Don’t Bite the Hook

Feelings can be so intense. This morning I was supposed to take my son fishing on a charter out of Menemsha harbor. I woke at 6:30, made coffee, prepared lunch and snacks, and got him up for the adventure. We walked down to the appointed meeting point, the Menemsha Texaco, arriving at 7:50. Plenty of time to grab an extra snack and a T shirt for the boy who was wearing a sweatshirt with nothing underneath in August. Plenty of time to catch the boat.

My wife had made the arrangements and we’d been told to meet at the Texaco. As the clock neared 8:00, the time to shove off, I started to wonder where everyone was, when the owner of the boat was going to show up. I knew that I should have started asking questions but my social anxiety got the better of me.

They will show up I kept thinking. It’s island time. No big deal. Until I saw the boat pulling away and said, “we just missed our boat.” That’s when the woman who organizes the trips emerged from behind the Texaco and said, “I’m sorry, we were waiting for you.”

I couldn’t believe it. She didn’t have a cell phone to call the captain. Apparently he didn’t have one either because when I offered mine she didn’t respond. A friendly man, said he’d radio the boat but the news was not good. The captain wasn’t coming back. The woman said, “we’re just getting started, how could I have avoided this?” I suggested that perhaps a sign, clearer directions to the boat beyond meet at the Texaco, and perhaps making a call out that the boat was leaving might be helpful.

Mr. Grey and I started walking home. And then the feelings hit.

Failure. Shitty father. Idiot. Dumbass. You fuck everything up. You let down the ones you love the most.

The same feelings that I used to have when I was drinking. Only now there isn’t anything to numb the pain. No escape hatch. Just have to sit with them.

My son is more forgiving than I am. He asked me to take him fishing when we get home. And I will. And still, I have a hard time forgiving myself.

I know that in the grand scheme of things missing a fishing charter is nothing compared to being the drunk dad that I once was, destined to die early in life. And yet, I still feel like I failed today.

I’m going to try to shake this off. I’m going to offer myself metta — loving kindness. I’m going to do my best to let go of this. As Pema Chödrön says, “don’t bite the hook.”

The Plan that Wasn’t a Plan

What a difference time makes! Two years ago, I sat on this same ferry and typed out a post about the ferry that wasn’t a ferry and how much I’d wanted to drink that day. While that trip turned out amazing, and I didn’t drink despite that misadventure, it wasn’t an easy time. So much has changed for the better in the last two years.

Our trip to Martha’s Vineyard just wouldn’t be complete without some sort of mishap with the ferry. When we made the decision to return to the island last spring, we eagerly booked our hotel without confirming the ferry for the day we’d arrive in advance. A rookie mistake, despite not being rookies. We found that there were no slots available on the actual day we’d planned to check in — so we booked for a day earlier and requested to be waitlisted for Saturday.

Now, I’m a nervous guy and despite being a fairly seasoned traveler, I get uncomfortable when the plan is not a plan. Winging it is not in my nature. So I stressed. I worried about what we would do if that Saturday reservation didn’t come through.

And then we got a call a few weeks before with a message of good news. There was a better ferry available. My heart leapt and then I heard that it was a better time but still on Friday. We’d never been waitlisted for Saturday. So we requested that again. But I knew that the chances were slim.

Luckily, we were able to make arrangements to arrive a day early with the hotel, and so that meant that all we needed to do was get 454 miles from home to Woods Hole by 11:00AM on a Friday. Clearly we’d need to leave on Thursday or get up around 1:00AM for a 9 hour drive. We opted for leaving after work with a goal of getting to Providence, RI.

Mrs. TKD gets home around 3:00 and I was able to arrange my meeting schedule so that we could leave as soon as she got home. Now leaving the greater Annapolis area around 3:00 is not without risk. Leaving at that time and heading up I 95 means that you risk traffic in Baltimore, around Newark, DE, any place along the he’ll known as the NJ Turnpike, NYC and the mess that is caused by everyone leaving big for Connecticut. That’s roughly five places where you can get seriously hung up and have a trip get delayed by an hour or more.

We lucked out. Probably because it was Thursday, we didn’t hit any serious traffic until we got to NYC and even that want too bad. We got across the George Washington bridge and decided to stop for dinner in Larchmont, figuring that the CT mess would clear up by the time we got back in the road. All this time we didn’t have a hotel reservation. We had a loose plan that wasn’t a plan. At dinner I made a reservation in Providence.

And then we got back on the road to find that there seemed to be construction every two miles throughout Connecticut. We arrived in Providence around midnight and I struggled to fall to sleep knowing that we needed to leave by 9:00 to make our 11:00 ferry.

If this had been my adventure two years ago, I’d have been in knots. I’d have certainly been thinking about a drink. But today, that thought barely registers. What I really want is some lunch, a good cup of coffee, and a nap.

And then maybe I’ll go for a run after the nap.

Yes, we do recover. Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, the promises will always materialize if we work for them.