I’ll admit that our family is pretty solidly middle class. We’re not in danger of going hungry, but we’ll never spend summers in the Hamptons. We’re also proud of the New England thriftiness that can be seen around the house. The cool temperatures set on the thermostat, the patched clothes, the thrift store or Craigslist deals we find, and the bulk food buying club we’re part of all make us feel like we’re saving what we can.
Although we’ve had a few boats over the years, they’re still considered a luxury in our house. Pleasure boats are just for fun, so how thrifty is that? Even though boats don’t do anything practical, I’ll argue (weakly) that maybe, just maybe the sense of escape and the soothing hours bobbing away on the water have some theraputic value and perspective that allows us to live in the modern rat race without becoming super-consumers and completely ruining our minds and the earth.
Invariably when I talk to folks about boats, somebody will ask how much they cost. This is the time that I squirm. What they say about boats is true: a boat is a hole in the water into which you throw money. Boating is a rich-man’s sport, but one that is hard to let go of. So, Bruce you might ask, how can you afford to put together that nice boat pictured up there? Well, it’s personal I might say. But just to get it off my chest and not feel too self conscious about appearing in the rich man’s shoes, I’ll tell you: It’s a little savings, a little elbow grease, but mostly it was the result of something I didn’t want to happen and never expected, but there it is: a modest inheritance.