In 2016, we took the boat out three times. In 2017, I was satisfied with staying at the dock most of the summer. And the same with 2018. This boat is big, and it’s my home multiple months of the year… driving it out on the lake is intimidating, to say the least.
For 2019, though, something changed.
This morning's fog was so beautiful I was compelled to climb down into my dinghy and row around taking pictures for an hour...
My family has a history of boating going back several generations, at least.
It all began with my grandfather and his love for boating. His love for his sailboat is what lead him to construct a 'boathouse' to protect it in the 1940s, before he was shipped off to war. His love for the water is likely what drove him to make the structure livable, adding a bedroom, and a kitchen addition upon his return. His love for that cottage was definitely the driving force between my family's relationship with Seneca Lake all these years. If you know me you know I love it, as well.
The first full night aboard my boat, I had an anxiety attack.
Had I made a mistake?
I'd moved from Orlando, Florida - where I'd resided for ten years - back home to the Finger Lakes region of New York state.
Part of the reason for my move was practical: the studio I'd rented for six years was on the market. If it had sold, I'd surely see my rent raised to market rates, more than 75% what they'd been in 2010 when I'd moved in. Faced with what would likely be a choice between paying way more than I was comfortable with or moving, I decided to move proactively - onto a cabin cruiser.
“My friend wants to go out on his boat,” Bill called out. “But he won’t go without you, so if you don’t go with him it will never leave the dock.”
And, with that, I had volunteer passengers for my inaugural cruise.
What a sight we must have been, my whole family packed into a small, decrepit motorboat, seemingly from yesteryear. I was probably only six or seven years old, but even then I understood that class distinctions could be made out on the lake, just as everywhere else. Some people had brand new houseboats, others were lucky to be in rickety rowboats with antique motors. We were at the lower end of the boating chain. When we were out on the lake waterskiing, or jumping waves on busier days on the water, it was easy to forget this; on trips into the marina to get gas, however, our status became very clear.
I remember looking up at the boating elite, sitting up on the decks of their yachts sunning themselves. I wondered if they were looking down at us, judging us. I also wondered if they could sense my envy.
"The reason so many of them are in the marina is because after you've spent that much money on a boat, you don't have the money for the gas to go anywhere," my grandfather would tell us. It didn't do much to curb my jealousy. Even in the marina, these people were waking up on a boat! Why couldn't that be us?