Friday, February 24, 2012

Neither wind nor snow nor rain nor gloom

Mrs. Hall looked out over the bleak expanse around Penguin Hall.  Puddles were growing so rapidly around the perimeter she momentarily considered the advantages of advertising their little plot as waterfront property.  This time last year they were sitting in a glorious bar on Fifth Avenue trying to decide whether to go to Rockefeller Plaza or the Plaza Hotel.  Mrs. Hall nursed that vague feeling one gets when it seems like the house is closing in around you and she sighed heavily.
 “Perhaps we shouldn’t have been so hasty about selling your old boat,” she said.  Mr. Hall wandered in.  He looked out the window. “The tide does seem to be coming in a bit early today. Maybe looking at some new boats would cheer you up,” and he pulled a pair of tickets to the boat show out of his Learjet jacket.  She brightened up immediately.
  Going to the Boat Show has always been a sort of seesaw affair for the Halls.  While Mrs. Hall was used to rigging and sailing (and generally terrifying the local populace by cleating up the sails so hard in the pursuit of speed that she frequently turtled the craft), Mr. Hall was more accustomed to allowing Mr. Evinrude’s horses to propel him effortlessly, if not a little recklessly, around the lake.  They had long since made peace with this division and if there could be any common ground between them at all, it was their mutual disdain of that Winnebago of the waterfront-  the pontoon boat, or as it is more commonly known; the Party Barge. 
  There seemed to be a number of sailing vessels in the first building and the show looked as if it was getting off on the right foot.  However, soon on, it became increasingly apparent the toll the economy had taken on the sport.  "Wow," stared Mrs. Hall in surprize.  "I guess what they say is true; it's never too soon to show yer kids how to play 'Beer Pong'".  They wandered past the all too paltry assortment of yachts and suddenly, it appeared the entire west end of the building was turned over  to nothing but pontoon boats.  One story, two story, boats with kennels and disco lights and boats with massive sound systems blasting over the din.
"Here's what I'm talkin' about!" piped up Mr. Hall.  Drawing a goodish size crowd around it was a particularly well turned out 26' boat with it's own dedicated lounge and barbeque grill.  "Now that's putting the BAR back in Party Barge!" he said.   He slid onto one of the barstools and sat back.  The idea of a floating cocktail lounge had certainly rung true with the showgoers; there seemed to be no end to their fascination with the extraordinary craft.

Dotting the seats around it were all manner of faux beverages, no doubt to drive home the idea to anyone addlepated enough not to notice-  the industry had finally figured out that second only to the monumental guzzling of petrol that these beasts required, was the massive amounts of alcohol guzzled by the boats' occupants.  
Why not stop being so squeamish about admitting this and get down to brass tacks- stick the bar right out in the open and let's get this party started
"You looked quite at home on that thing," remarked Mr. Hall as they slid on over to the next building.  "It's true, that is one amazing boat," she said. "But I'm still a traditionalist at heart.  Com'n, let's check out the powerboats."
 Apparently the coliseum used a shoe horn to fit the larger powerboats inside; several of the exhibits looked like a road show version of that wonderful scene from Caddyshack with Ted Knight and Rodney Dangerfield at the yacht club.  

"Very nice; very nice indeed," mulled Mr. Hall.  He surveyed the interior of a 37' Searay with a critical eye until he heard a strange noise overhead.   He came up out of the cabin to find Mrs. Hall making engine  sounds in the cockpit.  "Look at me!" she said.  "This thing is so automated, I can drive it with my eyes closed!"  Mr. Hall shook his head.   "Oh, for heaven's sake! Get out of there! You've got all the nautical sense of a navel orange.  Besides, it's time we should be going."
 They waved goodbye to the glittering tangle of chrome and ABS plastic, strolled out the parking lot and out to the gray winter skies above. It may have been dreary outside, but all the way home, visions of breakers splashing off the gleaming blue hull of a shiny new Chriscraft carried them away from the gloom.

Side note:  Earlier this month Mrs. Hall escaped Mr. Hall's usually stern surveillance, and had ordered herself another toy online.  It came Wednesday via the post, and for the better part of an afternoon distracted Mrs. Hall just long enough to allow that window of opportunity for cleaning the bathroom to slip out of her fingers for another day.  

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