Most things built for some specific purpose look appropriate when doing that purpose, even if they look awkward and unwieldy in another setting. For instance, a big airplane. How sleek it looks when cutting through the sky, how nimble, how purposeful. Or a slalom ski in action, cutting and slicing, tethered to the users’ foot, effortlessly accomplishing whatever a shift in weight commands it to.
But if the plane was on Geneva Street right now, what a mess it would be. How would we turn it into the gas station for fuel, and how would we maneuver it down to Harpoon’s for lunch? It would be a mess of clipped trees and confrontations with cars. People would gather and some would remark, why is this plane here and now what are we to do with it? The ski, so graceful when directed by the skier, so out of place when that skier tries to wear it into Starbucks for his morning coffee.
This morning, I was minding my own business. It’s Monday today, which is meaningful for most people but insignificant for most Realtors. It’s just another day, indistinguishable from the others. I prepared for my day as I have for every day since that day in October when my new espresso machine was delivered by the friendly UPS person. The coffee this morning was good, as is its way, and the kids behaved and my wife wasn’t mad at me anymore and so things were as I wished them to be. My driveway was icy, the humidity from Sunday clinging in its frozen, glittering form to anything that would let it. It was another beautiful winter morning, the sky washed pastel, soft and calm.
The truck rumbled towards me from the East, bouncing down that bumpy rural road with quick intent. It was heading somewhere to the West, but how far to that direction I could not know. The truck was nice, big, shiny, looking as though the owner was concerned about it and washed it with some routine in this winter to rid it of salt and sand. Behind the shine I could see something following, something close, something blue and wrapped tight. But what could it be? A delivery of some sort? Secret and classified maybe, heading somewhere important where people with clearance would unwrap it and stand back and say with satisfaction, that’s it.
But it wasn’t anything important at all, because under the blue plastic wrap protruded three aluminum cylinders, each pounded and smoothed to a rising bow. The blue wrap tattered towards the stern, flapping in the wind, revealing what I already, by then, knew. It was a pontoon boat.
While the plane slices through the air with nearly unbelievable grace yet stumbles on a village road, and the ski carves the water with ease yet scrapes and clacks down a city sidewalk, the pontoon lumbers through the water just as it lumbers down a town road. I was feeling fine this morning, feeling optimistic and fair. Feeling as though winter, in this new month, was nothing to fear, and that its grip was already loosening. I was feeling primed for a new day, a new week, a new month. And then I saw the pontoon boat and thought that maybe February isn’t so great after all. If I can’t avoid a pontoon boat in the country during the dead of a rural winter, how can I expect avoid them on a lakeside summer afternoon?