November 16, 2008

Time for Plan B

TIMES ARE getting tough, so let’s talk for a minute about Plan B. Plan B goes back a long way, to a time when I was living in a South Africa, a time when South Africans expected an uprising, a bloody revolution. Plan B was always to steal a boat.

We had a boat, of course, a nice little C&C 28, a Trapper-class fin keeler, fast and pretty. But we wanted something a little bigger and more seaworthy, something that could take us around the Cape of Storms and across the Atlantic to America, my wife’s country.

So whenever we sat on the veranda of the Point Yacht Club in Durban with our sundowners, our eyes would scan the serried ranks of sailboats gleaming before us in the sub-tropical sun.

We were very picky. We had to be able to handle her ourselves, just June and me and our 17-year-old son, Kevin. We’d prefer a ketch, for easy sail handling, but a sloop or cutter would be OK, too. We particularly wanted a boat with wind-vane self-steering. Something between 30 and 35 feet. Four berths. A full keel. Fiberglass or steel or aluminum, no wooden hulls, thank you. Been there, done that. Oh, and a engine that was easy to start, because we probably wouldn’t have the engine key. Definitely wouldn’t have the key.

There were usually two or three contenders, and our current choice would change from time to time as new intelligence came in. Kevin was our main source. “They hide the cabin key in a flap of the dodger,” he’d announce after a sail through the ranks in his dinghy. “They have an Aries vane and a 10-foot Avon dinghy with a Yamaha outboard.” We promised him the best berth in exchange for his information.

Come the revolution, when the streets were dripping with blood, and there was shooting and stabbing and buildings ablaze and all that sort of thing, we would rendezvous at Plan B and make our escape, unnoticed in all the carnage.

OK, nobody’s expecting that same kind of revolution in America right now, but things are getting tougher. If your mortgage has gone toxic and bankers keep yelling at you because you’re overdrawn again and you’re worried sick because it looks like your job is going down the tubes, you might want to start thinking about Plan B.

They tell me it’s a lot cheaper to live in Mexico. Those Caribbean islands look quite nice, too. The weather’s great and the rum is cheap. But first you’ve got to get there. Maybe it’s time you started working on Plan B.

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Today’s Thought

Men’s plans should be regulated by the circumstances, not circumstances by the plans. --Livy.

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“A cat burglar got into our place last night.”

“How you know it was a cat burglar?”

“Because the only things missing are the parrot and a liter of milk.”
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