Given my absolute fear of the ocean and dislike of water in general it is surprising to me just how totally in love I am with boats, or more specifically, boat imagery, history, and mechanics. I get seasick on them, avoid going on them as much as possible (which, thankfully, is very possible), and have no family history with them.
And yet. How totally stunningly beautiful they are. They are objects that by mere context (floating in vast bodies of water) become instant metaphors for (as well as literal representations of) human perseverance and ingenuity. They make being in an environment that would otherwise kill you possible. I just can't stop marveling at them.
Reading In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick is what got me started. I promptly read every book on whaling I could find, excluding Moby Dick, which I have no good reason for not reading except that the two copies we own are like sacred pets to Matthew and I am known to break spines. Book spines. Not pet spines. I love pet spines. And whaling books, what few there are.
After I read about whaling I moved on to pirating history, named my cafe after a lady pirate, commissioned my friend Stevie to paint this boat, and started collecting, very selectively, interesting boat stuff. I'm super picky about my boat stuff; If I'm gonna buy something it's gotta be something I've never seen before, which is actually a hard thing to find. Knots, buoys, and Salvation Army boat-on-the-horizon prints are everywhere. So when I was at the Alameda Flea this month I stopped dead in my tracks when my eyeballs took this beauty in, I mean, WHA?
I picked it up and pretended not to care and nonchalantly asked, "How much?" fully prepared to pay up to $50. "$10? It's not signed." "Cool." I handed the man $10, put it in my bag and calmly strolled away while quietly dying inside. Seriously, it felt like my organs were melting. Or like when I found this basket. As soon as I rounded the corner I took it out and gazed at it with all of my affection and more. It's painted on a thin piece of wood, is just about the perfect color palette, and clearly never got finished. Is there anything better than a good boat painting? Well, maybe a good boat painting half finished. I didn't buy anything else that day because sometimes when you find the perfect thing you don't need more things. Just that one perfect thing.