Olympia is the kind of town where blueberries grow in the public landscapes. If we visit later in the year, we’ll be able to graze as we walk. We like Olympia. It’s a liberal town where artistic expression is appreciated on both the personal and collective levels. Public areas that are beautiful as well as functional are valued and kept groomed. And it’s not a bad cruising destination, either. We’ve been at the work dock at Swantown again getting our fiberglass repair done and our mizzen mast stepped. We’re kind of glad to be back.
Monday we discovered that we’d run out of propane on the main tank, so on Tuesday morning I went on a little cruiser adventure to find more. “Cruiser adventures” illustrate how our new lives are different from the old, usual lifestyle we used to embrace.
The Google showed me that Acme Fuel was less than a mile from the dock; one of the benefits of being in a working port town. Great! I was going to be getting my exercise, something I can no longer take for granted, much to my dismay. I deployed the Magna Cart, attached the aluminum tank, inserted earbuds for my book-for-the-road, grabbed my parasol, and set off to find Acme and their unlimited amounts of propane and propane accessories at low, low prices.
One thing about Olympia is that people have a very flexible attitude toward clothing and personal accoutrements. I appreciate this and noticed that I got barely a second glance from others as I trundled down the road, one hand on the tank laden Magna Cart, the other holding my little silk parasol to keep the hot summer PNW sun off my delicate skin. It’s nice to know that there are places close to home where my increasingly cruiser-casual wardrobe doesn’t cause anyone to bat an eye, much less cross the street in distress to avoid me.
Rounding the corner by the Hands On Children’s Museum, which, quite frankly makes me want to borrow a small child for a day just so I can play with all the cool stuff and go up in their tiny lighthouse, I spied a large Acme propane tank behind a fence. And yet, how to get passed that fence? And where was the Acme office? My googly map told me the place was close to the corner of Franklin and Thurston streets. The large tank with the friendly sun logo was close to the corner of Franklin and Thurston street. I walked the block, but no office was in sight. I saw other tanks, but they were way too big for Galapagos.
I was feeling chagrined and on the verge of getting confused, if not lost, when a representative of Cruiser’s Karma stepped lightly out of a nearby, cleverly concealed doorway, propane accessory in hand. He was a youngish man, which most men I see are, nowadays, dressed in average every day clothes. He smiled broadly, teeth gleaming in the morning Olympia sunshine. Was that a starry twinkle I saw in his eye?
“ Good morning! You must certainly be looking for the propane place! I work there and am walking there now. Please allow me to carry your tank for you. Come this way.”
These are close to his actual words. I was slightly dazzled. I am now at the time of my life where when youngish men ( or any age man, really, or any woman for that matter) with gleaming teeth and twinkling eyes come stealthily out of concealed doorways and offer to carry a feather-light tank for me (because ours are aluminum and are light as a feather) I just say , ‘Thank you kind sir!’ and hand it over. I will not make any fuss at all about being able to carry it myself or any of that nonsense. If he wants to carry my tank, he can carry my darned tank. I retained my parasol.
We crossed the street and a gravel parking lot to an obscure one-story building with a small, neat propane station in the front. In less than 5 minutes, and about 10$ later, I had a filled tank, a nice conversation about propane, and was ready for the walk back to the boat. He never even had to take the tank off the Magna Cart. He was that good.
I dropped the tank off at Galapagos and carried on for the rest of my walk. The city has put in a nice path along the water. I walked the path, secure in the knowlege that I’d done my ‘one thing’ for the day, stopped at Batdorf and Bronson for coffee, and walked back to the boat. This cruising life. We could be loving it.