So, about 10:30, a white lady with dyed hair and fancy glasses rolls up in a black mercedes and parks outside my shipwright Diana Talley's boatshop. I can see her. She can see me - in my paint dusty jeans, purple gloves and '08 Festival hoody. Diana & I had just finished painting one side of PAX and were perched on the scaffolding stirring in the Penetrol to start rolling and tipping the second side.
"Diana here?" the lady calls while swinging her hips and shoulders toward us in that way people do when they come to the country with a bunch of money, or in this case, the boatyard.
"Yes, she's here. We're painting." I said, sensing she was on a mission and wanting her not to bug us right this moment.
Around the bow out of sight, double checking the tape, loading her brush and adjusting the old kindergarten chair she uses when painting, Diana asked who it was. I shrugged, clueless. Then the lady called out again and Diana recognized her voice. There was something in the way she reached for the Penetrol.
"Hi," Diana shouted out from the back of the boat. "We're painting."
Without breaking stride, the lady blew past me and for the next 15 minutes, went through at least 5 tacks of cajoling to get Diana down to their boat next week to give a bid on a big interior job. I watched the paint curdle on one brush.
"Probably 5 figures," she said, ignoring me and ignoring PAX's paint.
Diana politely, but firmly suggested she hire someone else nodding a head toward PAX and the other way toward Pete's boat. Next round of pleas. Firmly, but politely Diana said "No." Last round. Firmly, but politely said, "I'm working. We're done."
Turns out, she'd worked for the lady before.
"Loyalty. Listening. Respect for the workers. Takes more than money to get a job done at this shop. Let's paint," she said.
I smiled and dipped the roller. We've been through a lot over seven years, this shipwright and I. From my planks to frames, from varnish to hull paint, from a blank slate interior and cockpit, her work is all over the boat. Glad she's put up with me.