30 August 2014

Lake Express

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).

04 August 2014

On Tim

Reading through The Wind Through the Keyhole tonight - the story (within a story) of the brave boy, Tim, on a grand quest.  In terms of volume numbers, it means I'm more than half way through The Dark Tower series for another pass.  In terms of page numbers, I'm not so sure I'm there yet.

Before I'd tuned back in, I'd flipped on About Time, which I think is my new favorite terrible great movie from the folks at Working Title Pictures.  Man, they know terribly good movies (or goodly terribly movies).  In this latest mastersluice, a mild-mannered ginger named Tim, is told at a coming of age New Year's Day that he and the men-folk in his family are capable of autobiographic time travel.  Tim, being a Tim, uses this power to optimize his life and the life of those around him.

Tim is a noble name, with literary and historic pedigree.  I think timothy is some kind of grass.  Something understated and cool. 

I think there was probably a Timothy in the bible, and I'm quite sure there was a Saint Timothy, though I can't say what he helps folks out with. 

There's Tiny Tim - who may be no Little Nell - but certainly is one of the more obnoxious fictional characters in history... But he has such a good heart...

I can't think of a single villain named Tim (though when I asked google the same question, they introduced me to @timTheVillain twitter feed).  At the same time, I know of no super-heroes named Tim (maybe a alter ego) , no 'Great Men' who wear the name come immediately to mind. 

Instead, when Tim is a hero, he is an unexpected hero.  He's someone who rises from the everyday to perform the extraordinary.  Tim defies odds.  No one ever expects it to be Tim.

That I have a brother named Tim, of course, makes this a topic near to mind.  I'm not sure how well my theory holds for the non-fictional world.  Tim Curry, Tim Duncan, Tim Johnson, Tiny Tim (ukulele, not crutches)...  not sure what kind of conclusions to draw, but to paraphrase the Byrd:

A Tim to weep, and a Tim to laugh; a Tim to mourn, and a Tim to dance;
A Tim to cast away stones, and a Tim to gather stones together (useful when there's another Tim around casting them away); a Tim to embrace, and a Tim to refrain from embracing

Now all we need is a Tim to comment...