How She Tried to Kill Me (The Second Time)

I maintain that I am not in any way responsible for this incident. Yes, I am irresponsible . . . Wait, that doesn’t sound right . . .

Maybe my boat began to resent all the power tools I’ve used on her, poking her with drills and scratching her with grinders and sanders and all. I believe the boat’s alive and bearing some grudge, because, through no fault of my own, she hurt me again!

First, for all you non-boaters, a quick background description of basic sailboat architecture: to get out of the inside of the boat, you go through what’s called a companionway. It’s an opening from the cabin to the cockpit; half of it is vertical and half of it is horizontal. The vertical opening has 3 hatch boards that slide into vertical slots, and the overhead horizontal cover slides forward. Inside the boat there are just two steps, and then the third step, the top step, is the companionway bottom sill.

I had removed the companionway steps to do some work in that area, so to go outside I had to raise one foot about waist high to the companionway sill, grab the vertical sides, and pull (hard) to lift myself out. Well, while I was below, the sun (obviously a conspirator in this plot) had moved to where it was shining right into my face, so I slid the overhead companionway cover half shut. (You see what’s coming, don’t you?)

A little later, going outside, my overhead peripheral vision obscured by my ball cap, I launched myself up and outward, and the damn boat blocked my way! I fell backwards, sort of zig-zagged on weak knees, and crumpled onto the cabin sole. Yes, I bumped and cut my head, but the real pain was in my neck – I could feel 3, maybe 4 distinct pains, probably squished disks in my neck vertebrae. For a few minutes the only thought that came to mind was, “TA-DAA!”

Imagine standing sideways in a doorway, grabbing both sides of the doorjamb trim, and quickly, forcefully, pulling the top of your head against the doorjamb! That’s pretty much what I was tricked into doing by my supposedly inanimate boat! Clever but devious gal, isn’t she?

I learned my lesson, though. I quit wearing ball caps because they obscure my overhead vision. It wasn’t so much a decision as a gut-felt aversion: whenever I reached for a ball cap I felt a little tingling in my neck. Ya, all my education and I still function on the level of Pavlov’s dogs . . . On the boat, instead of ball caps, I’ve taken to wearing do-rags. Not only do they protect my bald head from sunburn, they do a better job at keeping sweat out of my eyes, and they’re easier to wash. If you, too, are a boater, you may want to start wearing the do-rags / skull caps BEFORE your boat tricks you into doing some damage to your cabeza.