Thursday, June 29, 2023


Ever since I'd finished restoring the little boathouse, I'd been joking that I'd pay a thousand dollars to anyone who agreed to spend the night in it. Don't get me wrong: there's nothing wrong with the boathouse....during daylight. But who knows what it's like in there at night? No one ever goes there after dark. My policy is: during daylight the land is mine. Once night falls, it belongs to the creatures of the night. I am not a creature of the night. The boathouse has electricity. It even has a space heater. There's a chair, a coffee table, and a chaise longue to lie on. The windows are newly screened. In a rustic way, it's slightly charming. I'd been reading a book about a young woman who lived in a lighthouse in the 1830s. I've always been very attracted to lighthouses and I'm sure I'd be the ideal person to live in one. And so on June 22nd while I was weeding the vegetable garden, I asked myself why I hadn't slept in the boathouse yet. I had no good reason not to. I could make myself a thermos of tea, bring my wind-up radio and a blanket, a can of insect repellent, my book about living in a lighthouse, and my phone, just in case. I headed down to the boathouse about eight-thirty p.m., turned on the lights, and arranged my supplies on the coffee table. I dispatched three mosquitoes to wherever mosquitoes go. Then I closed the door behind me. In the four years and three months I've lived here, I've never noticed that there is no lock on the boathouse door. Even if there were, two-thirds of the door is glass, so no lock is likely to be of much use. So I settled in for the evening, turned my radio on, spread out a coverlet on the chaise longue, took off my rubber boots, put them by the door so any burglar who broke in would trip over them, and crawled under the covers.
Neighbours texted to ask if I could hear the coyotes howling. Actually I couldn't. I heard the occasional bullfrog, but just in case, I googled, "Do coyotes have opposable thumbs?" They don't. They probably couldn't open the boathouse door even if they did. It's pretty stiff. After a while it felt a bit damp and stuffy in the boathouse. I didn't want to get up and open the windows, so I reached over and turned on the space heater. That's when the electrical circuit breaker switches blew and I was plunged into darkness. I began to wonder what I was doing. I wouldn't have minded a snack, but I hadn't brought anything to eat as I'd already brushed my teeth. As darkness settled in, the fireflies appeared outside the windows. They looked rather festive, and surprisingly large. But you can't read by the light of a firefly, so I turned the radio down to low and lay uncomfortably on the chaise longue. Normally, it's a comfortable spot to relax for a couple of hours on a hot day. This was not daytime, nor hot, and I wasn't the least bit relaxed. Eventually I fell into a shallow sleep, and the hours crept by, very slowly. At first light (5:45 a.m. if you must know), I was up, gathering my belongings into a bag and jamming my feet into my rubber boots. I didn't even bother to reset the circuit breakers. I practically ran up to the house, unlocked the door and ran myself a warm, fragrant bath. And then I fell asleep on my massive green leather sofa. There is, truly, no place like home. And, in case you care, I spent my thousand dollar winnings on a new one horsepower electric pump for the swimming pool.

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