Monday, December 27, 2010


I’ve never really understood the allure of owning a boat; the most salient feature of my experience on board a water-going vessel has always been a feeling of being trapped: once you’re on deck, there’s nowhere to go and you’re stuck with whomever you’re stuck with until you get back to port.

I imagine, though, folks who are into that sort of thing probably consider being on a boat the ultimate expression of freedom: you can go wherever you want as long as the water’s deep enough, and if you’re sailing, it’s even better since you don’t have to use any power other than the wind.

For me, that experience is best attained on the seat of a bicycle; when you’re out and about on two wheels, you’re absolutely free; as Kent Peterson is wont to say, “Any distance is biking distance,” and it is, as long as you’ve got the time.

Yesterday, I enjoyed the feeling of sailing around Seattle as I took a break from football-watching (if you can call Seahawks broadcast “football”) at Bill’s Off-Broadway to ride from Capitol Hill around and down to Eastlake, South Lake Union, and then back up the hill for one final round; I timed my pedaling perfectly for the blustery day: just as I headed out it was starting to rain and right at the moment I returned, it was finally stopping, but it was a lovely jaunt nonetheless.

As long as I kept heading in a generally northwest direction, the wind and rain were at my back and only made me feel stronger. And then, when it was time to return in a basically southeasterly route, I got to enjoy a sunbreak to my right—which, while not powerful enough keep me dry, nonetheless was so scintillatingly beautiful that I didn’t mind the drizzle at all.

I really did feel like a sailor; tacking into the breeze as I maneuvered home, yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum.


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