For those of us who have been on board for years, an excited voice on Skype or an animated e-mail suggesting a visit sometimes brings fear and trembling. To be fair, it’s mostly our fault because we’ve been out so long that our social skills are rusty and we don’t relate a lot to whose maid didn’t pitch up or that the neighbor is suing us because one of our trees is overhanging his garden and our cat is shimmying down and beating up his dog. Then again, whose boat is it? Ours … Not only our boat but our home. And our home isn’t big so we use it all. Adjusting is hard. Guests aboard don’t always get that. Most think that being ‘out of the loop’ we’re just dying for company.
Here’s the Good, the Bad and the Ugly about guests.
Bad and Ugly …
First off, there’s the question of when? Folk have an uncanny aptitude of wanting to visit when you’re planning a big project like, say, hauling and painting. “We want to come and stay on the boat in July, we have some free time then. Is that okay?”
Mention it’s a bad time elicits, “We thought you were retired? How can you be busy?”
Not only am I busy, I have a life.
Then there’s the question of where? They want to come somewhere specific, not understanding that you may have plans affected perhaps by weather, not to mention the hurricane season. Twenty years ago we’d do our best to fit in, saying “Sure,” and then often have to take more water on the deck than we like or conversely, motor for days to be in time. Nowadays we’re smarter and tell them our plans, adding that they’re weather flexible, of course, and that they should hold off until we arrive at said planned destination.
Having arrived they make references to camping, despite the fact you have a hot shower, three double cabins, Internet and a freezer. They don’t mean any harm, just say things like (after showering for ten minutes), “Oh, I should turn off the water? Sorry, didn’t realize you were restricted.”
Then there’s going ashore when it’s howling and the ride back in our small dinghy is to windward. “What’s wrong with that?” they ask.
“Nothing. Here’s a snorkel.”
And how about bored kids costing you money when they tamper with electronics? Or kids with crayons?!
Here’s a view from a friend. When her husband asked when she was going to clean up the boat because his brother was coming, she said: “After he’s gone.”
They’re divorced now.
Then there’s our cats. Not everyone likes cats and the things we allow them to do.
Sometimes it’s better just to lie. This may hurt some people’s feelings but at least you keep the relationship.
However, if you are blessed with the ones that understand, and there ARE some, it’s great.
The people who suggest staying ashore and they’re happy to go off on their own.
The folks that bring things you battle to find while cruising. Good magazines, presents for the boat … Our niece and nephew visited last month and I had to lend her a sarong, so little luggage did she bring. They’re definitely top of the ‘Sacred Few’ list. Then there are the ones who like to cook. “Do you mind if we play in the kitchen?” Mind?! Knock yourself out … I’ll just have another glass of wine, yell if you can’t find something.
… and the ones that say, “Nah, I’m tired, I’ll shower tomorrow.”
Yup, it’s the Good, the Bad and Ugly! We love them, of course, and appreciate their interest—but be careful what you wish for.