Dec 12

the search for a yellow waterbottle

Tag: musings,victoriesjonny5waldman @ 11:14 pm

So two weeks ago, when we were down in San Carlos, taking Syzygy for a little spin, we got ourselves into a funny little situation.

We’d just returned from the sea trial, and had put Syzygy in a slip at the marina. The then-owners and broker had gone about their day, leaving us to poke around the boat more, measuring and tinkering and such. With the sun out, Matt, Jon and I put our feet up, congratulated each other, and had a few nibbles of lunch: some prepackaged Mexican cookies and swigs of bottled water (you can tell that I did the shopping that morning.) Then, as typically happens after lunch, the urge to piss arose.

Thing is, the toilet on the boat was out of commission, on account of broken/leaky hoses. And we couldn’t just pee in the bushes, because there were none, or into the water, because it was a really nice, fancy marina. So Jon went up on deck and asked our neighbor if the marina had a bathroom. The guy explained that the bathroom was just 50 yards behind us, but then traced a wide arc with his hand, and further explained that getting there would require walking about a mile around the peninsula, unless we were willing to swim.

So Jon did what any climber-turned-sailor would do: he went back below deck, grabbed one of those plastic water bottles, and pissed into it. Matt did the same thing. So did I.

Hours later, the broker returned. Matt and Jon packed up their stuff, grabbed a bag of trash, and jumped in the broker’s car. 10 minutes later, back at the office, we were signing important papers, to the tune of I-hereby-agree-to-pay-$60,000-for-that-there-sailboat type of papers. So we sorta forgot about the contents of that trash bag. Actually, Jon remembered, but thought it inappropriate to deposit our piss-bottles in our broker’s trash can. He’s got class, Jon does.

So we signed the papers. We rejoiced over a can of cheap beer. Then we left, trash bag in tow, and walked around the corner, to a coffee shop, to let the feeling sink in some more. It should be noted here that Jon speaks terrible Spanish. Or rather, he mumbles some stuff in Spanglish and then looks at me, knowing that I will correctly translate what has just been not-actually-said. So I heard Jon say the word “basura,” in an interrogative kind-of-way, as in, “do you have a trash can?” The barrista nodded, then extended her hand. Jon passed her our bag of trash. She took it, and disappeared into the kitchen. That seemed to be that.

We had some coffee, then went upstairs, to get online. An hour later, after writing some excited emails, we were eager to get some tacos. Matt and I were packing up our stuff when we heard Jon say, “Shit. I can’t find my Nalgene.” We poked around under the table, in case the bottle had fallen or rolled away. It wasn’t there. So Jon did what any normal person would do: he asked the bartender if he’d seen a yellow water bottle. (His nalgene is made of yellow plastic.) Of course, Jon didn’t get all of that syntax in there, given his Spanish skills. What he actually said is, “water? yellow?? where???”

Now I wasn’t there to actually witness the culmination of this piss-in-a-bottle-in-the-trash story (I had run off to call a taxi for later that night), but here’s what happened, according to Matt. The bartender ran downstairs to search. 3 minutes later, he ran back upstairs, shouting something like, “we found it!” (lo hemos encontrado!) Jon smiled. He ran downstairs. He approached the counter. Halfway there, he probably realized that there had been a grave misunderstanding. The barrista handed him our piss bottles, and did not smile as she did so. Not having any other recourse, Jon accepted the piss bottles. Not knowing how to say, “I am sorry, for this is not actually the yellow Nalgene I was seeking, nor is this a situation that I intended to create, and now I am embarrassed, and you are most likely angry, and for good reason,” he just hung his head low. No translation was needed. He made a beeline for the door.

I caught up with Jon and Matt 5 minutes later, at the taco place. By the time the first round of beers arrived, I think Jon had pretty much given up on the search for his lost Nalgene. Jon looked relieved, having just deposited the piss bottles in a bigger, better trash can.

One Response to “the search for a yellow waterbottle”

  1. Hayden says:

    Come on boys.. loved the first postings, so get on with it. I assume you may all be off looking for another bottle filled with yellow liquid or something. Live the Valiants and looks like you got yourself a good deal there. I will watch the unfolding adventure with great interest. I am looking for a boat here in the US to sail back to Australia and Thailand.

    Good luck and where should I send my empty water bottles.


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