She’s 8 or 9. Standing atop a giant cleat once used for docking giant ships (but now used as a bollard to keep cars from driving onto the boardwalk), she strikes a series of poses. Clearly, the recent Olympic gymnastics competition is her inspiration. Her somewhat self-conscious pre-teen sister watches her from a distance, but then busts out in an exaggerated laugh meant to insult—as sibling rivalry is always want to do—when little sister realizes there’s a large restaurant full of people watching her Go For The Gold. Mom and Dad, slowly sauntering along behind them, catch up, and Mom has a few casual, but clearly choice words for her eldest. Eldest dips her chin to her chest, youngest jumps off the giant cleat and trots over to her sister, tagging her on the arm, and then skips over to the public moorage dock. Big Sis follows, peers over the boardwalk edge at the moorage float, and then, without ceremony, jumps the 10 or so feet down onto it. She flatly regards her sister in an explicit dare to follow suit. Mom and Dad have paced them by 30 feet onto the boardwalk when Dad turns his head and barks. The girls scramble back onto the boardwalk and jog to catch up with their parents. The youngest sticks her landing just in front of them with a gymnast’s up-raised arms and swayed back.
A brightly painted skiff that looks like a floating urban graffiti mural motors up to the public float. Three distinctly anti-establishment hipster looking 40-somethings dock, disembark and head straight for the brew-n-fish-n-chips place. A Grand Banks (or its like) follows them and considerately ties up a couple of boat lengths behind, leaving room for the suburban ski boat that follows. That boat’s “skipper” and “crew” are nowhere as easy with a water vessel as they ought to be. They circle and maneuver several times, punching the throttle to whip around, trying to figure out how to “park” the boat between the skiff and the Banks. A man who obviously works one of the nearby fishing vessels watches their over-wrought effort with what I am sure is morbid fascination (it took 6 people five or so minutes to dock a 25-ish foot ski boat).
He’s tough. Full grown long long whiskers, long long hair. Shabby shirt and shorts and tats everywhere but his face. She’s butch. Short cropped bright blonde hair, shabby shirt and shorts and a few tats here and there. They walk along the boardwalk hand-in-hand, swinging their arms and giggling like a couple of kids in love, which clearly, they most certainly are.
20-foot mini cigarette/ski boat casually circles and circles. Two women, both comfortable on the water in a boat, are aboard. I think they’re trying to figure out how to tie up between the skiff and the other ski boat when a small inflatable outfitted with two small captain’s chairs with an elderly couple seated in each motors out from the stern of the Grand Banks. Hand waves and a few words, and then the women in the ski boat neatly tuck in behind the GB, jump out, line here, line there, done and done. I clock 17 seconds.