Life on the High Seas
Jewish people don’t hear well. Scratch that. Jewish people hear just fine, we just don’t listen to what you say. After college and the first few jobs, you find yourself with money. Not yet married and not a lot of responsibility, you begin a lifetime of acquisitions. To me, owning a boat was the end all of finally arriving. A culmination of being on the water, picking up girls and hours of endless freedom. Not that I had ever owned a boat, driven a boat or, except for a ferry, probably ever been on a boat, but I was determined to buy a boat. Not thinking rationally (I owned a Honda Accord and had not yet thought about how to pull a trailer; nevertheless, my Jewish genes overrode any commonsense and I figured I’d cross that bridge when I had to). Oh yeah, I was living a good three hours from the ocean so the Potomac River was going to be my training ground.
Ah, freedom, the thoughts of who would be the first of my many naval conquests made the miles seem short and within minutes, I was parking that bad boy, the ticket to my new found freedom, in my Virginia driveway. Hardly being able to sleep, even after my six state journey; I arranged for my roommate’s boyfriend to help me launch not only my boat, but my ticket to the open water.
Still driving the rented truck, we found a launch ramp on the Anacostia River which splits off of the Potomac and winds its way through the District’s Southeast. The plan was set, we would ease the boat into the water, and Steve would drive the truck and trailer back to Virginia then bring my car back to my rented slip. After a day of power boating around the nation’s capital, we would no doubt finish off with a couple of beers and head triumphantly back home. I backed the boat into the water until the slight waves touched just under the bow, sweat pouring off of me as the excitement of the coming moments consumed any rational thinking. Jumping down from the truck and joining Steve in waist deep water, we released the wench that sent my Queen Mary gently gliding into the sweet dark water. Unhooking the final rope and getting ready to board my lady of the sea for the first time in actual water, I noticed that she began listing, not to the side as ships in the movies did, but nose up with the engine weighted back of the boat beginning to submerge. What was it? What was wrong? All of my planning, my dreams, my LIFE were sinking along with my still unnamed pleasure craft. Steve and I scrambled to get a line attached to her before the water could pour into the main cabin. Now shoulder deep in the suddenly cold, forbidding water, we cranked the wench and got the boat leveled and the engine out of the river. Water was gushing like from a spigot from a hole somewhere just under the engine mounts. Had my baby been damaged during the drive down? Was it defective? My mind raced for someone and something to blame when Steve asked me a question that forever cemented in my mind that, yes, I don’t listen. “Did you put the plug in?” The WHAT. The plug? What’s a plug?