Thursday, October 26, 2006

Wheels on the Bus

The wheels on the bus go
round and round,

round and round,
round and round.

The wheels on the bus go
round and round,

all through the town.

Who is that guy? What is he saying? I hate these blasted Laser sailors? How can he keep the boat upright in these winds? What's that he says? Something about wipers?

Oops. Ignore that paragraph. My writing coach says that you should put things in logical order and not confuse your readers (and not use "you" when you mean "I") so let me start this story at the beginning and not the end.

It all started a month ago when we visited our 10-month-old granddaughter in Massachusetts for a couple of days before heading off to Europe and our trip to Minorca Sailing. Someone had given her this fantastic book by Paul Zelinsky based on the children's song Wheels on the Bus.
The book is an amazing feat of paper engineering with wheels that go round, doors that open and shut, babies whose mouths move when they cry, windshield wipers that really swish, and so on, plus a few visual sub-plots not in the original song. I started reading my granddaughter the book, and singing her the song, and as so often happens with kids that age she loved to look at the book and hear the song over and over and over again.

The horn on the bus goes
Beep, beep, beep;

Beep, beep, beep;

Beep, beep, beep.
The horn on the bus goes
Beep, beep, beep,
all through the town.

So the dotty song was still going around my head when we arrived in Menorca.

Then one windy day in the first week we were hanging out at the beach after lunch and a crowd of sailors was discussing what boats they were going to sail in the race that afternoon. RS 800? RS 700? 59er? 49er? One rather timid fellow looked at the whitecaps on the bay and told the crowd that he would probably race in a Laser Stratos.


The Stratos is a sturdy stable boat that is used at Minorca Sailing mainly as a beginner training boat, especially for groups of children. One member of the group (not me -- honest) ridiculed his friend's choice of craft by starting to sing in a sarcastic tone...

The wheels on the bus go
round and round,

round and round,
round and round.
The wheels on the bus go
round and round,
all through the town.

He got the message.

Later on in the holiday I was out racing in a Laser on a day when the wind was really honking and there were boats capsizing all over the bay. By this stage of the vacation I was pretty comfortable with the heavy stuff and I was having a blast hiking like a lunatic and torquing the boat through the waves. I was having so much fun that I started singing that annoying song again.

The wipers on the bus go
Swish, swish, swish;

Swish, swish, swish;
Swish, swish, swish.
The wipers on the bus go
Swish, swish, swish,

all through the town.


I sang it as I cruised past capsized boats. I sang it as I lapped Radial and 4.7 sailors who were in the same race as me. I sang it upwind and downwind. Above the noise of the wind and the waves my fellow sailors couldn't exactly hear what I was shouting. They just looked puzzled. Or stared at me as if I had gone crazy.

The weird thing was that the more I sang the better I sailed. I stopped worrying about whether I would wipe out on the next gybe, or thinking about how much my quads were burning, or trying to calculate whether some asymmetric sailing downwind at a weird angle would cut me up, and as a result I just relaxed. I was on automatic pilot as I sang the dopey kid's song at the top of my voice.

So if you go to a Laser regatta next year and hear some funny-looking old guy singing something about buses and drivers and wheels... it will probably be me.

Just smile as I overtake you.

The wheels on the bus go
round and round,

round and round,
round and round.
The wheels on the bus go
round and round,
all through the town.


12 comments:

Anonymous said...

About deleting a blog : I recently deleted mine called "my random blog" to replace it by "threefold twenty" in the new blogger beta version. Straight away afterwards when I checked, I got a 'not found' notice but a couple of days later, another blog had taken its place with my own former url address.
After enquiring with the blogger team, here's what they said:

"To answer your question, your URL was deleted when you deleted your blog; however, it appears someone created a blog and used your former URL as soon as you vacated it. This is a common tactic of individuals who seek to capture popular URLs and set up spam sites at those locations. If you notice anything unusual appearing at that site, please feel free to use the "Flag" feature to bring it to our attention."

So, good folks, beware! Some sly bastards have so little imagination that they have to prey on your blog's url address when you delete it!
You have been warned... and keep blogging!

joe "still searching for that cupholder" rouse said...

In honor of the song, I'm renaming you the sailing gnome. Maybe Rafi will show up at the docks and play you a song or two.

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/wheels.htm

Tillerman said...

I'm not sure that anyone would notice the difference between the drivel I write here and spam. Maybe this blog has already been taken over by the sly bastards?

AdriftAtSea said...

Now you're beginning to worry me... you're singing "The wheels on the bus"...hmm...very disturbing...

Tillerman said...

I agree. Very disturbing.

Wavedancer said...

It looks like putting wheels on your Laser put you in the zone....

EVK4 said...

The sails on the boat go
"whoosh whoosh whoosh"
"whoosh whoosh whoosh"
the sails on the boat go
"whoosh whoosh whoosh"
all around the course

the vang on the boat goes
"pop pop pop"
"pop pop pop"
the vang on the boat goes
"pop pop pop"
all around the course

the skipper on the boat goes
"yikes yikes yikes"
"yikes yikes yikes"
the skipper on the boat goes
"yikes yikes yikes"
all around the course

Or something like that. boats make a lot of noises that I couldn't even find a good Onomatopoeia for. So I made up the scared skipper noise, I'm aware that doesn't happen on a laser.

EVK4 said...

Joe, I have a spare cupholder I took off one of my el toros, do you need it to join the "cruising class"?

Tillerman said...

Things happen so fast on a Laser that the scared skipper noise is actually, "Oh sh.., splash, glug, glug glug."

Carol Anne said...

In this part of the world, the skipper on the boat goes "¡ay ay ay!" (An English approximation of the pronunciation: "EYE-yigh-yiigh!")

Akka said...

Your story about 'wheels on the bus' brought back fond memories of my youth. When my skipper, Dick Hedelburger, and I were 16 years old or so, we used to pick a repetitive jingle or song and sing it, soto voce, all around the race course. It helped us 'zone in'. Not sure if it helped, but we sure won a lot of races singing things like 'This is the Book of Love'. Years later, when my wife Andi and I were trying to compete with the hot-shots in 470s, I used to sing 'Slip sliding away'. We didn't win as many races as Dick and I had, but I think it helped me keep from focusing on one thing, like jib tell-tales, and get in the zone. I don't race much anymore, but I do get out occasionally. Maybe next time I'll try singing 'Wheels on the Bus'.

Rob Overton

Anonymous said...

I do this while skiing and sailing, i'll sing any random song thats got stuck in my head, and it works great, you dont over think things you just go with your instinct which usually tends to be right.

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