Short Timers: A Play in One Act

Mike and Melissa realize their Little Cunning Plan will be coming to fruition in the next year.

From our 2014 Vacation in the Gulf Islands

The setting: A 1968 rambler somewhere in western Washington.  It’s a Thursday evening and Melissa has just gotten off the phone with a friend who has a cool little twin keel sailboat. It has been an uplifting and fun conversation of trading resources and talking boats. Mike is sitting on a couch, reading the paper, having overheard the conversation.

Melissa: (Hanging up) Wow! That was really helpful and nice. I want to take Galapagos down to south sound this year for a long weekend and say howdy to Gary and Rose, and see Mud Duck.

Mike: Yeah. I’d love to do a long weekend and go down there. (He is wistful with a faraway look in those eyes.)

Melissa: You know I’ve been telling people you have one more year to work and then we go. To hell with everything; we go. The house will work out one way or another, the dog will work out somehow, we leave our jobs, we get hauled out and do some final preparations on Galapagos, then we just get the hell out of here. I’ve been saying this out loud to people lately.

Penelekut Isand, 2014

Mike: (visibly brightening, nodding yes): Yeah! Say it!  That’s right! We need to begin saying this. One more year. (pauses as if reflecting)  If we leave early enough in the season we could explore the inside passage, up into BC before we head south. That would be great.

Melissa: Yeah, we could do that circumnavigation of Vancouver Island we’d like to do, a shake down of sorts, and not have to hurry up. Maybe even see Princess Louisa inlet.   (She is looking through Facebook as she talks)

Mike: Yeah! Then if all goes well, we just keep heading south!!

Melissa: Yes! Hey, LLBean is having a sale. (She clicks through to Bean’s and begins scrolling through the sale pages.)   Do you want to see if they have anything you need?

Mike: Nah. I’m not interested in buying clothes right now. Hey, know what I want to do? How about when we head south we stop for awhile and explore the Columbia River? Do you want to do that?

Melissa: (Clicking on things) I don’t know. It sounds OK, but I’d really like to get further away. How about that river delta in Northern California? We could explore that? But really I’d like warmer weather sooner rather than later. Hey, they have bathing suits on sale and those sun shirts that have 50 SPF. I do want to get a couple of those while they are on sale. All I really want to buy is swim suits and things. It feels like magic. If I buy the suit, the warm weather will come. You think?

Portland Island, a favorite place.

Mike: (laughs) I guess we’ll probably stop in San Francisco, because it’s kind of an iconic thing to do.

Melissa: (shrugging, because she, at this point, doesn’t give a rip about iconic anything, much less San Francisco) Yeah, well you know what? By the time we leave I’m not really going to give a crap where we go. You want to explore the Columbia? Fine. I’m probably going to say yes to that just because guess what? We WON’T HAVE A TIME SCHEDULE THE WAY WE DO NOW! So hey, if we spend another year exploring up here, part of me says ‘what the heck, why not?’. But then those swimsuits, they will sit in a drawer for an entire year. Hmm. We shall see. (Another winter in the Pacific Northwest? She hopes not)  I guess it will depend on the Pacific weather. We’ll let the weather decide.

Mike: I’m thinking being close to the coast should be ok. Then we could stop some places. I have a friend in Monterey Bay I’d like to see.

Melissa: Okay. (Thinking that’s fine but she’d really like to just get out of sight of land and just do a longer passage off shore, and also she thinks the coastal weather could be worse, but who cares right now?) I’m ordering two of the sun shirts. I can wear them this summer up here, at least.

Just saying “No” to a marina at Sidney, B.C.

(Lights fade as they close up their laptops and toddle off to bed, full of wonder at the passage of time and how much there is to do between now and a year from now, their budding sense of excitement and anticipation buoying them with energy for the next push.)

Not an auspicious name for a boat, I guess.

Not an auspicious name for a boat, I guess.




12 thoughts on “Short Timers: A Play in One Act

    • Looks to me like you and Ken ARE doing it! I mean, we cannot ignore that this transitional period, with all it’s frustrations and seeming setbacks, is part of the overall scheme. Yes, it’s a little surreal! For dang sure!

    • If we were headed north on that coast, we would definitely harbor hop. I’m not sure how I feel about it heading south. But you know what? I’m remaining flexible! LOL!

  1. If life imitates art then maybe you need to write the play where you get in the boat and sail south in your bikini and 50spf shirt.

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