that’s available. (And this is probably why John keeps his
friend smartly said he was fine, and after more tinkering – and
surprisingly little boat-part banging – we were on our way within
when someone offers you a free boat ride, you should sing for your
supper, so to speak. And since I didn’t have Doritos or a six-pack of
beer handy -- my preferred means of currency -- I tried to make myself
useful by providing stimulating conversation.
I failed miserably, by making such astute observations, such as “The
sound sure is blue!” or “Hey, that looks like a bird!” while en route.
friend didn’t seem to mind -- or at least he was polite enough not to
give me the "Did that really come out of your mouth?’ look that my
husband was giving me -- and we cruised along to our destination.
where do you go when you have no agenda, no tumultuous weather, and no
food or beer? Why, you go to get food and beer, of course!
we headed to Pop’s in Buxton to grab lunch and a drink before cruising
back to the house, and thus completing an amazing Saturday afternoon.
the boat had some issues after we tried to shove off for our return
trip, and we ended up catching a cab ride back to Avon instead. You
could call this a setback, but I call it a wonderful extensive tour of
Avon and Buxton that utilizes multiple forms of transportation – kind
of like a triathlon but with no physical exertion required.
by the time we had gotten dropped off our house – all rosy-cheeked from
both the ample sunshine and our three-beer buzz – I turned to my
husband and whispered a phrase that I’ve told him about a million times
since we got married.
Nope, it wasn’t “I love you.”
It was “We need to buy a damn boat.”
has those big luxury purchases that they secretly stow away in their
minds as things they are going to eventually buy, when or if something
else happens. And sometimes you succumb to temptation, log onto Amazon,
and simply go for it.
is why if you root around the depths of my closet -- something I would
not recommend unless you’re up-to-date on your vaccines -- you’ll find
a banjo. And a saxophone. And a NordicTrack ski machine. And a Roomba.
And completely unopened instructions on how to use all four items.
while a boat is on the top of my purchase bucket list -- and has been
for a while -- there are a lot of reasons why I haven’t taken the
plunge on this particular splurge item.
one thing, no matter whom you talk to when you verbally relay that
you’re thinking about buying a boat -- and this includes both boat
owners and non-boat owners -- they all say the same thing, which is
“You know what boat stands for? Break out another thousand.”
a boat is the ultimate money pit, it seems. That's because, in addition
to regular expenses, like gas and registration, you also have to worry
about maintenance, repairs, and other “stuff” – aka things that can’t
be repaired simply by banging on a random boat part with a wrench or
in addition to this general “money pit” response, our friends have
pointed out a myriad of reasons why I, specifically, should not be a
Luckily, I have had years of practice in objecting to these concerns, which are outlined as follows:
“Do you even know how to drive a boat?”
But I barely know how to drive a car either, and it seems to me, that I
have way less chance of blindsiding a poor unsuspecting pedestrian on
the open water.
“Do you know what kind of a boat you want?”
Yep. Something that’s under three grand that also doesn’t look like the raft from the movie "Castaway."
“Aren’t you the person who tried to tell me that the duck blind structures you see in the Pamlico Sound are deer stands?”
A good friend of mine -- who has also convinced me on a regular basis
that someone had written “gullible” on my ceiling, thus causing me to
look up -- once told me that the weird structures you see miles out in
the sound were deer stands. And yes, I believed him for a decade or so.
But now I am more educated and am secretively relieved that there’s not
a lot of deer hunting in the sound because that seems like it could get
super messy for kiteboarders and windsurfers.
“Wait… you believed that duck blinds were deer stands for a decade?”
Yep. Also, shut up.
at this point, it appears that my continuous words of love to my
husband have stayed true for years – Darling, love of my life, we need
to buy a damn boat.
it is indeed a stupid purchase, and frivolous, and a money pit, and
seeing that my tried-and-true way of dealing with mechanical issues is
to bang on something -- or blow on it old-school Nintendo-style -- it’s
clear that I have no earthly idea what I’m doing and should never
purchase a boat.
But you know what’s great about Hatteras Island? Being sensible doesn’t always have to be a priority all the time.
all, everyone here had to ignore a few common-sense ideals to live on
the island for the long-term – like avoiding hurricanes, or being less
than an hour away from the nearest hospital, or just enjoying a winter
where there’s more than six restaurants open.
But would you trade these common-sense practices to live anywhere else in the country? Neither would I.
if there’s an activity that will get you out in our beautiful locale
more –whether it’s surfing, kiteboarding, kayaking, fishing, or boating
– wouldn’t you drop a few bucks to make sure you enjoy our incredible
environment to its fullest?
is exactly why I’m buying a boat. Or at the very least, nag about
buying a boat until my husband ponies up for one. Lucky man, isn’t he?
you inherently take a little bit of risk when you decide to live here,
and if you need to succumb to a bucket list purchase to make life
exceptional, then you should always take the plunge.
if you see a fashionable mariner banging on a castaway-style vessel
like a cavewoman, or notice a stranded vessel with a passenger who is
passing the time by strumming a banjo or wailing on a saxophone, or
even see someone who has just run into Pop’s yelling about how they
just hit a deer stand in the Pamlico Sound, no need to call the proper
Chances are it’s just me, living the dream.