I had a most ridiculous day today. It was as if I really wasn’t meant to get a single thing done – at all. When I woke up, it was storming. Violent gusts shook the trees outside. I think the lights were on for all of three minutes when suddenly we had a power outage that lasted a couple of hours. Of course I hadn’t charged my phone the night before so, as I was fumbling around by candle light in our dark house, trying to pack my tools, I grabbed what looked like an iphone charging cord, figuring I would charge the phone while I was driving.
The first stop of the day was to pick up a large 8′ x 3′ x 2′ stock tank way out in a suburb of Portland. The extended darkness set me back some, so I had communicated with my helper William that, with traffic, I would likely not be on site until around 10:30. That was a pretty good guess, but I was running a few minutes late, so – at a red light – I tried texting him that I was almost there. And BAM, my phone died! Turns out the cable I had grabbed in the dark was for some other dumbass Apple product, and wasn’t working on the phone at all. My phone was completely stone dead.
“Oh well”, I thought, “he is probably already there… ” Well, this time, he wasn’t. I waited a few minutes, and then loaded up my tools on a borrowed cart and headed down to the slip. Today was the day when we were finally going to finish up the project at the house boat. It has taken far longer than anyone ever anticipated, as (besides all that styrofoam) we had to stop several times, as things like rotting wood, decking, etc., was discovered, and wait for owners to return from their travels to make decisions, and William’s two-week hiatus before that. Quite frankly, I was pretty excited to be done with it!
There wasn’t a whole lot I could do without him, so I loaded the cart up with a bunch of yard debris we had left behind last time, and hauled it back up to the dumpsters at the parking lot above. Still no sign of William. I cursed my dead phone, and knocked on three different doors to see if any of the neighbors could lend me a charge. Over the weeks I’ve been there, I’ve gotten to know several of the neighbors, but today, the marina was unusually quiet. Nobody was home. Even if I could have borrowed a phone, I couldn’t have reached him… Remember the days when you remembered all your friends’ phone numbers? I kind of miss the days when we actually had to keep information in our heads. In a way, you were less vulnerable, and definitely a lot less prone to electronically induced helplessness.
Back up to the parking lot again. Reluctant to drive home with that big tank, I decided to attempt to haul it down the ramp, made steeper by the low tide, by myself. They are big and unwieldy, but not super heavy. I had a rope in the truck, and with a few well placed clove hitches managed to unload and strap it to the cart. I mused over the irony of being sunk by malfunctioning new conveniences, whereas by using age old tools like wheels, rope, balance, and leverage, I managed to move that beast into its new home. I was really proud of myself when I pulled it up to the slip and unloaded it.
Long story short; William and I finally managed to connect. He had gotten there ten minutes after me, but somehow forgotten the gate code, so he waited outside the gate for me to text him back. Poor thing, he waited in vain for almost an hour. (I didn’t think to look for him there, since only last week he reminded ME of what the code was… ) After giving up on me, he sought shelter in a nearby tavern for a while. When I finally got some battery power, he was on his way home but kindly turned around, and met me at the dock. We brainstormed a little, but at this point, we were both at a point where the best thing to say is “fuck it” and we went back to the bar. It was 3pm, and we finally got some lunch. After that, we both set out braving rush hour traffic back to our respective homes. What a glorious waste of a good day, huh? And still, it wasn’t all bad. My self confidence got a boost when I singlehandedly wrangled the tank into position, and despite the icy, sometimes up to 50 mph wind gusts, it was a spectacular autumn day. One delightful observation was that the swishy planters I had worried might blow over hadn’t – at least not at that wind speed. And, I got to spend at least an hour with a dear friend. There is something to be said for that too.