March 3rd, 2014, 2pm

It was 14.4°C with few clouds. The breeze was gentle.

There’s a strip of wild-looking parkland along the creek by my place. It’s maintained by the small community of people who live in a variety of houseboats, blue water cruising vessels, and shacks on pontoons, all of which float in the saltwater creek itself.

The park used to have a decaying Monterey Clipper nestled in among some flowering bushes. Montereys like it were once the workhorse of the San Francisco fishing fleet. They’re the direct descendants of a type of ancient Egyptian boat called the felucca, and they’re some of the most charming looking boats in the world.

When I walked by the park today, I noticed the Monterey was completely gone, without so much as a plank or drop of engine grease to show where it once was. The story I later heard about its disappearance follows: The resident houseboat community had arranged for an electronics recycling day, where they would place their unwanted electronic waste in the park by the Monterey, and a garbage truck would come to collect it all the next day.

Hundreds of VCRs, old TVs, radios and boom-boxes and walkmen were piled up by the old boat, but when the garbage truck arrived to take it away, it was already gone.

Many months later one of the houseboat people peeked into the old Monterey’s cabin and discovered that someone had carefully arranged all of the VCRs and other junk tech into every nook and cranny of the boat, so that the cabin had become a cave of derelict electronics. That someone was at the moment lying on his back intently gazing into a broken TV screen.

This was too much for the houseboat folks, who decided that in order to get rid of this new resident the boat itself would have to go to. The mild irony of the fact that the houseboat dwellers themselves narrowly avoiding becoming the targets of vicious eviction proceedings by the city apparently passed unnoticed. On the other hand, who wants a crazy guy living in a dried-out boat for a neighbor?

Adrian, Lorraine, David Wade, Christine and 3 others said thanks.

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Eric Meltzer

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