So there I was, on a hot summer day, sharing a flight with fellow student Danny. Danny was a Boston bartender with flying dreams. (We all liked to split expenses in those days, when we could.) I’m in the pilot’s seat, and Danny is directing me over a big Boston area reservoir, to see if we can spot a sunken boat. We’re circling and circling, and Danny opens the window to see better. And cool off. He forgets the force of the slipstream – it could rip his nice sunglasses off and fling them into the reservoir… oops. And sure enough, whip-snap there they go. “Oh s**t” says Danny. But what can we do? Not a thing.
On boats, especially. I mean, there you are, rocking about in the breeze… Or maybe still tied up at the dock?
The silliest, saddest I ever heard of – way above the angst of fleeing glasses – was when a friend was getting ready to sail the Atlantic, taking along a techie know-it-all sailing pal. Captain John was a Master, one who gave advanced celestial navigation classes. (Having taken his classes, I can give five stars to his expertise.) He sniffed at his pal’s marine GPS (global navigation system) but was argued into it. “Hey, captain, we’re headed to Bermuda, you know!” Seemed like a cheat, to him. So our second-in-command places his treasured GPS on the flat rail, unsecured – I mean why not, they’re still at the dock, right? Caught up in the details of helping with casting off, he forgets the GPS. A motion catches his eye… he sees with horror from across the deck its response to the physics of the rocking boat – and watches helplessly as it slides with a happy splash into the harbor. Rushing to the railing, he watches it fade into the dark waters. Try to recover it? Not an option. They had cast off, they were moving out. Search in the harbor muck below? A time-waster. The salt water would have totaled it anyway.
OH yes… S**t happens. Especially when you’re not watching.