Original owner. Fresh water only. Well maintained. The mythical unicorn of used boats. And realistically priced to boot! OK, maybe we’re only window shopping for another boat, but this one catches my eye. The right size at the right price in the right condition. I call the broker. He confirms that the boat is all that and a bag of chips, and sends me a list of even more great features that didn’t make the ad. New batteries. Barrier coated. New mainsail. The owner even has the dinnerware and sheets that came with the boat, in their original, unopened packaging. I’m starting to get giddy. They say good luck is the result of preparation meeting opportunity. I’ve already talked to the bank. We’re fine there. I do a quick estimate of transport and insurance costs. We can swing this! We might have to cut back on the Starbucks runs until we get our present boat sold, but this is doable. I call the broker back. “Is the owner firm on that number, or will he consider offers?” I ask. “He’ll consider an offer,” he assures me. “OK, I’ll be in touch.” This is huge. This could change our lives. It’s Friday afternoon. We never make huge, life changing decisions on the spur of the moment. Let’s take the weekend to think about it.
I evaluate a boat. Rhonda feels a boat. While I’m diving into lockers and tracing wires and hoses, she opens her mind to its aura. We’re both working through the same mental calculus – will this boat be good to us – we just arrive at our answers by different routes. We bought our current boat because she says it hugged her when she stepped aboard. It all starts with the name. It’s hard to get a good feeling about a boat that’s badly named. “What’s she called?” Rhonda asks. I tell her. She thinks about the name and its meaning and smiles. By the end of the weekend we’re practicing saying it, mentally test driving it, trying her on for size. “This one just feels right,” I tell her. “OK, here we go then,” she says on Sunday evening.
It’s Monday now. I force myself to wait until lunchtime before calling. Don’t want to appear too anxious. If it’s meant to be, it will be. I speak to the broker. “Is the boat still on the market or have you gotten an offer?” “She’s still for sale, although someone did come by twice this weekend to look at her.” My heart sinks for a moment, but then I think he’s just trying to work me. “OK, we’d like to make an offer.” I think it’s a fair price. Ninety-seven percent of what the seller is asking. Just a few thousand off to help with the transport fees. “I’ll present the offer and get back to you within 24 hours,” he tells me. I spend the day alternating between excitement and fear. It’s a big step, the first of what could be many, and change is hard.
Tuesday comes. The day crawls by. At lunchtime, my phone rings. I glance at the screen and smile. It’s the broker. “What do you have for me?” I ask. “I just wanted to let you know that the seller has rejected your offer.” That’s OK, I anticipated that. This is a negotiation, after all. “Well, I’ll counter back with a full-price offer,” I say. “I’m sorry, but another offer came in after yours,” the broker says. “After rejecting your offer, he accepted the other one.”
My mind momentarily freezes. This wasn’t supposed to happen. We spent the entire weekend practicing the name and taking her for leisurely sails in our minds. “But you said he was open to offers,” I protest. “He doesn’t think he should have to take less than he’s asking,” the broker replies. Maybe you should have told me that when I asked, I think.
So we let go. It hurt. But if it’s meant to be, it will be. And this obviously wasn’t our fate. Or was it…?