Growing up, I always felt slightly uncomfortable on boats. I never felt like I really had enough control on a boat. It was just so unnatural for something as large as a boat to be able to float on water. I didn’t trust it and to be honest I still don’t.
I blame this mistrust on a single moment in my childhood. I was at Celebration Station and I was determined to ride the bumper boats. I begged my mom to let me go on the bumper boats. She hesitated, worrying that I was too young, but consented when my determination didn’t wane.
Finally, I stepped into the small boat and took off! I had a blast as I cruised around the giant pool and crashed into the other boaters. Then everything went wrong. They signaled that it was time to come in and I couldn’t figure out how to maneuver the boat back to the edge of the pool. Then the motor on my little boat cut off, stranding me in the middle of this giant pool.
Now I am sure that this situation was not quite as dramatic as my four year old self remembers it being, but at the time it was the scariest thing that had happened to me, scarier than losing my mom in the grocery store. This experience left me with a slight fear of being on anything that floats on water.
Recently, however, I did make a step toward overcoming that fear when I went kayaking. It turns out I love it and have plans to go again soon. My experience with boats is a little muddled with uncertainty and fear, but I did grow up with a family of boat lovers and many people thoroughly enjoy the activity and some even rely on boating to survive.
Boats serve their place in human history and therefore have come to claim an important role in literature as well. In Life of Pie by Yan Martel a boat is what saves a young boy’s life and takes him on a fantastical journey that ends with a tragic twist. Hemmingway’s The Old Man and The Sea is all about a man whose only source of income is through his boat. Even as a kid I remember reading Scuffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton. I even had a little Scuffy that I played with in the bathtub.
If you are really interested in boats, or have an irrational read to overcome, you can find out a lot about boats in the fiction or nonfiction section AND if you are a kid who loves boats come on by the library tomorrow morning and check out our summer reading program where we are going to be making our own small boats!