October 16, 2020 – Have you ever met my brother ‘Turtle’?

If you’ve ever met my brother, you would remember. I assure you. I’m going to call him ‘Turtle’ because that’s probably the most accurate way to describe him. He walks slow, he talks slow, he eats slow, he drives slow. If he ever did anything fast, I might mistake him for somebody else. And not only does my brother do most things unnervingly slow, he also loves the water, much like a turtle. He loves to swim and be near the water as often as possible. He even lives on the water (on a small sailboat). So in this case, I believe Turtle is the most fitting thing to call him.

Well, I have more than a few stories to share but I have to keep things to a reasonable length so I’ll just stick to one story (for now) about ‘misadventures’ I’ve had with Turtle. The story I’d like to share today is about the time my husband and I joined him on a little ‘nautical excursion’. We were out visiting family in the city where I was born and raised (which is where my brother also lives). Because he is very fond of sailing, he loves to ‘treat’ folks by taking them out for a sail every chance he can get. Of course, when he knew we were coming to town, he immediately contacted us and asked if we’d be interested in ‘going out on the water’ for a bit. And before I continue, I must again remind you that my brother is s-l-o-w. I think the Buddhist monks could use him to break in the new recruits because patience is one of their many teachings and practices and if the new kids in the temple didn’t have patience before, they would after meeting him!

Needless to say, the agreed upon day arrived and my husband and I drove down to the pier where my brother had his boat moored. It’s around 1:00 in the afternoon. My brother noticed us right away, greeted us, and guided us down to his boat. It’s quite a pleasant day, the sun was shining and there’s a slight breeze blowing. We climbed onto the boat and after some conversation (which means he talked, we listened), my brother started the engine (to help us get out into the open water) and away we went. Huh? “This is interesting,” I remember thinking to myself. “How come the jellyfish appear to be moving faster than us?” Because they were!! So, yes, ever-so-slowly we made our way over to the open water so he could unfurl the sails and really give us the ‘total sailing experience’. Wonderful. Great. How long is this going to take? In my mind, when we agreed to go, I thought we’d be out for maybe 3-4 hours TOPS. It didn’t quite work out that way.

First, we had to go where Turtle assured us wouldn’t take but a half hour to reach, a shop that had the ‘best’ ice cream cones in town! By car, it would only take maybe 10 minutes to reach, but by boat you have to factor in wind and current and all of that good stuff, so I understand that it’s difficult to come up with a precise time unless you’re working with a team of scientists that can make exacting calculations. Well, it didn’t take 30 minutes. Are you surprised? You shouldn’t be, because I warned you. It took TWO HOURS to reach our destination. Two hours that my brother spent talking nonstop. I literally could have walked there faster!! Once we arrived, there was a ‘situation’. There was nowhere to ‘park’ the boat. All the slips were filled! Hmmm…what to do? “Well,” my brother piped up, “How about we pull up alongside this dock and I’ll run and grab the ice cream? It shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes. I’ll be right back!” he assured us. “Uh….ok?” I nodded in agreement. Off the boat he hopped and headed toward the ice cream shop.

Once I got my ‘bearings’, I looked around and noticed we’d ‘illegally parked’ in an assigned slip for a very large, commercial, sailing vessel that just happened to be out on a guided tour but could return at any minute. What the heck was I supposed to do if it came back before my brother returned? I’d never operated a sailboat before. My husband and I waited anxiously for Turtle who returned about 25 minutes later, melted cone in hand. Whew! Crisis averted!! But our adventure was not quite over. The next thing you now, a couple sprinted past. They’d had tickets to take the tour on the commercial sailboat, but arrived late and missed it. Taking pity upon them, my brother offered to take them out for a ‘quick sail’. They shot him down. No, of course, they didn’t shoot him down! They readily agreed! What?! Are you kidding me??!! Two hours later, we returned to the slip (where we originally picked up the harried couple) and dropped them off.

I was starting to get a bit upset. I was hungry and tired of listening to my brother drone on and on and I just wanted to get home and have a nice meal and put my feet up. It had now been at least 4 hours since we started our ‘misadventure’ and we still hadn’t yet returned to our starting point. “Shouldn’t be long,” my brother assured us. So now I ask you. Was it wrong to expect to return in approximately the same amount of time it took to get us there? Apparently, it was. Another 4 hours later, there we were, out on the murky waters in the pitch dark. The sun had already set and the moon was now well overhead when I finally spied lights from the shore! I had never been so relieved to see ‘dry land’ in all of my life.

By the way, did I mention that my brother talked (and we listened) the entire time? Just thought I’d better mention it just in case you didn’t hear me the first and second time I brought it up. Anyway, when I saw those bright, beautiful lights off in the distance, I nearly jumped overboard. I was D-O-N-E. What on earth was I thinking? I should have known better!! Anything that involves this particular brother never goes as planned. It’s kind of like when you plan to remodel a room. It always takes AT LEAST twice as long to finish and costs twice as much money than you ever expected or planned for.

Oh my goodness, I’ve been going on and on and lost track of time (speaking of). I’d better wrap this up. Long story short, when we finally reached the shore, we bolted for our car as if our lives depended on it and got the heck out of there as fast as we could and never looked back! Haha! No, we didn’t. We actually had dinner with my brother and spent another 2 hours together, and then we got the heck out of there. He still managed to talk nonstop throughout the meal but I could no longer comprehend what he was saying. My brain was saturated by that point. I just watched his lips move and nodded on occasion.

What did I learn from this experience? Never ever accept an offer to go sailing with Turtle again. I know, “Never say never.” But I’m telling you, it’s not going to happen again. I might be a glutton for punishment, but that whole experience (which lasted nearly 10 hours) bordered on torture. I’d rather listen to ‘Baby Shark’ on repeat for 5 hours than agree to step foot on that sailboat again! Thanks, but no thanks!! I’ve got better things to do with my time.

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