Within public earshot

By David Grima | Sep 13, 2018

Greetings, fellow human beings!

I received the following note Sept. 6, describing nefarious goings-on upon our fine harbor:

“Would like to relay an incident that occurred yesterday. My two friends (both in their 50s and engineers, so they qualify as somewhat adult) from Alabama have a sailboat on their mooring in Rockland Harbor. They spend a few months here whenever they are able and have been here since July.

“Upon returning to their boat just before dark yesterday, they discovered it had been pelted with bait fish. Seriously pelted. Luckily, only one visitor made it into the main cabin, but it was quite a mess to clean up. They have no idea why their boat was targeted. They had not hooked any lobster gear or to their knowledge otherwise agitated our fine lobster fishing population. ‘Alabama’ is on the stern of their boat, but how many boats are here from away? Many.”

That’s a little sad, isn’t it? Not much of a hearty Rockland welcome there. Possibly the responsible parties mistook the sailboat for a cruise ship.

* * * * *

There was a distinct chill in the air the other day, as the heavier weather of late summer seemed to abate for a while.

Up here in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live, the Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse have begun to sulk a little and droop their feathers. They sometimes get this way as September moves on.

I had no idea they were so sensitive.

* * * * *

On Sunday afternoon I took delivery of five slightly soggy wine boxes, the remains of the stuff that was at a certain close relative’s wedding the day before.

For some reason these unopened boxes had been left overnight in a cooler that also contained the remains of seven bags of ice, thus their soggy appearance. I arranged them in a row around the battlements of the west towers, hoping they would dry out before it rained.

The wedding had been at Blueberry Cove in Tenants Harbor, and was there ever a better-named spot for a wedding? For as was pointed out to me on the way in, “blueberry” sounds and looks suspiciously like “blubbery,” and I proved myself perfectly capable of blubbing when, at 3:18 p.m. precisely, my lad became a married man.

What a sentimental old man I have turned out to be. But it was all in a rather good cause.

* * * * *

I have eaten three times at Moody’s Diner this summer, and on the last occasion we were all caught up in the birthday cake ritual for a waitress called Pam who has worked there for 30 years. All the best to her.

* * * * *

Another thing that might be having a lowering effect on the Four Seagulls’ spirits is the always-too-soon appearance of Halloween goods in local stores. Hannaford has already stocked itself with shelves of seasonal candy, and Walmart is absolutely riddled with costumes and paraphernalia.

Columbus Day always seems to get the short end of the stick when it comes to holiday goodies, but if you listen carefully, you might be able to hear the slightly nervous gobbling of turkeys and the impatient snorting of reindeer teams, coming in a muffled way from somewhere back in the stockrooms of these fine fortresses of culture and commerce.

Somewhere out there in a store near you today, you just know that somebody is tuning up the music system with experimental blasts of a “Holly Jolly Christmas” and other such stuff.

* * * * *

A person was in the library just after 9 on Monday morning, soliciting signatures in his run for elected city office this fall.

A librarian explained to the person that solicitation is not allowable within the library, (reminding me for some reason that it is not allowable at Hannaford, either), but this did not make the person too happy, and the librarian was asked to produce the written authority for this policy.

The would-be candidate was told the policy is intended to allow people use of the library without being interrupted by others (or as close to that explanation as I can remember).

“That’s why I am running,” said the person, sounding just a little bit miffed.

One can always understand something on both sides in such an argument, and in the end it is mostly the details of the particular case that impress themselves upon one’s memory. In this case, there was a momentary tension in the air, as one might expect. But no weapons were drawn and no threats were made.

In the end, a kind of civic reasonableness prevailed.

So far I have concealed the identity of the person in question, but all a curious newspaper reporter would have to do near election time is question all candidates on the library’s solicitation policy. The one who says “That’s why I am running!” will be the one I am talking about here.

Of course, it has always been acceptable for people to solicit signatures and nominations for public office while hanging about at the dump. It seems, therefore, that there is no specific objection to soliciting signatures while on city property; rather the central issue on Monday seemed to be about preserving people’s expectations of being undisturbed at the library.

I can think of another good reason not to dispute too much with public employees in a public place about public policy. You never know when a wretched and ink-stained newspaper columnist might be scribbling away within public earshot.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Dennis Corkum | Sep 13, 2018 19:58

Thank you David for relating the bait throwing incident at my  friends "form away".  They are an asset to our community while they are here.  This town needs you to keep talking!


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