My mate’s uncle, Frederick, is a very particular breed of boating enthusiast. I have reason to suspect that he doesn’t actually know a great deal about how the things work, but he somehow manages to distract from his lack of understanding with his boundless devotion to being on the water.
He’s the only person I know who could talk at me for two hours straight on the subject of boat motors, while not really saying anything at all. I’m pretty sure he’s parroting at least some of his material from the guy who does his outboard motor servicing in Melbourne. He usually returns from one of these appointments waving a diagnostic printout that I’m sure he can’t make head or tail of.
To be perfectly honest, I’m pretty sure his boat has seen better days and could do with a rebuild. I want to suggest that he do it himself (under guidance) – I think it would be a great opportunity for him to expand his knowledge base, for real. But I’m kind of concerned that he’ll try and rope me into helping him with the project, and I don’t really have time to go that deep.
It’s not that I’m not interest in learning about the finer points of anchor winch installation. In Melbourne, though, there’s just not that much opportunity to apply such information, unless you happen to live on the coast, which I don’t. Having said that, I find a strange appeal in the vaguely mystical quality of words like ‘bow-spirit’. Maybe my ancestors were seafarers or something.
I suppose that the one thing that Frederick and I might have in common is a slight tendency to romanticise boating paraphernalia, without really being all that committed to understanding it. Well, we can’t all know everything, can we? And why bother trying when you’re perfectly happy to leave your boat maintenance in the hands of genuine expert?