Ppeople dream about living where I do. Living in the congestion of the cities they hope to attain what I and my family have worked hard for. I live less than a mile from the ocean with its long white sands, the air is always freshened by the sea’s breeze.

The concept of a crime wave consists of someone letting their dogs off their leashes or a teenager forgetting they had to get a license before they started to drive. I live in a particularly wonderful neighborhood. Everyone gets along with everyone else or at least leaves them alone. The lawns are well kept and one has to look hard for that discarded can or flying newspaper. The only problem is I live in the land of dogs and boats. Everyone has a dog.

They have big dogs with big barks and little dogs with little barks. I don’t know which one is worse. Most of my neighbors are seen walking their dogs in the early morning and late at night. I could never figure this out. Why would anyone want to add to their responsibilities by getting a dog? I am told they are great companions but I thought that was what a wife and kids were supposed to be. I believe the obvious reason I don’t like dogs, is they don’t like me. I don’t think I’ve ever passed a person walking their dog when they haven’t barked, growled, or tried to pee on me. Maybe it has something to do with genetics but if there was ever a war between species I would definitely not be invited to join the great dog army. Dogs are perpetually sloppy.

When a neighbor’s or relative’s dog does come near me all they do is slobber all over me. If it is not their long snouts that goose me, it is their mile long tongue that makes me want to run through the nearest car wash. Dogs also smell, I don’t know if this is because of their food or from eating what was once their food but the scent of a dog is something that will never be put in a bottle.

The one thing dogs do well is make waste. I laugh at the people who carry little plastic bags with them as they walk their dogs. To be honest I have never seen anyone stoop down in order to retrieve what their dogs left. I guess that is my job. I once observed an older couple walk their dog carrying what looked like one of those old fashioned carpet sweepers.

I assume this is efficient and if the dog does not cooperate by leaving what it just ate the couple can help the town by cleaning the street. I guess living near the river necessitates owning a boat. This is one thing you will never see parked in my driveway. Now don’t get me wrong. I enjoy going out on a warm summer afternoon on one of my neighbor’s boats. This is a great activity in which I revel at the fact I have absolutely no responsibility other than keeping the captain’s drink cold.

Springtime always fortifies my conviction to never purchase a boat. Most of my neighbors are seen freeing their boats by literally unwrapping them. Right before winter I assume it is traditional to buy the biggest Glad bag I have ever seen in order to protect their investment from the elements. In the back of most of my neighbors yards are seen entombed pointed shapes that must house most of the wild life of the neighborhood. I wouldn’t be surprised if a few dogs were found nestled in their newest of dog houses.

Then the work begins. After their boat is taken out of their wrappings their owners step back as though they were just given their perfect Christmas present. They check out every inch of their new toy in order to see what they have to do to make it sea-worthy. They always look on the bottom of the boat first. I guess this is a good thing because this is what keeps the water out.

Then the fun begins. Not for my neighbors but for me who watches from my second story office in my home. I watch as they sand the bottom of their boats in order to put a new coat of whatever is supposed to be on the bottom of a boat. Using their electric sanders I watch as the air is filled with dark clouds of old paint that hopefully doesn’t attach itself to my house.

The best part of this scene is watching my neighbors crawl from underneath their boats covered in what they just took off the bottom of their boats. They look as though they just spent the day in some West Virginia coal mine. As to how they stay alive is above and beyond my comprehension. As to why they have to take off what they immediately put back on is another one of the great mysteries of life.

Then the shining and polishing begins. It seems the most important part of having a boat is making sure anything chrome or white has to shine. I know there is a kind of competition going on here in order to prove who has the shiniest boat. This tradition goes on throughout the summer because every time they put their boats into the water they have to take them out in order to keep them shiny.

The engines are the last thing tested. They start them up with water from a running hose attempting to keep them from exploding. Sometimes they don’t start. This necessitates a complete rebuilding of their engines. I don’t even want to imagine how much this cost? My biggest concern is hoping my grill will start. By the way my grill never shines. There is little doubt I live in the land of dogs and boats.

I will continue to stay away from all sizes of hairy animals and I will also continue to enjoy my neighbor’s boats even though I do little to deserve the excursions. But, one thing is very clear to me and my neighbors. Dogs and boats are two things I will never possess.

The End.
Living in the land of dogs and boats.
By J. G. Fabiano
Jim Fabiano is a teacher and writer living in York, Maine, USA
e-mail him at: james.fabiano60@gmail.com

Copyright reserved. No part(s) of these publications may be reproduced, transmitted, transcribed, stored in a retrieval system, or translated into any language in any form by any means without the written permission of the author.