After an inconvenient delay which the British people utilised to have a good ol’ moan, I am aboard. That’s right.
I’m on a boat.
But I wasn’t always this enthusiastic. Far from it. I used to be terrified of this very situation. Floating precariously on perilous waters, aboard a huge, metal death-box. At age 10, as far as I was concerned I’d be extremely lucky to make it across the sea alive. In my mind, the chances of the ferry sinking like a dead stone to the bottom of the Irish Sea were highly likely.
Perhaps my parents allowed me to watch too many disaster movies as an infant. My tormented young mind dreamt up unmitigated disasters for fun. To taunt me. Probably as advanced vengeance for all the shit I was to put it through in the future.
The range of my fears was impressive. I’d recently learnt about pathetic fallacies, so ferries crashing into other ferries amidst a thick, sea fog was almost a certainty. I thought ferry crashes were as common as M62 pile-ups. Our Stenaline would t-bone a P&O and both ships would be plunged in to the murky depths. Those who didn’t drown would frantically tread water in an attempt to stay afloat, to stay alive. Sadly, their attempts would be counter-productive. As their kicking and screaming only succeeding in attracting a much more deadly adversary than the icy waters of the Irish Sea – great white sharks.
Oh, you didn’t know? The Irish Sea is densely populated with great white sharks. Sharks so powerful that a single bite could easily bring down a huge ship. It was a simple way to achieve sustainable sources of nutrition. The shark would sink the ship and then menacingly circle any flailing survivors and pick them off one by one until it’s appetite was wholly suppressed.
Failing a shark attack, the engine would probably cease. Or maybe we’d hit an iceberg. It’s happened before. But if nature or mechanics didn’t provide the catalyst to my terror, it would almost certainly be the fault of my immediate family. I was petrified that someone would fall overboard and drown before my prepubescent eyes, scarring me for life.
Another possibility is that severe sea sickness would set in. It’s not uncommon that a person vomits so violently that they expel the entire contents of their skeleton. Appendix, adrenals, intestines, everything. You could attempt to stuff it all back in, but even if you did it’s difficult to ensure everything is in the right place. You’d end up with a bladder for a heart, a spleen for a stomach, a pancreas for a prostate and kidneys where your lungs should be.
Had I known about terrorism at that young age I’d have probably convinced myself that an IRA, Taliban conglomerate would target us and blow us to smithereens. Scattering scrap metal and severed limbs all over the unsuspecting citizens of the Isle of Man.
Even as I type this I’m hearing a safety announcement. It doesn’t fill me with confidence, suggesting that even the captain has his doubts. It does very little to assure my safety. But if I do die, at least I’ll go out using free Wi-Fi-. Yeah! I can even update my Facebook status. Sean McGeady is drowniniangfidogaiennnndi'[fg;anfd.
Still, I’m not 10 anymore. I’m 19. I’m over those fears. I’ve grown up. Besides my concerns now focus on a much more imminent threat.
Just as I banish my lifelong fear of sharks I’m suddenly struck by an alarming fear of horses. The sheer amount of horse-boxes I passed whilst navigating the docks was frankly intimidating. Ballinroe International Horse Transport, Emerald Horse Transport, Cannibal Horse Transport, the list goes on.
On this vessel I’d estimate that the horses outnumber us humans at least 3:1. Though that’s only an approximate figure, think about it, it only takes on angry stallion to break out of his box and release his enraged equine cohorts before we have a full scale sea riot. Horses galloping freely aboard all eight decks, casually cantering through the corridors of the HMS Horsebox. It would be a massacre. A rampaging tornado of hooves and manes.
If they did take over, which they will, I wouldn’t hesitate to submit to their authority. This ain’t Nakatomi Plaza and I ain’t John McClane. I’m no hero. I’d happily fellate a Friesian if my life was on the line. We all would. I’d do anything to prevent death by trampling of having my throat torn out by the great white teeth of Shadowfax.
Before I’m savaged my crazy horses I may have taken my own life. I seriously considering smashing the glass that housed my whiskey and driving the shards into my own oesophagus before barrel rolling overboard. What’s the reason for my suicidal tendencies? Children.
Rather, a particular child. A child sat behind me who I suspect is named Shakira. She’s wailing. Screaming. I hope her mother is staring over my shoulder and reading what I’m typing, and I hope she does the humane thing and catapults her kid over the horizon.
You may think I’d empathise with this child. She’s probably experiencing the same unnatural terrors I faced. But I don’t care. Not only have I grown up. I’ve grown angry. Angry at the world. That’s what age does to you.
It seems no matter what my age or maturity, I’m destined to die aboard this bateau.
Maybe I’ll cheer up a bit when I see the majestic sun rise above the glittering ocean, scattering celestial light in all directions, shining brightly on my sclera as I somnolently sip my tea and greet passers-by with a glorious smile.