Monday, August 2, 2010

Come Sail Away with Me, Subtitled: HEAVE-ho!

So I was reading Kelly Breakey's blog post today (gorgeous pics of the Emerald Coast!), and it reminded me of my one and only experience on a sailboat.

I was twenty-one, and had just finished up a semester abroad at the University of Stockholm. I'd carried twenty-one credits, so it was no blow-off vacation-masquerading-as-school, either. Sure, classes were fun, but they were also demanding, and I was ready for a break.

My aunts (who were really my mother's cousins, but whatevs--they were always aunts to me) had a good friend who was almost like a sister to them. This good friend had a son, five or six years older than me, who was, naturally enough, something of a nephew to my aunts. Which, in a way (bear with me here) made him practically my cousin.

Not that it really matters to the story. I just thought it was a good way to bring out how convoluted "family" relationships can be.

Anyhoo, this semi-cousin--let's call him Sven, even though that's not even close to his name--and his then girlfriend, Heidi (oddly enough, that was her name--she was German--but I doubt she'll ever stumble across this blog anyway, and I think it's a cool name, so I wanted to use it) lived near the coast.

(Not that Sven's real name isn't cool, too, by the way. But I used it in one of my books, and if that book is ever published *pause for extreme finger/toe-crossing maneuver* I don't want anyone to think I modeled the character on my semi-cousin. Because I didn't. He just happens to have a good character name.)

(Now that I think about it, I suppose I could have pretended "Heidi" wasn't Sven's girlfriend's real name, and then question of coolness wouldn't even be an issue. Too late. I feel committed now.)

*ahem* On with the story.

Well. As you may or may not know, liquor is very expensive in Sweden. Mainly because they tax the holy hell out of it. If you are going to get buzzed in Sweden, the government is darn well going to partake in the party.

Yup. There are worse things than hangovers. There are hangovers with empty wallets.

All this is by way of explaining why, at twenty-one, while living in Sweden, I was unaccustomed to holding my liquor. (Fortunately, I outgrew it. Practice makes perfect!) The occasional glass of red wine with dinner was the most I ever imbibed. So, when Sven and Heidi brought out their carefully hoarded stash of tiny liqueur bottles, which they had painstakingly gathered on their frequent business trips between Germany and Sweden, I wasn't prepared for what was about to hit me.

Dinner had been lovely, I'm almost sure. Don't quite remember, but I never to my knowledge had an unlovely meal in Sweden, so it's safe to assume. After dinner, the real fun started. Sven was totally liqueur-proud, and rightfully so. I think he had miniature representatives of every brand of cordial known to man.

Decision time was upon me. How to choose?

Then again, why choose when you don't have to, ha-ha-ha-ha! Just taste a bit of each, and see which you like better, huh? Am I right?

Oh, it went swimmingly! The more I tasted, the better my Swedish got, too. I became amazingly erudite, discussing topics ranging from world politics to capital punishment, with nary a pause to search for a word. A little slur here and there, perhaps, but what are a few slurs among equally inebriated friends?

I'm pretty sure I eventually went to bed, because I did get up the next morning. After a fashion. Fortunately, I didn't have to tackle the complicated process of getting dressed, because I was still fully clothed.

Sven and Heidi (who were obviously much more adept at drinking than I) assured me nothing would fix me up better than a sail around the archipelago. It was a toss-up as to which was greener--the sea or my face--but I decided to trust them.

They were right. Ten minutes into the wind I felt wonderful. Of course, that was after I'd barfed over the side of the boat twice, with every ounce pouring out of me a tainted reminder of the sickly sweet substances I'd poured in the night before.

Once I was empty, though, the rest of the day went all right. The Stockholm Archipelago is gorgeous. We stopped on a few different islands, explored the rocky coastline, and generally enjoyed the rest of the day.

That night, after dinner, when the liqueur bottles came back out, I politely declined. And mentally added "liqueur tasting party" to my list of things never to do again.




So, thanks, Kelly, for reminding me of my sailing trip. I think it may have been the green of the sea that triggered the memory. ;)


Kelly Breakey said...

I feel as if I have arrived. I was mentioned in your blog. Thank you and I am glad that my pictures triggered such a great memory.

I really don't know what magical qualities the water has but it doesn't matter how you feel when you head out you always feel tons better when you come back in. The wind seems clear all the cobwebs out.

Oh and Skal (I beleive that is sweediish for Cheers!)

Linda G. said...

Kelly -- Skål! Yes, that's "cheers!" in Swedish. One of the first words I learned, as a matter of fact. ;)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

"If you are going to get buzzed in Sweden, the government is darn well going to partake in the party."

Haha, that's a great way to describe the "sin taxes."

And I'm glad to know what skal means because I only know it as a delicious candy bar.

Elizabeth Ryann said...

That is awesome. It sounds like Sven and Heidi are a party unto themselves.

You too. You're just one of those weird parties that throws up when you go sailing with a hangover.

Jessica Lemmon said...

BLAARRRGH! I have a similar story, only instead of my sort-of cousin, it was my ACTUAL cousin and instead of Sweden on a boat it was Ohio at a Halloween party.

Tequila, followed by beer, followed by wine (!)

Eww. And, me too: Never Again.

Linda G. said...

Karen -- Skål IS a great candy bar! But a better toast. ;)

Elizabeth -- Something I will never repeat again, I can assure you. No matter how beautiful the scenery.

Jessica -- Oh, ouch.>_< Aren't cousins wonderful? We learn so much from them.


Sven and Heidi? Why does that sound like a cross between Disney and a porn?

I am horribly, violently alergic to seasick meds. I once knocked a burning candle onto my lap, covered myself & the table w/ hot wax, and didn't even notice because I was so baked. (I actually gave this affliction to the heroine in my debut novel, and it's part of what prompts the whole kickoff of the story...)

So you wanna go sailing with me sometime?