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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Tommy Used to Work on the Docks

One dream one soul one prize one goal
One golden glance of what should be
It's a kind of magic

I was a bit saddened to learn about that boat that exploded at the St. Paul Yacht Club last week. From what I read this 30-something foot craft exploded after it left the gas dock. Who knows what happened because you’d figure any owner of that size craft would know enough to throw the blower on but who knows. From what I hear something went amiss with the generator.

I used to be the gas dock manager on that same dock for 5 years before I decided to do something else. At that time the gas dock was just upstream of the Wabasha bridge and I had probably the most fantastic view of St. Paul anyone could have. Working the summer weekends, I’ve seen many different boaters, boats, and learned a ton in the process. Actually this is probably where I learned to be anything even near an extrovert. After all I remembered my first summer there, when I lied about my age just to get the job, the dock master told me that I had to greet the customers.

I actually had to talk to people which was a bit scary to me. I was still in my low self esteem era and the thought of actually acknowledging people was kind of overwhelming. As a result I met tons of great people and it was a great summer job. I thought I’d share some anecdotes of my time at the yacht club.

-I remember we had this pump-out system which was basically a very powerful vacuum used to suck all the sewage out of boats. I started pumping out boats simply because I knew how to do it and I didn’t want shit all over the gas dock. After my boss told me I didn’t have to do this anymore I would warn all the boaters about how the system works--put the head over the pumpout opening, keep the valve closed, hold tight with your legs and hands, slowly open the valve. I would have way too many boaters simply lay the hose down and flip the valve wide open. As a result, the boater would have the whole side of his boat full of sewage, his whole body full of sewage, and be really pissed off.

This one guy actually listened to me and wanted me to open the valve while my friend Raymond held on tight.

Boof: No way man, you do it.
Boater: Please, I need help.
Boof: no way
Boater: I’ll give you a tip.
Boof: Well, alright.

I slowly flipped the valve open when a little stream of sewage went right at my face.

The guy gave me AND RAYMOND a dollar.

A whole dollar.

-I remember watching in horror at these kids actually swimming in the river on the public dock. They eventually came over to buy ice.

Kid: Hey, is there a good place to swim around here?
Boof: you mean in the river?
Kid: yeah.
Boof: You mean this river? The Mississippi River?
Kid: yeah.
Boof: This is one of the dirtiest rivers in the world!

-I remember the flood of ‘97 when if the water was to rise another 15 inches, the docks would’ve been lost. Oh that current was terrible too. Boaters had to use a boat just to get to the docks.

-We had the sheriff stop over all the time to fuel up. I got to know the guy pretty well throughout the years and one year he had someone shadowing him. I was talking to the guy while fueling up his boat as I was messing around with the water spigot on the side of the dock. I accidentally turned the valve on and got the sheriff all wet.

He was pretty pissed but it was too damn funny.

- One summer day I came to the gas dock from the garage while Raymond worked the dock. I walked in and there was this woman with an unbelievable body wearing a bright orange thong clad bikini. It may amaze people to know that good looking women were not as abundant as one might think because, while there was some bikinis, the average age underneath those bikinis was about 60.

I basically was blown away by this hot ass in front of me. Raymond was on the other side of this ass and he just gave me this “holy shit, can you fuckin believe this shit?” look on his face. It was unbelievable.

-That was actually much different than the usual woman with the bikini who would come around. She thought she was the cat’s ass but she was annoying and prunes shouldn’t be wearing bikinis.

-Another time a small 24 foot runabout came in towed. In it was a couple guys and this unbelievable looking woman who was the fiancĂ© of the owner of the boat. The guy couldn’t get his boat started and would just berate this woman.

“God you’re such a stupid fucking bitch.”
“Just shut up because you don’t know shit.”

And I was expecting this woman to kick his ass because it was just uncalled for but this woman was trying to help.
Woman: “Well perhaps it’s flooded and we just need to give it 15 minutes.”
Guy: What the hell do you know about this? Stupid Bitch, just sit down and shut up!
Woman: I’m telling you, just give it some time.
Guy: ALRIGHT, FINE. We’ll just listen to you, how about that. ‘It’s probably flooded’. Jesus Christ.

And the woman was very dignified and never gave into the guy.
They waited 15 minutes

Guy: Alright lets give it a try because it’s going to magically work now.

Boat starts right up. I gave the woman a little elbow and a grin and she just shook her head.

-Fueling up this houseboat ready for a evening jaunt there were about 15 people on board when one woman screamed,
“OH MY GOD, ED!!!!”

The stove inside was on fire. Ed quickly took the heavy sized camping stove and chucked the thing in the water.
“There, problem solved.” said Ed, and I continued fueling up the boat.

That’s what I remember right now but it was a damn good job.

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