Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: In an OP overlooking your house
Re: The Spam Thread Episode II: Attack of the Spam
Don't do blogs, but here's something I wrote the other day:
Beer bottles don't work as paddles, Easterners!
It's summer again, with all that goes with it. The lovely warmth of the sun, the smell of freshly cut grass, the cries of mating seagulls, and beautiful girls in bikinis. Or - when I'm having my summer vacation - lots of rain and wind.
Summer is also the time when those of a boating inclination come out from their winter hides and set out from harbours and marinas. In their craft, they are the masters of wind and sea, the new Hemingways and Heyerdahls, exploring the fjords and hidden nooks of the Norwegian coast-line. At least they like to think so. In reality, they tend to land up in trouble, one way or another. Drunk boating, for instance, is a classic. Especially coupled with high speed.
Now, it should be noted that I like speed. Speed gives a sensation of danger, and that makes your body release dopamine and adrenaline, the chemicals that give you the characteristic "kick". I love that kick, that feeling of everything coming sharply into focus and time slowing down. It is the reason I like water-skiing. Or what I call "tubing", sitting in what is basically an inflatable rubber tube that resembles a big tyre, being pulled around by a boat at high speed. All that keeps you from hitting the water at 40 knots is a pair of handles and your ability to keep the tube upright over the waves. The feeling of sitting with your buttocks literally bouncing off the waves at that sort of speed is something out of this world. At one point, I was completely airborne and tilted 90 degrees right after hitting a sharp wave. When I managed to land upright again after what seemed like an eternity, my blood was so full of chemicals that, if you had cut me, it could have dissolved steel.
It has always been thus. I have repeatedly stated that if you drive slowly, you will kill people, and that anyone incapable of driving above the 80 kph speed limit on motorways should voluntarily give up driving. Or, if they don't, be shot. I have a loathing of mopeds and scooters, and blame them for all the world's troubles - me being late for a movie, global warming, poverty, crime, the death of Lady Diana, 9/11 and so on. I have encouraged people to speed up on motorways in order to ease up the traffic, and I want to take a bat to the head of those who use the left lane for driving at the speed limit.
However, I have never encouraged, and will never encourage, drinking and driving. Driving fast can be useful and good fun. Driving fast while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or needing to pee means you'll severely mis-judge your speed and driving skills. And die. Which is all right - if you're stupid enough to get drunk before driving home, you deserve what you get. The problem is that you'll probably have passengers in your car or hit someone. And they will die, too. Which is not all right.
And it's the same at sea. If you have 200 horses strapped to the back of your boat, you should be stone cold sober before setting off. It's all right hitting a rock in a small sjekte - the Norwegian name for a small wooden boat with a small diesel engine that does about 3 knots - because you'll just hear a bump and bounce off it. But if you do the same in a RIB at 50 knots, it is a completely different story.
Which is why I was right pleased when I read the local newspaper a few weeks ago. A couple in a fast boat was stopped by the police for lacking a lantern on the boat. Upon noticing that the husband was good and drunk, they did a breathalyser test, and he was way over the limit. So he got fined. Quite a lot, too. Half an hour later, the same boat was stopped for missing a lantern outside another harbour. This time, the wife was driving. A quick test, and she turned out as drunk as her husband. Another heavy fine and police escort home. The stupidity amazed me, but for once I was proud of our police.
These two were Southerners, mind you. And the Southerners are only a very small part of the boating problem. We're born and raised here, right by the sea, and on it. We know - at least most of us - how to behave at sea. Most Southerners at sea are polite - they smile and wave and, if you're fishing, they'll even stop to ask if you've caught something or suggest a better spot. "The mackerel runs out by that lighthouse today. Try there. Have a nice day!"
It's the immigrants that cause most of the problems. Wait a moment before you start calling me racist, though: I'm talking about the Eastern Norwegians. You know, the bleached-blond guys and girls with the drop-top Porsches, expensive seaside cottages and big boats. Who don't know that having a drop-top Porsche marks you as a homosexual, that a seaside cottage in the South is supposed to be white, or that big boats need a fair bit of water underneath them to work properly. Especially that last bit makes for some entertaining scenes. Like a couple of years ago, when we had to pull a boat out to sea again after the owner had failed to notice that the water was getting shallow as he approached shore. A basic depth-determining technique called "looking down" would have told him that. Instead, he had to be towed a hundred yards and pay someone to fix whatever damage the keel of the boat took from hitting rock at speed.
Or the time when my dad was coming home in what had rapidly become something just shy of a full-on storm, and found a sailboat bobbing on the waves dangerously close to shore. After towing the boat back to port - and making the people on board pay him about 50 quid for the petrol and service - he found out that they had thought it a good idea to head out in a storm in a sailboat. Only to - surprise, surprise - have their mast break because of the wind.
Another time, the people on board a borrowed sjekte had decided to rather spend money on beer than diesel. So they ran out of fuel halfway home. Unfortunately, the bottles were no good for paddling, so they, too, had to be helped back to shore.
I can go on. There's a 5 knot speed limit within 50 metres of shore. Apparently the Easterners think it's the other way 'round. As a result, the people of the coast are now used to hearing the sound of engines passing by at 50 knots five metres from shore, followed by that of glass fibre or wooden boat hulls banging against piers. Then children screaming because their sand castle was just drowned by a tsunami, and grandmothers sighing because they've got saltwater in their flowerbeds so all their prize roses will die.
The solution to all of this is simple. When I come to power, I shall instate random testing of boatists. If they are found to be drunk or Eastern, they must voluntarily give up boating. Or, if they don't, be shot.