Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Another Selkie Story

Text message to Our Sunshine;
"12 foot fibreglass darling dinghy, smicko, licensed trailer, wants 2 grand, I reckon he'll take 1400. That's what scholarships are for, huh?"
"Hmmm, I'd think about that one for a little while, darling."
"Ohhh! But I WANT IT!"
"Yes dear and I'm sure its a very nice boat. You just hold onto yourself for a little while."
"I'll think about it then."
"There's a good girl."
Do you detect a tone coming through, here? "Oh fuck off!" I messaged back, unable to remain rational and considerate any longer.

There's only one thing to do when meeting resistance like that. It's a bit the same as "I want a puppy, Mum," or "Buy me a pony, Daddy." You take said victim to see the said merch. Works with puppies everytime.
We ingested such large amounts of coffee the next Saturday morning, I began to realise I'd actually overdosed and had morphed into a rambunctious, foul-mouthed harridan, wigging out amongst a wonderfully gentile group of writers, philosophers and artists. Far from scintillating company, my state was becoming embarrassing to those around me. There was nothing for it but go to sea. There is a saying; "Bad behaviour on land means bad luck at sea" but I put it to Haimona and Our Sunshine anyway.

"Why the boat?" Our Sunshine was at it again. "Why do you need to buy a boat?"
"Because I WANT it."
"You've got a boat."
"But she's ..."
"Why do you need a boat?"
"I need to buy a boat with my scholarship money, so I can pursue my study of Foucault's The Boat as Heterotopia par Excellence."
Hence I justified a blatant impulse buy with abstract academia, to a cerebrally-inclined Gemini. Brilliant.
"I can work with that," she nodded approvingly. "C'Mon, Haimona, let's take a boat for a spin."

It was like the puppies. I once took a Toa sister all the way out to Boxwood Hills in the Bedford van - whose rusting roof was perilously close to peeling back and giving us all blow-waves - with the express purpose that she talk me out of buying a brindle Kangaroo dog. I needed her objective, hard-nosed, sensible-sister advice. She's a dead reckoner with old Valiants, but when this Toa sister was faced with eight mangy puppies that looked just like joeys in a brindle snarl sprawled over a stack of roo tails, the wolf-mother nearby licking up the blood from a slaughtered goat, she just fell apart and whispered "Oh, just buy her!" I learned something that day.

We piled into Our Sunshine's very cool $500 panel van (So cool, it's nearly as cool as a $500 Bedford van) and drove out to the suburbs, where this little daisy of a boat sat on the side of the road, everything painted, varnished, polished and just so bloody gorgeous. The puppy theory worked.
"Ohhh," Our Sunshine and Haimona breathed. "She's a darling!"
When I asked the owner if we could take her out, he took one look at my deeply needy demeanor and caffeine twitch - and asked for my handbag and pin number.

Everything went well until Haimona tried to start the motor and fuel went just everywhere. However, a strong Kiwi with long arms is much handier anyway when there are a set of oars around. I wish I had a camera. Visualise this; Our Sunshine and myself in long, white, fluffy dresses and parasols (dressed for the Saturday morning philosophy saloon, of course), reading novels and letting Haimona row us all around Oyster Harbour.

Consequently, I had their blessing. Well sort of. By the next morning Haimona was still working on me to give it up but he knew it was a lost cause. Especially when he'd proved so damn good at rowing. And so the Selkie came home with me.


  1. I would have bought the boat, too, Sarah. She's gorgeous. I can't help thinking she looks a tad familiar. Who did you buy her from?

  2. Doesn't everyone buy a boat from a guy named Al who lives in the suburbs? (Milpara) His brother-in-law built it, obsessively apparently, it is spotlessly perfect. she is a beautiful thing!

  3. And thanks B.T. for your thesis reference. It is a beautiful work and it was a lovely afternoon going home again to read a lot of the things in there. (And the binding! Nice) I've not read the Perfect Storm yet but will do. Your thesis struck me as particularly poignant, given recent leavings. Hope you are okay...

  4. It's very very very tidy!

    Why does anyone need a boat? Because sanity lies beyond that next cove!

  5. You are bloody mad of course but that's why we love you.

  6. PS I have 'The Perfect Storm' if you want to borrow it. I'll swap you for my other book!