Summer in Boston was a world away from Philly. I worked at Man’s Greatest Hospital seven to three, then headed directly to Community Boating on the Charles River to sail for a few hours. After sailing, sitting on the dock offered the opportunity to talk to friends and watch the wind chase the waves on the water.
The boats we sailed were Lasers, Cape Cod Mercuries, and 110’s. It was a long way from the thirty-four-foot ketch I had first learned to sail on. The Charles River Lower Basin was also lots different from Penobscott Bay or Casco Bay.
What was lacking in the boats’ size was more than compensated by their need for careful handling. The Basin was like a small shallow bay, and wind shadows from the buildings on the Boston side of the River could cause abrupt wind change. You would never tie down your main sheet unless you were interested in either an uncontrolled jibe or a sudden knockdown. It was analogous to my life: unsettled, subject to abrupt change, and in difficult circumstances.
By the end of summer, I was at the tail end of my first relationship since my divorce. As I learned on the Coast,” Sin in haste, repent at leisure.” And I was repenting. Charlotte was her name, and she was a charge nurse on the orthopedics floor I had worked on. I was surprised at how fast my pursuit of her turned into a relationship. And that link turned into a rather hurried commitment. I found myself being seduced into engagement with haste. I thought I was in love.
So it came time for acid tests. I invited Charlotte to Community boating to go sailing. We were not on the water five minutes before she asked when we would get to where we were going. I had to explain that we were already there. This was not encouraging.

I invited my mother to visit and meet her. That evening, at the last moment, she picked up an extra shift for a friend without letting us know; mom was not impressed. Charlotte then accused me of being too much under my mother’s influence.
Deciding to try again, I invited her over to my place for dinner. I made one of my family specialties; it was too spicy. Most importantly, about that evening was that she had an opportunity to meet Clancy, my gray devil cat, he turned his back and walked away when she started her “here sweet Kitty kitty” routine. I was developing an awareness that the cat was more discerning than I was about women, and he did not approve.
She was four down and zero up. We had an involved discussion about compatibility, but I did not break up with her then.

I broke up with her about four days later when I went to the doctor and got a shot and a pill for the symptoms. I should have paid attention to the cat.
“He that is hasty of spirit exalteth folly.”