Hanging out at Chateau Miller with Oslo and Diva.
On one of my days off in Jamaica, I returned to the Errol Flynn Marina late in the afternoon to find my shipmate Di, sitting by the pool on her laptop. Di belonged to Port Watch, which was on duty that day. The rules were that if your watch had duty, you could not leave the Marina.
After a few minutes of chatting, the conversation turned, as it inevitably did, to ice cream. Let’s be clear about something: one of the themes of the trip was HOT. Not hot. HOT. Oftentimes, you’d wake up in an embrace of sweat and, sometimes, rusty water from leaks in your bunk. While on port, one of the ways we placated the beast of heat and humidity was with regular offerings of ice cream. And conveniently enough there was an ice cream shop a short walk away from the Marina.
Di couldn’t go all the way there, but I offered to get her some ice cream. The Marina had a worker, whose name escapes me, who we’d see often cleaning around the pool area. He would always inquire about Tim B. with “hey, where’s my friend?” He offered to drive us to the ice cream place in the Marina’s golf cart.
It seemed like a sensible thing. I mean, ice cream can only last so long, and even a short walk would’ve turned it into a milkshake. So off we went, Tim B., myself and the Marina worker, riding past groups of people, some we knew, some we didn’t, in our unstoppable quest for a refreshing future.
Ice cream bought, I immediately realized: this is not good. We hadn’t even left the store and it was dripping. Yeah, yeah, I could have chosen a cup instead of cone, but I’ll be dammed, that was more money. And when money is represented to you in terms of hundreds of (Jamaican) dollars, well, everything just sounds more expensive than it probably is. So we try to rush back. Our Marina friend jumps on the golf cart, I’m riding shotgun, Tim B. holds on to the back for dear life and off we go. We’re flying by at maximum golf cart speed. Children jump out of the way, old people are perhaps run over. We will never know. The ice cream drips unmercifully while I hold it as far away as possible from me. The wind is making it worst, it melts rapidly, a trail of ice cream tears.
Di probably enjoyed about half an ice cream, because the other half was either on my hands or on Jamaican pavement.
I suppose it’s funny to envision what it must have looked like to innocent bystanders.
The worker at the Marina, who kindly participated in that spectacle was a funny, cheerful guy. He liked working at the Marina because that way he got to meet worldly people, he said. He’d like to do some traveling since he had never left Jamaica, but as it stood, being around people from other countries gave him a glimpse of far away places — far away places that he perhaps realistically knew, he would never get to see.
What I remember today is not the squeegeeing of floors and cleaning heads every three days. What I remember is
Photo taken by Jeff Schell (above). That’s me trying to, by the looks of it, ease the tops’l brace in the middle of a squall. Don’t that sound fancy?
I just got my July power bill. I’m turning that A/C off. Right. Now. Be damned to heatstroke.