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Living on a boat | Exciting denouement, working sockets and oliebollen

Week 5: How working sockets (and charging cords) make it just a little easier and a roar of laughter makes your day perfect.

"Well, then it should work now," my ex says. He helps with installing the electrical outlets in our boat. I don't know much about electricity myself. Fortunately, I have him as a help and I also gain knowledge that way. It turns out I can help others with that. My ex, who I prefer to call 'a friend', with our relationship of ten including eight years of marriage on the clock, walks to the forward cabin and plugs the plug into a socket. His phone's screen doesn't light up. 'Huh? How is that possible?!' he wonders aloud. 

'Um, no idea… A knot in the cable perhaps?' I suggest. "Uh, what?" Quiet for a moment. Then he starts laughing. 'No crazy!'
"Yes, I know a lot."

Also read: Living on a boat | This is Shem de Labric
Also read: Living on a boat | Unwanted visit, bad nights and still that freedom

Try new place

Watching a bird fly by, I think of this afternoon's fairly long bike ride. We are a lot further than usual by boat when I have to work. Purely to experience whether that is also doable. And yes: in half an hour it is perfectly possible to cycle. Also a nice berth. A little freer again.

Knot your cable

I downshift and stop at a traffic light that just turns orange. 

'I already know!!' I suddenly hear next to me. The theatrical sigh of my client, a fifty-year-old man with intellectual disability, shows that it is serious. 

"What do you already know?" I ask and step on the brake of the bus we're driving just a little too hard. He holds the cord of his telephone in the air demonstratively. I think of the times we found his phone not charged again. Inexplicable, it seemed. The opposite was true. It often happens that the cord is in his telephone, but not in the socket. And well, then you can of course wait until you weigh an ounce. 

'Yes, of course my phone is always empty!' he shouts slightly irritated. 

'Really?' What then?' I ask, looking in the rear-view mirror to make sure I didn't cause an accident. 

'Look!' He points to the knot in the cord. His look is serious.

"Tell me it's not true!" I shout startled. No smoking cars behind me and the bus we're driving doesn't seem to rattle any more than usual.

'Yes, oliebol!' he shouts laughing. The relief can be read on his face. 

'Young boy, I didn't see that!' I call. "Is that why we always have an empty phone?"

"Yaaaa!" he shouts. His grin grows wider. His eyes sparkle. I can't hold back my laughter. I grab the cable to quickly untie the knot and plug one end into his phone, the other into the cigarette lighter. The screen lights up. A roar of laughter is heard from the passenger seat.

"See, bag of chips!" laughs the Bassie & Adriaan fan and claps his hands.

'Boy o boy! Frikandel!' I follow.

'Uwl chick!'

"Hey uh…" I say in a low voice. He looks at me theatrically startled and tries to
guess if I'm serious or maybe I'm just kidding him. After a moment of silence I continue: 'Drums, drommels, drommels!' That roar again.

A connection was missing

The power-savvy friend looks through the cabin from over his reading glasses. He clearly has a hunch. In a cartoon, a light would appear above his head with a sort of pling sound.

"Wait a minute," he says. 'I can already see…' What he sees is still a mystery to me. He rummages through the 'meter box' and then returns to the cabin. He proudly shows his glowing phone screen and says, "Look, now it works." 

"What was going on then?"

'I missed a connection,' he says, followed by a number of technical terms incomprehensible to me. 

"Yeah," I sigh. 'Fruit doughnut!'

Also read: Living on a boat | Would you do that?!

Sem de Labri

My name is Sam and I am 33 years old. Three months ago I made the choice to give up my house and live on my boat. Together with friend and dog, on about 12 square meters. We live in a region in the Netherlands and sail from place to place, we continue on holidays and we spend the winter at a permanent place in a marina.

I love to write and I like to do that on board. Especially now that I have more space in my head because I have fewer financial worries, have gotten a more relaxed life on the water (of course with ups and downs because many things are new) and also have to work less. My ultimate dream is to make a living from writing and no longer be location-bound, so that I can go wherever I want with my boat, possibly combined with a camper.

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