The mundane art of standing in a hammock

By |2019-01-08T15:00:43+00:00October 18th, 2017|Boat Life|4 Comments

The weirdest thing about this whole experience is that it doesn’t feel weirder.

Weirder still is how quickly conceptions of what’s normal, comfortable, and even convenient can change.

I’ve been sleeping in a hammock for around 70+ nights now, and by the third evening, it felt normal. Comfortable, even.

When Fain arrived last week, we had a few nights of rotating hammocks while Jack finished getting his berth ready. Each night, one of us slept on a pallet on the plywood floor, two hammocks drooping over the floor-dweller, like a lumpy, gassy Sword of Damocles. I wasn’t exactly looking forward to my turn, but when I finally stretched out on the blanket, my first thought was: Wow! So much room! This is luxurious!

My next thought was: Wow! I can’t believe I just had that thought!

Squeaky and Dante may have been a little miffed that their sleeping spots were unceremoniously annexed.

When we were still in the apartment, I was sampling instant coffees of the Illy and Hula Girl varieties. Y’know, the good stuff – to make up for the fact that I was giving up my mother-in-law’s vintage percolator, which brewed the perfect cup of coffee.

Then, as resources constricted, I picked up Sanka at the grocery store. Finally, an enormous jar of $1 Generic Instant Coffee caught my eye, and I thought: What the hell?

Y’know what? I really can’t tell much of a difference.

I had a closet full of fur and gauze and fringes back at the apartment. Now, all my clothes fit into two 1′ x 2′ plastic tubs. I’ve got a neatly rolled up “professional outfit” for those rare occasions when I actually meet with a client in person. Otherwise, I pretty much rotate through a few pairs of shorts and tank tops.

I had a large office with two Eames-style rocking chairs that no one ever rocked in, a canary yellow desk, and two enormous cork boards where I collected postcards from coffeeshops around the city. Now, I do my work in a corner of the public library. The work gets done just as well.

I do occasionally get tired of ramen noodles, oatmeal, and sandwiches – the staple fare of people with no actual kitchen appliances. But even that has its perks. When we splurge on a restaurant or a friend invites us to dinner, the taste of homemade chili or a garlic-rubbed grilled red drum brings tears to my eyes. I have a new appreciation for “real food.”

Hobo housekeeping tip: If storage is an issue, use bungee cords and grocery bags to keep your ramen noodles high and dry and add a little color to your crummy hovel, you poor bastard.

I was a little worried about Fain. After all, kids these days are soft, right? Isn’t that what the old fogies are always saying?

But no. Apparently, Fain’s adaptable, too. He immediately asked what he could do to help get this show on the road. He was eager to try out the hammock. He’s been totally satisfied to eat ramen on the floating dock. He don’t need no table. And the fact that showers aren’t as sacrosanct on a boat thrills him to no end.

Hobo housekeeping tip: No table? No problem. Flip over a handy bucket for your ramen dining experience, you hopeless transient. (When you’re done, you can flip it back over to use it as a trash can!)

Sometimes, figuring out all the moving parts in our new life feels like trying to stand up in a hammock. I can feel the shifting of reality under my feet. I feel sure I’m about to be shattered into a million pieces by discomfort and inconvenience and bad luck and stress – because it’s stressful, people. We’re out on a limb here. We’re off the map and totally clueless. The monster is swimming around the boat, and its name is Self-doubt and its brother’s name is What The Hell Were You Thinking, You Stupid Sot?

Sometimes, the temperatures soar or plummet and I feel like I can’t do another night. Sometimes, another baloney sandwich makes me want to curse the day I was born.

But honestly? Most days, it’s just weird that it’s not weirder.

About the Author:

Autumn Ware lives aboard the Sea Shanti, a 1974 Cooper Seabird sailboat, with her husband, teenage son, a dog, and two cats. She’s in the throes of writing the second adventure novel in her Perilous and Sparks series, and she's the Big Chief Copywriter at Aware Copywriting.


  1. Darla October 18, 2017 at 2:07 am - Reply

    It’s all fun and games until someone has to eat ramen. With ramen for dessert.

    • Autumn Ware October 18, 2017 at 3:08 am - Reply

      XD Been there. Done that. Though we do try to keep a stock of knock-off OREO substitutes and off-brand “toaster pastries,” a.k.a. Pop Tarts, to supplement our fine ramen selection.

  2. […] When we first moved aboard the Shanti in 2017, Jack and I were relegated to sleeping in hammocks, which were surprisingly comfortable, and then a slightly soggy foam mattress on the floor, which was exactly what you’d expect. Today, we’ve got the makings of real berths, and my air mattress is stacked with cozy blankets and the super soft pillow I gifted myself for Pillowmas, a new holiday I invented which corresponds with Christmas and amounts to a new pillow for everyone in celebration of our first night in our new beds. […]

  3. […] after another. I won’t run through the list again. Just go back and read any of my earlier blog […]

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