13 February 2014

0 boats! boats! boats!

today i went to see aristotle onassis's yacht.

so this all came about because i emailed the lettings agent last july and he said he'd be in touch when he was next on the ship. he was on the ship now because some people were looking at buying it and he flew across the atlantic to show it off. so i was, essentially, the sketchy person who goes to look at a house she has no intention of buying (like that one time croftie and i pretended to be a lesbian couple so we could see a posh apartment in chicago), casually drifting through the ship at a leisurely place, peeking in the bathrooms and bedrooms and closets, whilst the serious buyers put on hasmat suits and went down to inspect the engines.

what was it like? well, the ceilings were very very low (which maybe kills my contention that docudramas always err on the detail of ceiling heights). that's the first thing i thought upon walking in. i thought, my god, it's claustrophobia city in here. i cannot breathe! and then spent the next hour wondering how jackie, a woman always on the lookout for freedom, didn't go completely cray stuck in that dark, confined space.

then i went upstairs and opened a door i wasn't entirely sure i was allowed to open and, as a stiff breeze slapped me in the face, walked out on deck.

and it was like, OH. that's how. because you can leave.

we were parked in a marina in chatham, england on a gloomy, rainy day and still i could see how it might have been. how that might have made up for the oppressive dark paneling and the low ceilings and all that bearing down. being able to open that door and step outside and see water.

having been inside, being outside felt better.

and then it was over and, because i hadn't brought a high-visibility vest with me, the ship's crew called the man from dock security and asked, can you come pick up our lady? he came and picked me up.

coming into town it had been quite grim and gray. on the off-chance that the boat wasn't the story and the getting there was and also because i have this insane need to always depart on a journey at 5 a.m. and so arrived in chatham a full three hours early, i'd climbed a mountain and traversed a heath in driving rain. and then used the toilet at dickens world, which- if i'm interpreting it's billboard correctly- is to charles dickens what medieval times is to the medieval times.

the walk back was the clear opposite. shorter, because i now knew where i was going, and the rain had passed, the clouds flattened out as the sky'd turned a brilliant robin's egg blue.

and i thought, good god, why am i always whining? why am i not just grateful for all of this?  

i'd forgotten that there are these moments. the moments after the doing of some big jackie-related thing where each new moment leads back to the moments before it and, for however shortly, it all comes into focus. the vast expanse of the last four years in particular, but also the last twenty, that have led here.

it's like flipping through a narrative in-progress with which you're intimately familiar but in which a new paragraph has just been placed.

it is not unlike the process of editing my own writing, except this isn't my writing but my life.

in these moments i am 100% present.

in truth, these may be the only moments where i am 100% present.

today i went to see aristotle onassis's yacht. tomorrow i'll go to the library.

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