by Christine Kling
I’m settling down to write this in the guest cabin of my friends’ Mainship 390 tied to the fuel dock in Vero Beach Marina. This is a new-to-them boat they recently purchased up in Jacksonville, Florida, and they asked me to ride along with them on the trip to bring it back from Jacksonville to Fort Lauderdale.
I knew very well that I would be trying to do this while I was in the middle of a very tight editing schedule on Dragon’s Triangle, but I figured since I’ve managed to do that sort of thing on my own boat without problem, I should be able to do it on my friend’s boat just as easily.
I should have known better. When you take your tech for granted, that’s when the gremlins will rear their ugly heads. And I must admit, I’ve been struggling.
First off, I admit it, I am addicted to being wired. Seriously. When my brain can no longer access Google at the touch of a key, I have a difficult time getting any writing work done. Apple sold us on the idea of “Think different” but thanks to technology, I really do. If I write that a man walks into a room, I search the Power Thesaurus for another word for walk. I want to describe the room, so I look up real-estate in that neighborhood. If I say he was holding a crossbow, I hit the web and write that he was carrying a Barnett Ghost 350. I don’t retain this information – only just long enough to type it onto the page.
So here’s what happened to me in the last couple of days. First, the captain said we would communicate with one another via cell phone since it’s difficult to hear much up on the top bridge. So I started keeping my iPhone in my pocket. The next thing I knew, all of the 1915 contacts on my phone had been erased. I can no longer phone, text or email anyone from my phone. Already I feel like an invalid. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice it and my phone backed itself up to the cloud after this happened, so I can’t just restore from the back-up. Simply synching the phone to the computer hasn’t worked. I’ve already spent a couple of hours trying to figure out how to get my contacts back without having to restore the phone to factory settings, and it’s not working. On the one day when I want to call family and friends and wish them a happy Thanksgiving, I don’t have any numbers in my phone. And really, who memorizes phone numbers anymore?
Then I discovered that this boat has no inverter. I had thought it would so I didn’t bring the 12V plug for my laptop. My editor does all the work using Word’s track changes, meaning I have to open the file in Microsoft Word. I cannot really do it on the iPad. And the battery on my computer is a couple of years old and it’s not what it used to be. After a few hours of work, it’s near dead.
But it’s not just my laptop that causing me power problems. Because we don’t often have access to an open wireless network, I am accessing the Internet by using my phone as an Internet hot spot (and burning through all my Mobile Share data in the process). When in hot spot mode, the phone really uses up the battery. I keep the phone plugged into the computer so that it will remain charged and that doubles the draw on the computer’s battery and within about 3.5 hours, it is dangerously low.
So while I may not be getting the book done or staying caught up on emails or all the business side of being an author, (apologies to my cover designer and others who haven’t heard from me in days), I am having a heck of a good time on this trip. I love the ICW and the view from up on the bridge is fantastic! This morning out on the mooring field at Titusville Marina, we watched the sun rise up over the bridge. We’ve seen dozens of dolphins, whole pods of manatees and many a frozen bird fishing in the shallows. It’s really difficult to sit below with my face in front of a screen when I have such great views and wonderful company.
Last night in Titusville the temperature got down to 43 degrees! We had no heat on the boat and nights are my usual time to write. Instead, I unpacked my suitcase and piled all the clothes on top of the quilt on my bunk. I crawled in and shivered. It was a three-dog night and I sure missed the Yorkshire Terror.
During these past few days in the company of friends, I have learned something else about myself. I have grown so accustomed to working all day on my computer in solitude, I’d forgotten how much time it takes to be with other people. As a single hander and single person, I’ve really been enjoying all the conversations and camaraderie, but in the back of my mind, I’m worrying because I know the work is piling up.
So tonight for Thanksgiving dinner we hiked out of the marina and went to a fun restaurant here in Vero called Mulligan’s. After a few cold beers, I returned to the boat and now the major technical problem concerns the way the alcohol has corrupted the wire connecting my brain to my fingers. In spite of all these troubles, I know that what really matters on Thanksgiving is something I carry inside of me. I’m like Dorothy in Oz who is astonished to learn that she only has to click the heels of her shoes to make her dreams come true. I have only to look around me and really see what’s really important in my life to feel the true joy of Thanksgiving.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
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