We’d had the usual string of excuses leading up to today, notable only in that usually we wouldn’t even get an excuse. Normal procedure down here is to just not show up. At least our shipper cared enough to call and if it weren’t for dueling contradictory excuses like, “with the weekend coming the police are out in force and they like to inspect large boxes, it’ll have to be mañana,” or “your crate is oversize so we have to run at night because the police don’t inspect at night,” or the ever popular “the driver diverted to someplace else” and “we don’t want to drive through the mountains at night.” I wouldn’t want to drive over those mountains at night either, but we showed up at the marina gate at eight a.m. Tuesday as promised, hoping for the best but expecting the usual. About 08:30 the phone rang and, you won’t believe this, but our agent said that the truck had to stop to put a tarp over the crate because of the rain. That’s thoughtful. Maybe by 10:00. I told the yard manager to stand down, he just smiled. I think the next call was a traffic delay, maybe 11:00. I don’t want to belabor the point but at approximately twenty minutes after two in the afternoon a nice, new white Volvo flatbed truck pulled into the yard with a heavy green tarp covering, let’s say part of a large plywood crate with YIT and Escape Velocity spray painted like graffiti all over the sides. Marce burst into tears.
I don’t know what I expected but while the crate was certainly large it didn’t seem big enough to contain all our hopes and dreams.
Well, enough dreaming, what’s inside? Screws squealed as the screw guns backed them out of the damp plywood lid. Hundreds of screws. Finally four of us slid the lid to one side. I was suddenly a kid of five still in my jams with the feet in them and it’s Christmas morning of the best Christmas imaginable.
Eyes wide open, Marce and I slowly went over each box touching every one in turn and occasionally murmuring oh that’s the what-have-you.
Slowly the realization dawned on me that many of those boxes had my name on them and represent countless hours of kneeling, awkwardly reaching, smashing gashing fingers and of course writing the Big Book of Swear Words…it seems to help.
Once a boatyard neighbor and I were having particularly bad days on our boats and I’d felt the need for a timeout. Climbing out into the cockpit I looked up and saw that he was looking over at me and I just smiled and said, “ghosts in the machine.”
Marce and I filled up a dock cart with projects and as the screws squealed going back in, we headed back to Escape Velocity.
It’s been a beehive of activity ever since and today I finished installing our new suite of instruments. They lit up on the first try. Maybe I’ve learned something over the years but there’s still plenty to do before the big boys fly down next week to install the rig.
Stay tuned, this joint is really jumpin’