April 26, 2016

The need for boat-bonding time

BRITISH  EMPLOYERS are giving staff as much as three weeks paid leave  to settle in new pets. They call it “pawternity leave” and it’s in addition to normal annual vacation time.

Roughly 1 in 20 companies offer special time off when employees obtain a new pet. Some firms allow workers to take a few hours off to settle an animal in a new home, but others offer up to 21 days of paid leave. This time can be used for training, visits to the vet, or simple bonding time at the new location.

Well now, what does this suggest to you? Yes, of course. What about special leave for a new boat? Right on. We all know that a boat has a soul. She needs tender loving care and attention as much as any old moggy or mongrel.

There is an obvious need for a few weeks of pampering time to settle your new boat in its berth or on a mooring while you splice up some fancy new mooring lines. You could use the time to introduce your little darling to the neighboring boats, so she doesn’t feel like the perennial new kid on the block. You could give her bottom a new lick of antifouling paint and tickle her fancy with a coat or two of fresh varnish. And, naturally, you’d need to take her for quite few test sails to see how she reacts to your handling. There is no end to the list of things you could do in three weeks of paid leave.

To those who will say all this is just plain silly, I’ll add this: what is the difference between pets and boats? Surely what’s right for one is right for the other. In fact, if you think about it, boats are more useful than pets, and just as pretty. They don’t bite or scratch, don’t soil the carpet, and don’t steal the barbecue steak. Boats carry you to places and have room for you to sit down sheltered from the rain and drink beer and wine.  What pet can compete with that? You can fish from a boat and smuggle booze or drugs if you want to. 

A boat will ignore you just as well as a cat, if that’s the relationship you want, but, unlike a dog, no boat will disgrace itself by mindlessly running to fetch balls and sticks. Neither do you have to follow a boat with a plastic bag every time you take it out in public. Furthermore, your boat won’t bite the postman’s leg and get you fined.

There is so much to learn about a new boat, so many surprises.  How many old screwdrivers are there rusting in the bilge? What’s that livid, fluffy, orangey-green stuff under the galley sink? Why the hell won’t the engine start all of a sudden, and why have the batteries gone flat? This all takes time. Employers should have realized this need for extended bonding a long time ago. In fact, perhaps it’s time it was written into law. You might want to sound out your member of Congress on the subject. Or, if you have access to Mr. Trump, whisper it in his ear. He has a yacht. He’ll understand.

Today’s Thought
Were it not for love,
Poor life would be a ship not worth the launching.
— Edwin Arlington Robinson, Tristram

 What do you call a fish with no eyes?
A fsh.
(Drop by every Monday, Wednesday, Friday for a new Mainly about Boats column.)


Adam said...

My Catalina 27 was a biter. She especially went for the knuckles. She has a hole in her transom that her outboard fits through, and this hole is lined with teeth that she uses to nip fingers gripping the engine cover while the engine was being raised into the tilt position. It was a little game she played to see if she could get you to drop the engine and have to start all over. Never tired of it.

Alden Smith said...

Some may call Pawternity Leave madness but it's nothing compared to American presidential primaries - in fact I am waiting to hear mad Donald promise Pawternity Leave to the American people, along with big walls to keep people out (In China the enemy just walked to the end of The Great Wall Of China and came in that way) mass deportations (Who will do all the real work large numbers of Americans won't do?) Banning Muslim because ipso facto being Muslim equals being a terrorist (Who are competing big time with the 36,000 handgun murders committed by American citizens in the USA every year - yeah right).

Nah, the question of the day isn't about Pawternity Leave, it's this: Do the ordinary decent good folk of the United States of America (The vast, vast majority) have any idea at all how they are viewed internationally at this present point in time? Do they realize that aspects of their national life are making them a complete laughing stock?

Mike K said...

As a fellow kiwi Alden, I would be careful about getting too smug. We are going down the gurgler faster than the USA, but so many of us are just too dumb to realise it.

Alden Smith said...

Mike, smug is the last thing I feel (alarm would be more to the point) and I didn't comment on John Vigor's blog simply as a point scoring exercise. The United States is a powerful and important entity that in the past has been a talisman for the freedom of the individual. I greatly respect that. I also respect the fact that American lives were lost during WW2 at the Battle of the Coral Sea stopping in its tracks Japanese expansion that could have meant an invasion of our fair land. Both Australia and New Zealand breathed a sigh of relief after that battle.

Neither do look at our own situation through rose tinted glasses. There is much in our own social and political scene that requires much needed attention - no question about that at all.

But Donald Trump and the political fiasco that surrounds him is alarming because the free world looks to the USA for some kind of leadership. His unworkable simplistic solutions to complex problems are not what the USA or the world needs in these troubled times.

A solution to what a large number of Americans feel is a betrayal by the political elite in general and the GOP in particular is not to simply vent ones spleen by using some clown as a symbol of discontent. What's required is to elect senators and congressmen/women and a president who is free from the control and patronage of big business lobbyists the National Rifle Association and all the rest of the puerile and pathetic groups who twist and manipulate the electorate for their own selfish and narrow focussed needs.

Change for the good of all requires honesty and courage - it requires looking in a metaphorical full length mirror and that goes for us Kiwis as well as the good folk of the USA.

Mike K said...

Amen to that.
While I am not a Trump fan I don't think he would necessarily be as many believe. I would expect him to be bad for the opposite reason most expect. He is a person used to the reality of making deals and pragmatism so behind the rhetoric I would expect all manner of wheeling and dealing, rather than him taking some sort of no compromise line that leads to WWIII as so many seem to think.
What is needed is leadership based on unshakeable foundations of morality and principle, but such people no longer exist in politics. We live in a societal morass of inconsistency and massive confusion about truth and principle. At least in the USA there are a large (though shrinking) number of people who are concerned about this. They are using Trump not because they want him, but as their protest vote. Here we have very few of these concerned people - we have a population obsessed with nonsense and utterly unable to see truth and the real picture.