I was talking about love relationships the other day with a buddy who recently found himself a new one, and is enjoying the heady, crazy bonding stage of romance. Lucky bastard. Our discussions made me think of how I once viewed these and how that perspective has evolved over the years. When I was a lot younger I believed that love could be if not perfect, at least quite ideal. Being somewhat self-aware I knew that I brought an awful lot of complex dysfunctional baggage to my relationship with Tracy, and make no mistake, I was painfully aware of her shortcomings as well. I was unhappy in those days, and believed I was a quite damaged individual, which was probably at least somewhat true. But like a badly running car (or a clapped out wooden boat) I thought I was “fixable” and had a responsibility to do so.
Now that one dilapidated Westy is decrusted I am able to start with Peanut’s much-needed facelift. Although the work is largely aesthetic – barring the numerous leaks into the cabin when it rains – I’ve really wanted to get at it, because the old girl looks pretty shabby, and with those lovely lines and traditional bones it’s just not right. I’ve had several folks pop by while I’ve been working on her, most telling me how beautiful she’ll look when done. And I agree with them, but of course that means they don’t think she’s beautiful now.
Of course beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and I had one local shipwright stop by to ogle and drool over her. He thought she was a gorgeous boat, and better, when I told him I was a novelist, he blurted out “You’re just like Hemingway!”
Modesty prevents me from agreeing with him, although his advice that I take Peanut to Cuba like Hemingway evoked a certain yearning. But I can’t allow myself to get distracted; she needs a lot of work. I had been going at her kind of willy-nilly, just tackling what interested me, but it soon dawned on me that this was a big job and the methodical approach would be best.