Afloat

Saturday, December 13th 9:10am

“God damn it!” I scream loudly, to no one in particular.

I’m on all fours, using a moldy cooking pot to scoop water out of my boat and over the side, crouched beneath two halves of a tarp (ripped in half by the heavy winds)that I’ve tied together with pieces of scavenged rope to provide some makeshift cover. I am completely soaked.

I arrived back in the Bay Area this week to find the inside of my boat completely damp and most of my belongings covered in mold. After a day fuming and feeling sorry for myself, I dedicated a day to trucking my destroyed things to the dumpster, laundering the things I felt could be saved, and scrubbing the walls with bleach. Finally, the boat felt comfortable again.

Then this fucking storm hit.

For two days it has been pouring down rain. I scavenged a couple tarps from the dumpsters (and one from an abandoned boat down the dock from me) and used bits of rope to secure them. It was nowhere near enough. When I got back to the boat today the back porch area was full of water that for some reason refuses to flow out through the drains, and my floor was covered in water. My books and clothes are soaked, though somehow miraculously my bed is only sorta damp.

So it was that I found myself desperately bailing water over the side of the boat, trying to at least keep the water from rising enough to spill over into the cabin.

It was clear I was going to be late to work.

After months of hitchhiking, I’m pretty used to having tenuous sleeping arrangements. But somehow it’s much different being in a place I think of as home and still stressing about where I can spend a warm, dry night.

So now life involves packing a backpack with a toothbrush and my bandana and goggles (to ward off tear gas being used against protestors by the hella militarized police) and heading back to the boat every couple days to make sure it’s still floating. Now at least the bed is dry, so sleeping there is an option.

I just have to wade through an inch of water to get to bed. Could be way worse.

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