I’d be lying if I said Bainbridge Island was the most exciting place in the world. But today on the ferry coming here something sort of exciting did happen.
We were about halfway across Puget Sound, cruising along as normal. I was lying down in one of the booths thinking about my life and the clouds and the state of the world. I didn’t have a book with me to read, or a pen with me to write, so the only think I could do was lie there and think my thoughts. Which in a way was ideal.
All of the sudden the boat lurched northward and we began making a 90 degree turn. I had no idea what was going on. Had we forgotten someone? Did the captain accidentally lean on the steering wheel? In my 22 years of riding the ferry this had never happened. I wondered if maybe we were going to sail to Canada, and a substantial part of me welcomed the thought. Or maybe we would head through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and out to sea, all of us on the boat forming a small sea colony in the middle of the ocean. We’d elect a leader and hold counsels. I would run for president and propose our little floating country be called “Gingembre” (French for “Ginger”) after the pup I missed so.
The captain came on over the loudspeaker.
“Folks, the Coast Guard has asked us to investigate a craft back behind us in the water. See if there’s anyone in or around it. So we’ll be doing that. Shouldn’t take long.”
Behind us I could see the craft he spoke of in the water. It was bobbing there and looking decrepit. It also looked lonely. I wondered if there could be anyone in it, but it appeared to be empty. People started making their way to the part of the boat where they could see what the captain was talking about.
As we made the wide turn the collective imagination of the ferry boat began to run wild. Was there someone in the boat? Was this a murder mystery? Were we about to see a body?
As we pulled up alongside the small craft people clamored to the side to try to look inside. I was probably one of the first to see it. Water, black, sloshing inside. This boat was adrift. It was decrepit, just as it looked. There was no one inside.
Then we were right next to it, and it slid by beneath us. We all looked inside. Was that an old crab pot? I think some of us were disappointed there wasn’t a body inside. That would be the stuff that novels are made of, but not the stuff that happens in real life. In real life it’s just a boat without passengers, made to look like it’s moored in the middle of the sea because of a bow line held stiff by the current.
Soon the boat was gone, and I went back downstairs to lie down. Then we docked, and I made my way up the gangway to the street, where I’d begin the walk to my parents’ house. Again my mind began to wander, as it usually does when I don’t have something to distract me.