Single Again… Alone On a Boat

By Kenneth Stepp

For me, inspiration comes in many forms and from many directions. Today is no different. Today I am sitting at a picnic table under a shade tree at one of Georgia’s state parks. The view is a mix of beautiful mountains and a wonderful lake. It is an amazing sight. It’s not far from my house, so I find myself here often.

Since today is Saturday, this is a busy place. Many boats full of happy families and friends having a blast on their weekend off. Making the best of the time away from the grind of making a living. Most just surviving, most live for the weekend off. Some of the boats are expensive, some held together by duct tape, or so it seems.

One boat caught my eye. It’s a guy alone. He isn’t laughing. Heck, he isn’t even smiling. His boat seems to run well, but it’s one of the older sun faded ones. It suddenly hit me. Why would anyone come here with a boat to be alone?

Although I enjoy my time alone. It is usually spent in my home. You see, I work from home, so I am alone more than most people. I’m use to it. But there are times like today when I just had to get out of the house. When I am here, I feel a connection with those I see. I know it isn’t real, but some days, it’s all I have. Some days, it’s enough.

I am watching the guy on his boat alone. He is motoring out on the lake, back and forth. I noticed he waved at a few people. I watch him fairly close because I wonder about him. Why is he alone? The fact that he waves at others tells me he would rather engage with others. It seems in the Summertime, on the weekend, and owning a running boat, that he would have a friend or two who would love to share his boat today.

In my mind, he is a very lonely man, just trying to find a way to combat the loneliness. I get what he must be experiencing. I’ve been there. And by all accounts, I’m there right now. I am alone in an absolutely beautiful place. What have I done to be alone here? I don’t have a boat, maybe that’s it. But it seems that someone would have wanted to share this place with me. Maybe I wanted to fly solo today. Although that is not my nature at all. I know myself well enough to know I am a people person. If you have ever shared a meal with me, you would know I enjoy long and robust conversations. Today will not be one of those days.

The lake is so beautiful this afternoon. It has a blue green color to the water. The amount of housing is very limited on this lake. I am thankful for that. Enjoying nature is pretty new for me. Or I should say, feels new. Nature was my life when I was younger. I enjoyed multi day hikes, camping, caving, rock climbing. Nature would always draw me in.

Not these days though. It has only been recently that I began appreciating it again. It’s funny how we lose sight of things we enjoy over time. I’m amazed I allowed nature to vanish while I went after the almighty dollar harder than I ever should have. I lost sight of many things back then. They are only now coming back into focus. For this I am grateful. It seems I am reclaiming many things I stopped caring about. Have you ever found yourself doing that? I bet I am not alone in this. 

Well. The guy alone in the boat has only lasted about an hour. He is making moves to pull his boat out of the water and go home. I wonder how long he would have stayed had he had a partner in crime with him. A friend, and romantic connection, his kids, etc. I went to the Renaissance Festival twice this year. Once alone, I stayed about an hour and a half. I drove that far to get there. But the second time one of my dear friends went with me. We stayed five hours and had an awesome time.

I believe the man on the boat alone and me have more in common than we would care to admit. I believe we all do. I make myself go places to just be somewhere else. The guy on the boat did the same thing today. But this time, I got something out of it. A glimpse of myself I had not discovered yet. I guess we all have our lonely days. Our times of self discovery. I saw a new side to me today. So my time here was worth every minute.

“I think it’s good for a person to spend time alone. It gives them an opportunity to discover who they are and to figure out why they are always alone.” Amy Sedaris