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Published: October 15th 2008
This Hand Wants Another Beer And Other Personifications
Oct. 5, 2008, Indian Ocean, about 1,000 miles east of Mauritius, and 1,000 miles west of Cocos Keeling
“The cabbage prefers to be peeled first, then cut. Rather than cut first,” Norfy yelled to James, who was preparing dinner down in the saloon.
”Gotcha,” James replied. On Yacht Cleone we are always trying to extend the life of our fresh vegetables before they go bad and have to be thrown overboard.
“What?” I said. “The cabbage doesn’t have an opinion. It doesn’t want or need or prefer anything.”
“Sure it does,” James yelled up to Norfy and I, as we sat in Cleone’s cockpit. “Alex, you just don’t speak cabbage.”
“True, I don’t speak cabbage. But what I can say is that I didn’t hear the cabbage say anything,” I replied to James.
“What are you two going on about now?” Norfy said, rolling his eyes. “I lost you two about three or four days ago when you went on for hours about the coefficient of friction on the heel of a loaf of bread compared to the other slices of the loaf.”
Idle banter helps pass the time on a two-week, 2,500-mile passage across the Indian Ocean, I thought.
“Well, that was an important discussion, Norfy. Especially with the rough seas we’ve had on this leg,” I said to Norfy. “If I recall correctly, none of my bread slid off my plate at lunch yesterday, did it?”
Norfy sighed and rolled his eyes again. He didn’t reply.
“This hand wants another beer,” Norfy yelled down to James.
Before he could finish the sentence, James was handing up some beers.
“There you two go again, personifying everything,” I said to Norfy and James. “This hand wants. The cabbage prefers. You can’t do that.”
“I thought we just went through this?” James asked. “Do you speak cabbage? Now, you’re obviously not listening to what your hand is saying.”
“Or my liver,” I said, mocking him. I sat back, waited for dinner (that would include cabbage) and sipped my beer.
The boat was gently rocking, a slow rhythmic sway. But it was comforting, like a baby in a mother’s arms. And it was a far cry from the tossing and turning and throwing that we’ve been subjected to over the previous week. I was in a deep sleep, dreaming I was in a hammock back on one of the beaches on Cocos Keeling.
“Alex, wake up! You’re on watch in 10 minutes,” Norfy yelled.
James repeated him, because I apparently didn’t budge.
I got the picture the second time. I sat up and looked outside. Norfy must have stuck his head in through the hatch and then quickly shut it. Now, all I could see of Norfy was the poor guy hunched over himself outside in full foul weather gear on. Water and mist clouded the window to the cockpit, but I could make out the water dripping off the brim of his hat and then down onto his face. It was pouring. Again.
“Ugh,” I said aloud. “It’s still raining?” Before falling asleep I’d spent the entire midnight watch in the pouring rain.
“What did you tell me last night when you woke me before my shift,” James asked.
“I’m a bit tired. I have no idea. I just don’t remember,” I replied, having just woken up.
“’This weather sucks,’ you told me,” James said.
“Yeah, what’s your point,” I asked, still groggy and upset for being woken up from my tropical island dream. I put my waterproof pants on, but backwards.
“Did the weather tell you it sucked,” James asked. “How did you know?”
“This brain needs a cup of coffee if you’re going to start this early in the morning,” I said.
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