Clean Clothes

Cruising life started the way it ended. In Peake’s laundry room. Still, it’s nice to set the mark with clean clothes. And you can learn a lot in a cruiser’s laundry room.

I met a lady who runs a charter-dive boat in the BVI. She was taking our wet knickers out of the washing machine and putting them in the dryer. Me being the dreaded late returner with a queue of people waiting to use the machine. Ouch. I apologised profusely. She was pretty laid back about it.

We got talking. As soon as she told me she lived in the British Virgin Islands, I was all questions. Stalker-alert. I couldn’t help it though! The BVIs had been our favourite Caribbean cruising ground. Then the hurricane hit. Since the initial recovery operation, we’ve been itching to know. Do we go back there this season? Are there still cruiser’s amenities? Washing machines to use?

I got a firm yes back from this nice lady. Good news. Then a kid appeared beside her who we’ve seen wandering around the boat yard. A boy? Hard to tell. Long, curly hair. Unspecific gender-defining facial structure. Hmm. Ten-years old. Looking for other boat kids to hang around with.

Good luck playing with my girls, I thought. Didn’t say it though. This is because Quest’s cruising kids are about as enthusiastic for meeting new kids as they are for a root canal. Especially Lulu. Since she has her new office (the shower room), we barely see her after school – it’s all echoey chat, chat, chat to her friends back home.

And Delph? Delph’s never changed. Bless her. Busy doing other stuff – drawing, dancing, playing, putting small curses on people. Ok, I’m kidding about the last bit… I think. Anyhow, she got sent a bunch of ballet videos from fantastic Miss Hannah yesterday morning, so she’s been plié-ing by the navigation desk.

Poor boat kid. I wonder if they’ll get a look in.

The mum – not the nice dive charter lady – but another lady waiting for the washing machine – well, she breathed competitive cruiser mother. Sorry if we somehow become friends in the coming months. In that case I take it all back. It’s my judgey streak. Even so, I’ve done this long enough to smell out this type of cruiser. Who am I kidding? I’m probably seen as one myself. You know, it’s the mum who does the best boat school, has the most enthusiastically-learning child, never shouts at them. Ok, some of those options I’ll never fulfil.

Don’t be fooled by the hippy facade though. Even if us cruisers are ‘out’ of the system, cliques and expectations run as strongly as in normal life. Maybe they run even stronger – since we don’t have schools and third-parties to verify our children’s development. Result? Overcompensation. Slightly wild-eyed look. Tendency not to listen but to jump into conversation and preach about how many hours we educate our children.

Sound familiar? I mean, I haven’t been out of my pyjamas for three days. Back to the laundry for me.

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