Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

On a boat

I spent all afternoon on a boat. It was a work thing, they took the whole team out on a little chartered cruise with some food and beer and stuff. We were out for about 3 hours, and it was pretty decent. The weather’s been pretty shitty all week, so I wasn’t sure if we were going to get rained out or if it would be too cold, but it was decent – the sun was out, and even though it was a little chilly, you could get around without a jacket.

The boat had a cabin with a kitchen and 4 booths that sat 4 each, with lots of wood, and a carpeted “living room”. The main deck went all the way around the boat, so you could go up to the front and hang out there. On top of the cabin was a second deck, and the cabin where they ran the ship (the cockpit?). There was also a third crow’s-nest deck above that. I don’t know how long or big the boat was, but it seemed pretty decent. The people who ran it were from Alaska, but they had a summer base up there and spent winters down in Seattle. They also had two little dogs, chiwawas or something, that sort of sat around the cockpit while we were out.

So when it was time to leave, we just crossed the street and went to the marina, and there was our boat, waiting in lake union. The cruise went all over, first back near the locks by Ballard , and then under I-5 and to lake Washington, and then back. The first part brought us through a lot of the more industrial parts of the water, where there were drydocks, old rusty ships, and lots of fishing boats. Lake union has some houseboats and stuff, too. And there are a lot of freaky business office buildings in Fremont that sit right on the water.

The western part of Lake Washington was cool, because we saw the 520 bridge up close, and also saw some of the rowing crew people practicing. A lot of UW is right on the water, too, and we saw stuff like the staduim up close. Then we crossed to the eastern side of the lake. If you’re on the east side of the lake, just south of 520, the first thing you see is the giant mansion that Bill Gates had built. First reactions, of course, have to do with how he can screw so many and build so big of a house. But when you continue north on the lake, you see that he is just trying to keep up with the Jonses, and I emphasize trying. I never knew there were so many billionairs around here! There were houses with yachts in the back yard, a house with a seaplane in the back yard, a lot of golf course green yards, giant verandas, decks, intricate architecture, marble staircases, long stretches of glass, and about everything else. It was like taking some kind of floating tour of the homes of the rich and famous or something. I liked seeing all of the neat architecture, but it was sort of a wakeup call that I would never become some kind of executive that could afford to spend 100 grand a year on their groundskeeping.

Oh well. It was a cool tour, and I liked seeing the houses and the boats…