It’s hard to believe we’ve been back at the dock for a month now. I must say that it hasn’t been a hard one, either. The comforts of land life mitigate the losses of beauty and freedom inherent to cruising. Of course we miss seeing the sunrise and sunset over a clear horizon, the quiet of an anchorage, the daily treks to the beach for “recess” and a hundred other small things that make cruising such a pleasure. But being able to step off the boat (eight months pregnant, mind you) and drive an air-conditioned vehicle to Publix to load up on relatively-inexpensive organic food somehow makes up for it. We have enjoyed visits with all the family that we haven’t seen since last spring and almost got caught up with all our friends. When it gets hot on the boat in the afternoons, I take the children to the local Planetarium or the Public Library across the street (insert sigh of happiness here). Plus there are our favorite local hangouts that give the chef a night off, which she seems to need more and more as the due date approaches.
That said, there are some subtle changes that make me pause in my reflections. Why, for example, do we suddenly live by a clock-imposed schedule instead of a natural schedule? We used to be up (and down) with the sun, eat when we were hungry and never feel guilty if we were “late” for some daily activity. All of a sudden, we are staying up late, waking up late, and feeling some kind of pressure about it, especially after daylight savings kicked in and made everything an hour “late.” Really, who cares if breakfast is at 8:30 or 9:30? All the normal things are happening in the normal order, but that clock suddenly has the power to make me feel stressed out. I barely even looked at the clock when we were cruising.
And then, last night, it started raining cats and dogs in the middle of the night and I woke up feeling confused. It took me a few dazed moments to realize that that booming sound was thunder, and the sparkles on the window were raindrops, and that the wind was causing us to actually move in our slip. That got me thinking, when is the last time we looked at a weather forecast? We used to live and die by them.
While doing the dishes the other night, it occurred to me that we take a lot of other things for granted, too, like unlimited hot water. At anchor, I would never have wasted the amount of water doing dishes that I do now, because it comes straight out of a hose from the city water supply. I should still conserve water, but I really don’t. And who has even looked at the battery monitor lately, let alone run the generator or kept an eye on the solar output? All discussions about wind generators have been replaced by consultations on carpentry and upholstery. We are really getting soft. When we got hot this weekend, Jay even turned on the air-conditioner. We are officially living in a “dockominium,” insulated from the raw realities of wind and weather, the awareness of our dependence on water and power, and the sometimes frustrating experiences of daily survival. The transition to living at the dock may have been easy, but less seamless than it might seem.