Saturday, December 17, 2011

It's the Moments

Out on the waters of Newport tonight, I chased the Christmas Boat Parade around on my gondola "the Phoenix" with a fun couple who had seen the parade numerous times, but never from a gondola.
One of them was a writer, who asked me many questions about the parade,
the gondolas, John Scarpa, and such.

Then she asked me what it was about gondolas that kept me coming back.
Not an easy question to answer...
because there are so many things that I love
                      about what we do and the boats we operate.

I told her about how I loved being out on the water,
about how I grew up in a Boy Scout troop, and being outside in the elements is a natural fit for me.
I didn't mention my love for all the "fitness aspects" of rowing a gondola,
but they are many, and every time I row I appreciate the athletic benefits.
"Being the captain of my own boat" should have been mentioned. I think every gondolier likes that (along with the escape appeal).
What I landed on, was a more visceral, or shall I say "heart related" reason:
Perfect moments.

I love the boats - and they are amazing.
Really, there's nothing like a shiny, gleaming, black gondola.
The complex curves and unique design features make them unlike any other vessel.

But at the end of the day I don't sit in my chair,
sipping red wine, reflecting on the day, and say
"Today I rowed a beautiful boat".

No, it's "Today I witnessed a proposal",
or "My passengers saw a perfect sunset".
"A marriage was saved on my cruise",
or "I know my couple will never forget their cruise".

At the end of the day, my fellow gondoliers,
We provide our clients with perfect moments.

Our job is a funny one:
We row a boat!
In this super-ridiculously high-tech world, we row a boat.
The most technical thing on the boat is a cell phone in the gondolier's pocket.  Most of what we do is as it was two-hundred years ago...and people love it.
We love it.
As I sing a song for my passengers, row the gondola, and breathe in the ocean air of the Pacific, I'm doing the same thing John Scarpa did a hundred years ago here in Newport when he started this crazy boat parade ritual.
And I must say,
That there's nothing I'd rather be doing.

Others measure our lives by years,
but when we look back,
When our lives flash before us,
It's the perfect moments that we'll savor.

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