Dear Mr. Meanie Pants,
My name is Jason. I’m the inconsiderate SOB with the two obnoxious dogs on his boat. That’s right, I’m the jerk who accidently left them in the cockpit for an hour when I went ashore. You remember, right? For a whole hour, they wouldn’t shut up. They “yapped” at every passing boat. They really pissed you off and there was no consoling you. You even tried to board my boat while we were gone to shut the dogs up. They flashed their teeth and snarled hearty “@#$% OFF”, so you retreated to your boat to blast us on the Cruisers Net. Then you sat in your dinghy and waited by our boat for me to return. When I did, you threatened to cut our anchor. You threatened much more.
Needless to say, I’m not your biggest fan Mr. Meanie Pants. But after a day or so of reflection, I realize I need to thank you. Seriously, I do. I know it sounds absurd. You spat at my outstretched hand and refused to accept my apologies. You lashed out at Kelley for trying as well. You made a big embarrassing show; shouting epithets, warnings and threats against us “bastard Americans.” Most irritating of all; when I stopped apologizing and offered you a chance to follow through, you tucked tail and hustled back to your boat… still wailing epithets.
Mr. Meanie Pants, thanks to you, the next few hours really sucked. I sat in my cockpit feeling dejected. We had just arrived in Marsh Harbour and you were our welcoming committee. Did the rest our neighbors feel the same way you did? We need to be in Marsh Harbour for a few days. Will we do so as pariahs? Kelley was embarrassed and a little shaken up. She was already looking at the charts. And me? I started to fume. I mean really fume. What’s worse, I didn’t have your face to take it out on. I needed to remedy that, and against Kelley’s objections, I was seriously considering it. Luckily for us both, I didn’t need to.
You see, Mr. Meanie Pants, a few hours after your temper tantrum, Jan and Bob from a neighboring trawler came over. They didn’t come to exact their pound of flesh I as had anxiously anticipated. They came to apologize… For You. They witnessed the entire scene and hoped it hadn’t soured us on Marsh Harbour, the Bahamas or cruising in general. “Not all of us grey hairs are like that,” Bob chuckled. Jan quipped that I shouldn’t “… blame Canada for THAT Canadian.” We chatted and laughed. Before they left, I apologized again for the dogs. They waved me off. We were fine.
A short while later, Sid, Cate and their dog, Mr. Bojangles stopped by. Sid was apparently in town all day but Cate witnessed your little tirade. Mr. Meanie Pants, let me tell you, she did not have very many nice things to say. She felt almost as bad as we did. But as we talked, the topic quickly faded and we chatted about sailing with pups, let our dogs get acquainted, and generally moved on. We setup a doggie play date and I gave a relieved wave as they went back to their boat.
When they left, I was feeling much better. I didn’t want to rip your face off anymore. Kelley stopped pouring over the charts. I made us drinks and we finally started settling in. Before night’s end, we were visited by Raffi and Lisa. Rick and Linda stopped by too. With each visit, I felt more and more welcome; more and more at ease. The next day I learned the essential cruising dominoes games, “Chicken Foot” and “Mexican Train” from Rick, Linda and host of their friends. Kelley and I had sundowners with Raffi and Lisa. Shortly after we all hit the town together for Marsh Harbor’s Junkanoo festival. In the few days that followed we met many more people at the cruisers pot luck and other events we were graciously invited to.
I don’t know where you are now Mr. Meanie Pants. You slinked off under cover of darkness the very night we met. When I woke up the next morning you were gone. I wouldn’t have done this then anyway, but I have no other way to reach you now. So Mr. Meanie Pants, if you’re reading this letter, Thank You. If it weren’t for you, we may never have met these wonderful people. I might have never learned how to play Chicken Foot, or Mexican Train. If it weren’t for you, Kelley and I might have felt on the outside of a tight-knit and settled cruising community, rather than a new member of one. So again, from Kelley, Dewey, Riley and most especially, me… THANK YOU.
I hope we meet again Mr. Meanie Pants. I hope I can tell you about our great time in Marsh Harbour and how you helped make it happen. I hope you feel as welcome as I feel now… when I give you a great big hug. (Although I won’t be disappointed if you squirm instead.)
Jason (That SOB)