People Watching: the boat show

My friend sat there sipping his bourbon, looked over at me, and said, “Oh, what stories we could tell!” But, of course, he was referring to some of the things that happened at or that we saw during our years of doing boat shows. Although to be honest, we don’t share the good stuff with potential customers, that would be tantamount to warning them to behave at the show. No fun for us!
Just look at couples. We see the entire range: the young couple shopping for their first little sloop, the older couple looking for something suitable for cruising with the kids, and the older ones looking to downsize and longingly looking at the little sloops that remind them of when they were young and frisky.
I don’t have enough words to describe the frisky ones. From the older couple away from the kids, staying at the hotel with that ” Oh, honey, wait till we get to the room” look in their eyes to the non-matched couples meeting up at the show – she’s into lobster yachts, he’s into traditionally rigged sloops or 22-foot catboats, but they are clearly into each other. Then, at last, there are the older gentlemen who hoped to revive their romantic fortunes with much younger trophy wives. But that deserves an entire post by itself.
Staffing a booth at a show is hard work; you answer questions all day ranging from the inane to the insane to the wise. You tell people where the bathroom is so often that you make up a sign with an arrow indicating the direction. And you pray that one of your friends will show up with lunch soon or relieve you – so you can go to the bathroom. It’s all in a day’s work.
My friend and I have retired from doing the shows, but we do like to go and browse. But mostly, we watch people. After years of observing, we know what to look for. It’s not dull.

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