…Helmut emerged, a bit confused as to why I was there.
“Yes?” He asked.
“Um. Hi. Yeah, I was just wondering if you needed some help coming into the marina? You know about the cyclone right?”
“Yes.” He replied. “I’ve been listening to the weather on the radio every hour. I don’t want to go to that dock. I HATE that dock. I hate those people over there. And I HATE that little dog that yaps all the time.”
I tried not to giggle.
“But it looks like we’re going to get hit. You can’t stay out here. It’s too dangerous. Come on, I’ll help you with the lines. And I’ve got some earplugs for the dog.”
Helmut invited me aboard while we waited for the next weather report. The little space was crammed with gismos and gadgetry. He quickly explained.
“I don’t buy any of this stuff. I find it at the ‘supermarket’.”
“Which supermarket? I asked.
He grinned and replied, “You call it the ‘trash bin’.”
He toured me through ‘Einhorn’, showing me all the treasures he’d found in the boatyard ‘supermarket’ at 5 am each morning. “And I found this battery regulator last year. It took me three weeks to fix it, but it’s working now.”
“Hey, that was my regulator!!” I declared.
“Zank you, then.” He grinned smugly.
I looked around with wonder. Everything I saw there had been recycled. He had old fans out of computers cooling the cabin, a stack of flattened cereal boxes was his writing tablet. He sewed all his own clothes, hats, and cushion covers from thrown out material. He caught fish on his evening rows and lived off a few hundred dollars a month from the government.
The radio screeched and the voice came through reporting cyclone warning for winds to more than 80 knots in our area.
“Come on, then.” I encouraged. He finally caved and we prepped Einhorn, untied the mooring line, and headed for the marina together. We secured him to the dock, as far away as possible from ‘Missy’, the yappjng terrier. Then I dove with his bowlines and tied them to the big cement block underwater.
Since that day, despite his loathing and distrust for nearly everyone else around here (“those ….suckers!”), Helmut tolerates me for a cup of tea or his specialty dish of mango ice cream once or twice a week. I slyly encourage him to look for the positive, but at the same time, Helmut gives me reason to question what I throw away, further reduce my consumption, and continue to strive daily to decrease my earthly impact for the benefit of ALL beings.