Being on a boat that's moving through the water, it's so clear. Everything falls into place in terms of what's important and what's not.
Yup, when you're on a ferry boat it is abundantly clear what is important. Some days it is important to get to the other side because much fun is anticipated. Two of my grandchildren are now riding the ferry over to the island on their own. It is a great source of pride for them to be old enough to embark and disembark without an adult.
On my first ferry ride I felt anxious. The workers were motioning for me to go this way and that way. Wedging my car in such tight places was like walking through a turnstile. Once in a while I got into the position of nose down on the ramp of the second floor. Pray that the parking brake is not burned out from the times you forgot to release it.
Last week I was the last car on the boat. The ferry worker was getting anxious looks. Should he really take me on? He directed me to take a hard left turn and then quickly position myself right so that my car ended up sideways on the very edge.
"Set your brake!", he shouted above the noise of the boat engines.
There are "must haves" on all ferry rides. You must have a good book or magazine. Chances are you could miss the boat or the boat could have technical problems or a ferry worker might get sick. There is a coastguard policy that a boat must have a certain number of crew members to set sail. Going back home is an option but not if you have a pressing appointment and it is most distressing if you are trying to go home. Since I don't commute to the mainland everyday, these mishaps are less likely. My favorite ferry rides are when I'm coming home on a midday boat. Little traffic, a snack, and a favorite read is the ideal.
You can be a walk on passenger. During commuting hours the upper deck is filled with islanders reading the newspaper, comparing sports stories, and in the bathroom, putting on make-up. A city bus will pick up passengers on island, drive onto the ferry, and take you to the big city on the mainland. Most commuters travel that route. My friend, who commutes by bus, decided to take his car one day. He locked it and went to the passenger deck, where he got sucked into a busy conversation. As the boat docked, he went with the flow of passengers and got on the bus, forgetting his car entirely. His wife received a phone call from ferry officials, who wanted to know where her husband was that morning. She said he was at work.
"Can you verify that, Ma'am?"
"Why?" she asked.
"His car was found abandoned on the car deck of the ferry and we need to investigate the possibility of foul play."
Did he jump ship in a moment of despair?
In the last twenty-nine years I have been inconvenienced some, enraged only once or twice, and sailed without cares most of the time. Bon voyage!
I am writing for 31 days this October about Island Life. Click here to see the other days of writing.