The Return

So I haven't posted here for about two weeks, and given that I generally piddle out something new at least a couple times a week I should probably discuss the reason behind my absence: work.

As you may or may not know, I'm a lawyer by trade. Since mid-June, I've been an unemployed lawyer. Well that was fun while the sun was shining, but as things so often come to pass when the Minnesota sun wheels ever lower in the southern sky, I found myself restless and in need of something to do as the leaves began to change.

It so happens that another equally predictable event comes to pass during my time of Autumn Angst: Lake Minnetonka must be depopulated of boats. Why? Because this is Minnesota and our water freezes two feet thick.

Upon the advice of a friend, I consulted a gentleman (actually he's a rather crude man, though he claims to be sweet and innocent) who is engaged in the boat storage trade. He offered me employment for the Fall Haul, and I accepted.

In theory, the operation would work like this: a driver takes two boaters in a vehicle to two separate boats. The boaters load the boats onto trailers at a public landing, help the truck drivers strap the boats down, then get back in with the first driver to go pick up two more boats. In practice, the unpredictable nature of boats and the aforementioned gentleman boat bailor often combined to make the simple complex and the complex virtually impossible. As if this wasn't enough to contend with, Minnesota also enjoyed the wettest October in recorded history, including two separate occasions on which snow accumulated substantially.

The days dragged on, and as they did the schedule became absolutely packed from 8 in the morning until 7 at night, six days a week. Nerves were frayed, and harsh words were frequently spoken about really inconsequential issues such as strap technique, trailer preparation, and other aspects of the trade. As I was a rookie--or in the parlance of the sea, a greenhorn--I had very little to offer during these debates, which was frustrating for me. Eventually, I managed to piece together enough knowledge to realize that generally, neither of the parties had any idea what they were talking about, and the basic motivation behind the debates was spite.

Even though co-worker interaction could be a little contentious, there were moments of levity and serene beauty that made the nonsense seem somehow worthwhile. On one run, I had to take a small Sea Doo around to the ramp on a rain-soaked 35 degree evening in the middle of the month. My feet were soaked because I had to beach the watercraft in order to tip it over and pull about 15 pounds of seaweed out of the jet intake, and I was strongly considering simply riding the thing to my dock, sinking it, and going home to take a warm shower.

As I rounded the point, the clouds briefly broke in the distance and I was treated to a beautiful play of light shining through cracks in the grey nether and sparkling off the surface of the water. It was a reminder about the impermanence of life and the miniscule time we actually have to experience it. The vision readjusted my perspective in a very humbling way, and I felt blessed to have seen it, and I was treated to that feeling almost every day in one way or another.

So now here I sit back at my desk, and the three hundred and fifty boats entrusted to the care of the gentleman boat wrangler are now safely stored in a clean, dry, modestly heated building in a place called Lester Prairie. While the process was not always smooth, in the end the job had rewards that I did not anticipate while forcing me to endure hardships I could scarcely have imagined. Whatever else it was, it was inarguably an adventure.

"He always thought of the sea as la mar, which is what people call her in spanish when they love her...The old man always thought of her as feminine, as something that gave or withheld great favors. If she did wild or wicked things, it is because she could not help them. The moon affects her as it does a woman, he thought." -Ernest Hemingway, The Old Man and the Sea.

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