Saturday, January 4, 2014

Knowing When To Keep Quiet

I tend to give advice, on everything.  I can’t help it, maybe it’s the teacher in me coming out.  I just want to be helpful.  When dealing with my husband Scott, it’s better to know when “helping” is annoying.  Learning to park the boat and trailer is a time when it’s best to keep my advice to myself.

Trailer practice began at the local Assembly of God Church parking lot.  It was Thursday, 6:30 pm, and no one was there.   I’m not quite sure why Scott wanted me to come along, moral support?  He knew I would be documenting this experience for posterity’s sake, and maybe for a laugh or two.

Scott used new, glow-in-the-dark orange rubber cones to mark a regular-sized parking space.  If it had been me, I would have taken three spaces and then worked my way down to one after practicing a month.  I suppose Scott is an optimist.

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 minuscule size of the parking space.

Scott tried to move forward into a position where the trailer was perfectly behind the car.  He backed up and ran over the cones.  Not even, close.  He said, “I’m going to circle around again. I’ve got plenty of gas.”  I didn’t say a word.

Not deterred, Scott drove around the parking lot three times, until he found the perfect spot.  It was sort of like watching my dog finding the right space on the couch after circling it six or seven times.
Once he was in position, a truck appeared in the space directly across from us.  This person knew what we were doing.  How could you miss us?  They had the entire lot to choose a 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; the face of a buck-toothed girl wearing large glasses gaped at us, mouth-hanging open.  Then big truck number two arrived and parked closely to the first one, everyone watching us.  Apparently, we were going to be their evening entertainment, and I wanted to hide. 

Scott ignored it all and began to talk to himself as he backed up, “If I want the front of the boat to turn right…,” not finishing his sentence.   I sat quietly, staring at the floor.

Even with all the pressure, Scott performed admirably.  “I don’t know how I did it.  It was a fluke.”   I became his cheerleader.  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 parking lot, because our driveway is about the same width as a parking space.
I said, “Do you want me to put the cones out, so you can see to back in?”  Scott stared at me with that look that says, “Are you stupid?”  I shut up.

I got out of the car and became the traffic controller, redirecting two cars, and held a conversation with some neighbors walking their dog.  Scott said, “You’re supposed to be helping me.”   I guess I had been quiet for too long.  Twenty minutes later, the trailer and boat were parked.  

When Scott got out of the car, his shirt was drenched, and he had aged some.  Since he didn’t hit my car or the garage, life was good.

The saga continues Saturday, when we put the boat in water for the first time.  I wonder if we should take the orange cones, or maybe just keep my mouth shut.

May all your boating adventures be "smooth sailing."  Email me at
Have a great day.

This humor piece was originally printed in a shorter version in the December 2013 issue of All At Sea Southeast magazine, page 18,

No comments:

Post a Comment