33. How’s the trip going, Ava?


Stuck in West Palm Beach, FL due to weather

Out of the past seven days we have been sitting on the boat for five days and a bit off the boat for two. On those free days we walked into town for some movies and groceries, but have, for the most part, lain low. When the winds kick up, it is hard to get to land, so we hibernate. Therefore, I don’t have much to report. Instead, I am posting a chat I had with Ava about the trip. I’m not very good at interviewing, but thought I’d try this idea out. Let me know what you think…


AT:       OK. So this is an interview on the eighth month of our trip and I have some questions about how it’s all going for you. My first question to you would be, at this point, what is it you miss the most about home?

AW:     School.

AT:       Like, going to school?

AW:     Yeah, I have much better teachers [there].

AT:       Do you miss the routine of school?

AW:     Yeah, sure.

AT:       Friends? The social life?

AW:     Yeah, you and dad don’t really, like…

AT:       gossip about other kids.

AW:     No, like, you don’t really make time for me to do school so… That’s [school at home] sort of like you set time you have to go to school.

AT:       Right. Now, you have to kind of negotiate around what we’re doing for the day. Like today.

AW:     Yeah, this interview, and then we’re going to land, and blah, blah, blah.

AT:       OK, so you miss school. Anything else… about home? Your cat?

AW:     I don’t have a cat.

AT:       Oh, I’m sorry.

AW:     I would miss my cat. I miss Sebastian. [a neighborhood cat that comes over and we let in our house for play.] I guess he’s kind of my cat. I don’t know. It’s weird to be lonely but to never be actually alone. It’s like you’re always there and I don’t really like it.

AT:       Right, right, but let’s think about are there any other things you miss about home?

AW:     Yeah, I miss being alone. I don’t ever get to be alone.

AT:       What do you think, like when you get back, what are some of the projects you think you’d like to try or do?

AW:     Projects?

AT:       Projects, ideas, things… Like on board here you’re doing some gardening. That might be a project now or…

AW:     I don’t really think of my life in projects.

AT:       Well, what are some of the things you’d like to do when you get back?

AW:     Do you want me to get my list?

AT:       Do you have a list?

AW:     Yeah, I have a list.

AT:       Yeah, I’d love to hear it.

AW:     [Gets computer and opens file.] Oh OK, so when we get back the primaries for the Michigan gubernatorial race will almost be over. Then comes the Michigan gubernatorial general election. So, I want to start volunteering for the – I think Gretchen Whitman is going to win the Democratic nomination and we’re going to need a couple of days to settle in and by that time the primaries are going to be over. But like, I’ve been following that and I’d like to volunteer. And then, I want to… There is a Y.M.C.A. program called Youth in Government that I wanted to look into that starts in September. Then, the Model UN club at school. I want to join that and Eleanor is teaching me what those things are about. Like, the conferences, what they’re like. Then, there’s the John F. Kennedy essay contest that I want to start working for.

AT:       Oh yeah.

AW:     It’s just, you know, it’s kind of hard to do here because we have we don’t always have internet and we don’t have a library, which is really the problem.

AT:       Yeah a

AW:     I want to volunteer at the library because – I told you they just opened up their volunteering program last year to year round instead of just in the summer – which will be great. Then, Audrey said that they’re holding student government elections in the spring but that if you want to you can sort of volunteer with student government and then that gives you a better way to get on to student government. She also said that they just started a newspaper at her school, so I’m going to look into that. Oh, there’s another essay contest that’s part of the National History Day competition. I think that’s in June so that’s not for a little while. And then, they [her new school when she gets home] don’t have a JSE a club but I was going to  see if anyone at my school would be interested in that because I don’t really know anyone at my school.

AT:       What about dance and stuff?

AW:     I don’t know about dance. Audrey and I were going to start training for a marathon that we want to do in three years.

AT:       You don’t need that much time.

AW:     I know but we just, we want to do one by the end of three years. Maybe it’ll be sooner than three years. We’ll just have to see. We were going to start training for that. I mean, she’s better at running than me, so I’ll probably have to do something else.

AT:       You can come to dance with me and Mireille if you want to.

AW:     Oh yeah,  Audrey and I were going to take a salsa class at the YMCA.

AT:       Salsa…

AW:     What?! They have a salsa class and…

AT:       I just can’t see Audrey doing salsa.

AW:     Really? You can’t see Audrey doing salsa?

AT:       I can see her, like, making fun of salsa. Anyway…

AW:     ‘Cause, you know, they have a swing class

AT:       Ooooh, swing! That’s what I want to do.

AW:     And I asked her what she wanted to do and she said salsa. So, you know that’s what the girl wants.

AT:       Yeah. She’s got a Latin heart.

AW:     Yeah, I guess.

AT:       Deep down I knew she had a little Latina in her booty.

AW:     I liked that dance class I did, but mostly because of the teacher. And that teacher left. She went to go dance on a cruise ship, which is interesting.

AT:       Like, teach dance on a cruise ship?

AW:     No, be one of the performers.

AT:       Interesting.

AW:     Good luck.

AT:       She was cute.

AW:     She was cute. She was very nice, but

AT:       You didn’t like the other girls too much?

AW:     They were just kind of clicky, and they all knew each other from the school, so it wasn’t… Although there was one really nice girl that I liked, who went to WIHi, but she was a senior and she went off to college.

AT:       So, what is it you think you like the least about this trip?


[Glenn walks in the room.]


AW:     I don’t want to say it with him in the room, but dad.

AT:       No, really.

GW:     It’s ok.

AW:     I don’t know.

AT:       It doesn’t matter, you can be honest. You miss your friends or sometimes you just miss being home?

AW:     Yeah. We live really close to Audrey and I’m sad that we didn’t get a whole summer to…

You know, she has a Racquet Club membership… [joking]

AT:       Yeah, I mean they have plenty of children, so what’s another one?


AT:       What do you think has been the best part of this trip and I’m asking you sincerely I’m not asking you to make jokes.

AW:     I can’t answer it if I’m not allowed to make jokes.


AW:     I mostly miss school, and Audrey being close to us, and the library.

AT:       Libraries are good. What do you think you’ve learned the most about yourself on this trip? What have you discovered about yourself?

AW:     I don’t know.

AT:       Well, I think about it.

AW:     Was I supposed to be discovering something about myself?

AT:       Not necessarily but I can think of something.

AW:     What?

AT:       I think you thought you were going to enjoy independent learning more.

AW:     Oh yeah yeah, homeschool is bullshit.

AT:       Yeah.  You thought that that was going to be a really enjoyable to learn, but it isn’t.

AW:     I actually like other people more than I thought I did.

AT:       Yeah. There’s something you learned about yourself.

AW:     But I also don’t hate you guys as much as I thought I would.

AT:       Thanks.

AW:     Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t like you.

AT:       Would we be having a different relationship if we were living at home you think?

AW:     Yeah, it’d probably be better

AT:       Between us?

AW:     MMmhmm

AT:       I think it’d be worse.

AW:     Really? Yeah, because like you think, like, I say one mean thing to you and you blow a fuse.

AT:       You’d be saying a lot more mean things because you’d be influenced by all those mean friends of yours.

AW:     I don’t pick mean friends. Audrey’s not mean to you. Audrey loves you.

AT:       She should love me.


AT:       What has been your favorite place we’ve stopped?

AW:     Probably New York.


AT:       What part of the trip are you going to miss when you get back home?

AW:     Probably being able to sleep in.

AT:       Yeah, sleep ‘til whenever, wear pajamas all day long.

AW:     Yeah, I hate waking up early.

AT:       Yeah, it sucks.

AW:     You wake up at 4am on purpose every day.

AT:       Yeah, but waking up early sucks when you’re a teenager.


AT:       Why do you take this trip?

AW:     What do you mean why? Because my parents made me.

AT:       Would you ever do another trip like this?

AW:     On a boat you mean?

AT:       Yeah.

AW:     Without my parents?

AT:       Yeah without us maybe with different people.

AW:     I don’t think so.

AT:       No? Hmmm. Why not?

AW:     I’m not good enough at sailing.

AT:       Well let’s say that you or someone else was good enough.

AW:     It wouldn’t be a year.

AT:       How long would it be? What’s the ideal length of time?

AW:     Two weeks… I mean, I like it.

AT:       Do you?

AW:     Yeah.

AT:       Your hair looks so good right now.

AW:     Thank you. I like it.

AT:       It’s wavy.

AW:     I wetted it and scrunched it up.

AT:       Yeah. I think you should always do your hair like that.

AW:     Mom, it’s hard because my hair doesn’t like to hold anything. It will be straight by the afternoon.

AT:       Well I could do it for you.

AW:     How would you do it?

AT:       You’d have to twist it and sleep on it and then the next morning…

AW:     What do you think I did?

AT:       Yeah but you’d have to pin it in place not just roll it and go to bed.

AW:     Even when we did the sock rolls – do you remember? – That didn’t work.

AT:       Plus, we should use some setting lotion.

AW:     That sounds like a perm, mom.

AT:       No.

AW:     Or, I could just use heat on my hair.

AT:       Do you think that our relationship has gotten better since being on this trip?

AW:     No, I think close proximity makes it worse.

AT:       You used to like me more?

AW:     Like is a strong word.

AT:       You used to love me more?

AT:       Really? I think you love me more now.

AW:     I feel like we get in more fights when we’re closer together.

AT:       What other lists have you made since we’ve been out here?

AW:     Well, I made that budget list I sent you. [As if she were living independently. It included all living expenses and income.]

AT:       Oh God.

AW:     Which wasn’t even the full document.

AT:       How do you think that a trip like this can inform your future political career?

AW:     I was trying to think about that because I was drafting my college essay.

AT:       I knew it!


AW:     You have to start sometime. I don’t see why now isn’t the right time.

AT:       So, yes. So how are you going to link this trip to your desire to go into something to do with politics. I have so many ideas for this, by the way.

AW:     Tell me, tell me, tell me. You need to write my college essay for me.

AT:       You tell me your thoughts first.

AW:     Maybe you’re meeting a lot of different people and you want to, like, help them all out… AT:     Not help them out, but you meet a cross-section of people…

AW:     But the reason I want to go into politics is to help people out…

AT:       Sure, sure that’s the reason to go into any job. Right?

AW:     Please like your helping anyone out being an architect.

AT:       I’m a professor and I do help a lot of people out that way, thank you.

AW:     By giving them C’s on their first projects.

AT:       Did it, or did it not improve your essay one hundred times? [I gave her a C on one aspect of her first essay earlier in the week.] Listen I know how to teach. Don’t mess with the professor.

AW:     You are my best teacher at the moment.

AT:       At least I’m doing it.

AW:     I think I have some sort of list about Asian skin acre. I have a list for food for October.

AT:       What’s that?

AW:     Oh, for each day, I planned out what my meals would be and then I made a grocery list.

AT:       Why October?

AW:     Just because it was in October when I did this. So like I did it for but for the weeks of October because I just wanted to you know like what would be on my typical grocery list, you know. Like what would one need…

AT:       to survive. What has been your favorite boat meal?

AW:     Pork and polenta. I also like how dad always take double what we get.

AT:       He does not.


AT:       Do you miss taking showers, Av?

AW:     Yes.


AT:       Do you miss being freezing cold in Michigan?

AW:     Actually, yes, ‘cause winter’s one of my favorite months.

AT:       Seasons.

AW:     Yep that’s what I meant to say. I really like winter, I don’t know why people get down on it so bad.

AT:       Because it’s painful.

AW:     It’s not painful. Just put on a freaking jacket.

AT:       [Imitating her accent] Jaaacket. You are from the Midwest.

AW:     Making fun of my Midwest accent?

AT:       Yes.

AW:     Well I don’t think that’s very fair you know. I’m nice to you every day, a nice Midwesterner.

AT:       What’s been the best movie we’ve seen on this trip?

AW:     You know I’m not, like, a big fan of movies.

AT:       You didn’t like I, Tonya?

AW:     No, I liked I, Tonya.

AT:       You were laughing. How about what’s been your favorite bar? You’ve been to a bunch of bars.

AW:     None of them! I don’t like bars. Going to all these bars just makes me want to be…

AT:       A teetotaler?

AW:     More of a person who doesn’t drink alcohol.

AT:       yeah.

AW:     First of all, alcohol doesn’t even taste good, so I don’t know why so many people even drink it and. Like, ugh. And also, like, what is the appeal to feeling buzzed? Like, I can feel that if I just eat a couple pieces of candy. So, I don’t understand. Like, I guess it’s kind of fun but it’s only fun with other people who are also in that sort of state, but then it’s, like, not that fun. When I get super tired I kind of act like I’m drunk

AT:       You can’t know what acting drunk is until you’ve been drunk.

AW:     Well, it feels like what they do in the movies.

AT:       Well, you have to feel it to know what it is.

AW:     Whatever. I never ever want to get drunk.

AT:       I have that on tape.

AW:     What!? I’ve written in my diary.

AT:       Anyhoozle.

AW:     Anyway, I can’t go into any parties or anything because if anyone takes a picture that can be used against me… I’m already thinking about my future.

AT:       You should think about your future, but you can feel free. Barack Obama smoked pot so it’s fine.

AW:     Although, pot doesn’t seem that good either.

AT:       Don’t knock it till you try it.


3 thoughts on “33. How’s the trip going, Ava?

  1. Very interesting and enlightening blog this week. I had always predicted that Ava wouldn’t like being home/boat schooled and that she’d miss the social aspects of school. But she insisted that I was wrong. What I didn’t realize was how politically-minded she is. That could be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on what she does with it. I can definitely understand that her lack of alone time is a real concern for her. I would go nuts in the confines of a small boat with the same two people for months on end! Two weeks is about my limit too, Ava. So I say Bravo! to all 3 of you. I hope you’re able to depart West Palm soon to continue your great adventure in better weather.


  2. Great!!! The interview was wonderful and am happy to learn more about Ava’s interests. She is very matur and straight thinker. She is inspiring me to to get involved in politics, to help a little.
    I noticed your movement to Boca Raton, hopefully the weather improve so you can continue.
    Lots of love to all of you.


  3. My favorite line: “I actually like other people more than I thought I did.” Being a misanthrope is hard work. Something ya gotta be vigilant on everyday or you end up liking people and stuff.


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