Saturday, June 13, 2015

5 x 5 = 25 Part Four

In this fourthedition of "5 x 5 = 25", celebrating 2,500 posts
on the Gondola Blog, I offer some more observations - based on
my experiences in this business and in hosting this blog.
Feel free to give me an "amen" or tell me if I got something terribly wrong.

It's not the big things that will kill your boat, 
it's the little things...
...things that work slowly.

Oh sure, a great big giant whale could breach over the deck of your gondola, and that would destroy your boat in an instant, but it's more likely that a bunch of tiny little worms will sneak in and slowly weaken the wood,
or microscopic dry-rot mold spores will bring your boat to a gradual
but definite end.

Shopvacs are a must
Pound for pound, a shopvac may be one of the best investments you can make.
- You can use it in your day-to-day boat cleanup - taking care of dust,
rose petals, food scraps, and whatever else needs to be cleaned up.
- It's a wet/dry vac, so if your bilge pump fails,
or you don't have a bilge       pump (because you're a purist), no problem.
Just slurp that water up with an awesomely loud power tool.
- After sanding to paint, you can clean up much of the dust you've just made.
- But then if you've got the right kind of sander, with the proper attachment, there shouldn't be much dust...because you can hook that vacuum directly to your sander!
- Afterwards, you can take that machine home and detail the interior of your car (or score points with your wife by cleaning her car).
- Hit the workshop area of your garage and square away all that sawdust.
- Move the hose over to the other port and use it as a leaf blower.
- Amuse your kids and scare the crap out of your cat while you're at it.
- Reattach the hose to the vacuum port and score more points with the wife by getting rid of spiders around the house.
- Then go after the worst mess your kids can dish out with that giant cleaning hose: applesauce, broken crayons, those dang sharp-cornered Legos in the carpet...gone!

Don't drive like a jerk
on your way to your first cruise
...and for that matter, don't be obnoxious while dressed as a gondolier.

You never know who that guy is in front of you - you know,
the one who's driving like a slow idiot,
looking at all the signs and acting like he's not from the area.

He could just be a slow idiot,
who likes to look at signs,
and isn't from the area.

OR...He might be your client!

He's driving slow and looking at all the signs because he's trying to find your business.  He's acting like he's not from the area...because he isn't! And he came all the way from the other side of town just to cruise on your gondola.
Heck, it could be that he came from Wisconsin, stayed in a nice hotel,
rented a car (that he doesn't quite know how to drive),
and is looking to pop the question on your boat.
Cut him off, honk at him, or wave a finger (your choice as to which finger),
and you might be in for some giant-sized regret.
Even if you make a habit of being an obnoxious sociopath behind the wheel,
practice some restraint as you get closer to the docks (even if you're late).
If you're running around town in stripes, practice the same caution.
You may be the only gondolier from the company someone meets.
If you make an ass of yourself by yelling at the girl behind the counter
at the bank, there will be a whole room full of people with a
negative opinion of gondoliers.
But then most gondoliers I know would never do such a thing.

The wind is always waiting for someone to "play" with.
If you're a gondolier, the wind is not your friend.
Sure, everyone likes a nice soft breeze, or a tailwind on a long one-way row,
but otherwise, the wind is something you need to deal with.

Sailors may have a warm and meaningful relationship with "La Venta",
but my affairs with her have nearly always been dysfunctional,
codependent, or downright abusive.

When I was just coming into my own as a rower,
I used to return home and proclaim to my family that I had "beat the wind".
Since then I've come to realize that it's foolish to assume such a thing.
Whether you're out there or not, the wind is waiting for you.
Sure, sometimes it's an easy and polite encounter,
sometimes it's not.

These days, after a challenging row in the wind,
I'm more likely to say that "I waited for the right moment, crept into the ring, and sucker-punched the wind, escaping quickly afterwards".

You need to learn to read the wind,
spot the weak points,
and choose a route that you can follow with the least amount of fight.

Even so, the wind will always be there.

Marriage proposals really never get old
No matter how long you do this job, some things just never get old.

At the top of that list:
Sunsets, fresh air, good tips from happy passengers, and proposals.
It's been said that the gondolier is the "ultimate wingman" - assisting
gentlemen in all sorts of romantic endeavors - the most noble of which 
being the marriage proposal.

There's a fair amount of vulnerability involved.
The guy's about to ask what may be the biggest question of his life.
He's understandably nervous.
It's got to be great.
It's got to be perfect.
Oh, and she's got to say "yes", of course.

If you've ever found yourself in the hands of a doctor or paramedic,
and realize afterwards that they saved your life, well, that's kind of how
some of the guys act after it all unfolds and we return to dock.
It's a big responsibility to facilitate such a big event,
a huge honor to be part of it,
and it really never gets old.

Thanks for reading, dear friends.
The next installment is forthcoming.


Tam√°s said...

Hello Greg,

> Reattach the hose to the vacuum port and score more points with the wife by getting rid of spiders around the house.

Although I'm totally scared of spiders, let me mention: in Europe some people are superstitious about evicting any spiders from homes, because their spontaneous escape supposedly forecasts an incoming earthquake. I wonder if this belief is not held in California?

Gondola Greg said...

Interesting superstition.
No, we aren't worried about creating earthquakes by shopvacking spiders.
If that were the case, there would have been a whole lot of earthquakes beneath my house by now!