If it all works out, a lobsterman will move into my Southwest Harbor home this weekend. Perfect timing. A major relief for me to have the house occupied through howling winds, ice and snow. Winter renters have moved in and out over the past nine years. Some great, some awful. A seamstress I had to evict, a lovely young woman dentist from Montana, teachers, a documentary filmmaker, a family waiting for their new retirement home to be finished, a Hungarian College of the Atlantic student and her older boyfriend with his art collection.
I’ve only spoken with said lobsterman twice. Each time he sounded like he was half-asleep or drinking too many beers after a hard day at sea. I guess it doesn’t matter what he does as long as he keeps the place clean, pays his rent on time, and makes sure that the pipes don’t freeze.
“He’s a pretty decent guy. I taught him how to play the drums in school,” another lobsterman who’s the son of a good friend told me today. “He used to be a partier but hey, that was three or four years ago.” And what, now he’s 25? Okay, I regress. If he sleeps a lot and is relatively quiet, or maybe even shy, that’s a lot better than my very worse tenants.
She was — and still is — a Southwest Harbor yoga teacher. She and her husband had three beautiful, shaggy blond-haired children. That didn’t stop the kids from drawing on the walls with crayons, carving their initials in the dining room table, with parents who were adept at lying, taking stuff and leaving dog hair all over. Bad karma indeed.
I’ll bet the lobsterman will be just fine. He went to last year’s tenant’s good-bye party. She told me today that she really didn’t know him, but he was very nice. I also heard from his previous landlord that he kept his place clean and paid his rent on time. He graduated from the University of Maine “two or three years ago.” Even though he’s a young fellow he just couldn’t remember.
I remember a now long-deceased doctor who moved his family to Maine so he could become a lobsterman. The doc tried it for a while but it was just too hard, the story went. I know a woman in her 50s who loves being a stern man, heading out the Western Way in the dark when most people are still sleeping. In July I’m often awakened by the chug-chug-chugging of diesel engines leaving the harbor, just down the path in the field behind my bedroom window.
Lobstering is honest work. Most of my renters have been honest, decent people. Some have become friends, even left books for me that they’ve written. There were the renters who said “your house feels like a hug.” I appreciate that.