Riding on the Lake Express Ferry for the first time. We’ve just left behind the last of the birds doing the “Boat Challenge”, which I assume is a contest which consists of a dare to outrace the ferry for as long as possible. Once the Lake Express gets up to its full cruising speed, it’s passing even the fastest moving birds like they’re standing still… except they’re flying parallel to the ship.
The Wisconsin coastline is still very visible, and Michigan, up ahead, is still just a vague notion. At the mid-point, I’ll show you what both coasts look like.
It’s an odd blend of people on the ferry this morning. There is a palpable sense of adventure to many of the groups. It’s difficult to pin down any generalizations about the socio-economic status of Lake Express-ers. Even more difficult to figure out is any kind of cultural mean. There are a couple of foreigners, several “older couples”, a smattering of little kids with a parent or two, and a biker couple. There are several people dressed like drifters, and an inordinate number of people wearing bright neon, which makes me constantly mistake them for crew members. I can’t figure why they chose such bright attire, whether it’s their norm, or they felt it was befitting the water voyage.
The terminal, naturally, has the ooky borderland feel that almost any kind of station has. A multitude of ennui from the people waiting, coupled with the dense feeling of mass anticipation, makes any transit hub a jumble of weighty unpleasant-ness. Airports are particularly interesting examples of this, because the ‘average’ passenger is so much more bourgeois. You expect a certain amount (that amount being large) of heavy despair when you’re at a bus station, but when you’re at an airport, it doesn’t seem quite as ‘natural’. That sense of despair and foreboding is foreign for most passengers preparing to fly, and they don’t like it, and they don’t know where it’s coming from.Now that we’re en route, though, things are looking up. The side to side* canting of the boat aside (I’m riding up top), the ominous feel of the terminal is left behind, and the anticipation of arrival has captured the collective imagination of the passengers. The air up here is heavy with humidity, but feels good, in conjunction with steady wind, and the forthcoming sunshine from Michigan (as you can see, the sun has long since risen, but not above the cloud-line quite yet) gives the trip a sense of hope.
* As I typed “side-to-side”, I tried to cast back to my nautical terminology, but only came up with port and starboard (which I think is back and left – a la JFK)… I then looked at the bottom of my shoe, because one of my pairs of shoes (boat shoes, natch) has the labels for all 4 directions of boating terminology (I think a third is aft – I can’t discover the fourth yet).