Friday, March 23, 2012

Knowing When To Keep Quiet

Most of the time, I express my opinion, on everything.  I’m not trying to be a “smarty-pants” or show off, I just want to be helpful.  When dealing with Scott, it’s better to know when expressing my opinion will be annoying.  Learning to park the boat trailer is a time to keep my opinions to myself.

Tonight was trailer practice, day 1.
Scott and I went to the local Assembly of God Church parking lot to practice; it was 6:30 pm and no one was there.

Scott purchased glow-in-the-dark orange plastic cones to mark the spot he was aiming for.  The spot was a regular-sized parking space.  If it had been me, I’d have taken three spaces and then worked my way down to the regular size space after a week, but Scott wanted to do things his own way.

When my mother taught me to ice a cake or sew on a button, she said, “Hold your mouth just so, so you can concentrate.”  I still partially hold my mouth open when I’m doing anything tedious and generally things turn out okay.  I would have suggested to Scott to hold his mouth just so, but before the words came out of my mouth, I realized that I would be better off, keeping that idea to myself, as well as the size of the parking space.

Scott tried to position the trailer in just the right position to back it.  He wasn’t satisfied until having gone around the parking lot three times, and then he found where he wanted to go.  It was sort of like watching my dog finding the right space on the couch after circling it six or seven times.

He said, “I’m going to circle around again, I’ve got plenty of gas.”
I didn’t say a word.

Once he was in position, a truck appeared in the spaces directly across from us.  This person knew what we were doing.  They had the entire lot to choose their space and decided to throw a mental monkey wrench into Scott’s plans. 

Within minutes, an SUV whipped in and immediately the back window lowered, and the face of a buck-toothed girl wearing large glasses gaped at us, mouth-hanging open.  Then, big truck number three arrived and parked closely to the first one.  Apparently, we were going to be their sideshow. 

Scott ignored everything and began to talk to himself as he backed up, “If I want the front of the boat to turn right…”.  I guess this was a good thing, so I sat quietly.

Even with all the pressure, Scott performed admirably.  “I don’t know how I did it; it was a fluke.”  That’s when I became the cheering section.

It wasn’t enough to park the boat and trailer once, he managed to do it three times by 7:20 pm, astonishing.
Before the sun set completely, we got home and angled the car and trailer for the driveway.  I suppose it was good that he practiced in the regular parking space, because our driveway was about the same width.

“Do you want me to put the cones out, so you can see to back in?”  Scott just looked at me with the look that says, “Are you stupid?”  I remained quiet, again.

I got out of the car and became the traffic controller.  I redirected two cars around us, and held a conversation with some neighbors walking their dog.  Scott said, “You’re supposed to be helping me”, and 20 minutes later, the trailer and boat were parked in the driveway.  

When Scott got out of the car to inspect his work, I saw that his shirt was drenched and he had aged some.  Since he didn’t hit my car parked in the driveway, life was good.

The saga will continue in two days when we put the boat in water…
I wonder if we should take the orange cones with us, or perhaps the best helper is just keeping my mouth shut.

Any boaters out there?  I'd love to hear your stories, so email them to me at

Have a great day.

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