Monday, October 1, 2012

Great Boat Name - Willoughby

I've often written about our mostly stress free idyllic cruising/liveaboard lifestyle.   Last night, for example, was "chicken foot" night, a dominoes game.   There were 16 of us liveaboards at the marina lounge playing, laughing and giggling like kids.  My theory is that cruising makes you young.

After chicken foot, Pam and I walked the dogs and then retired to our stateroom's A/C to watch a little TV. Well, I did.  Pam quickly fell asleep.  I watched an episode of Thriller and then a couple of Twilight Zone episodes on ME TV.  The last Twilight Zone episode I watched was A Stop at Willoughby.  Rather than me try to recap this show, here's a copy and paste from Wikipedia...

Gart Williams is an overstressed New York advertising executive who has grown exasperated with his career. His overbearing boss, Oliver Misrell, angered by the loss of a major account, lectures him about this "push-push-push" business. Unable to sleep properly at home, he drifts off for a short nap on the train during his daily commute through the November snow.

He wakes to find the train stopped and changed into an 1880s railcoach, deserted except for himself. The sun is bright outside and as he looks out the window, he discovers that the train is in Willoughby and that it's July 1888. He learns that this is a "peaceful, restful place, where a man can slow down to a walk and live his life full measure." Being jerked back awake in the real world, he asks the conductor if he has ever heard of a town called Willoughby, but the conductor replies, "Not on this run . . . no Willoughby on the line."

That night, he has one more argument with his shrewish wife, Jane. Selfish, cold and uncaring, she makes him see that he is only a money machine to her. He tells her about his dream and about Willoughby, only to have her ridicule him as being "born too late," declaring it her "miserable tragic error" to have married a man "whose big dream in life is to be Huckleberry Finn."

The next week, Williams again dozes off on the train and returns to Willoughby where everything is the same as before. As he is about to get off the train carrying his briefcase, it begins to roll, returning him to the present. Williams promises himself to get off the next time he is in the village.

Experiencing a breakdown at work, he calls his wife, who abandons him in his time of need. On his way home, once again he falls asleep to find himself in Willoughby. This time, the conductor warmly beckons him to the door and Williams discards his briefcase.

Getting off the train, he is greeted by name by various inhabitants, who welcome him while he tells them that he's glad to be there and plans to stay and join their idyllic life.

The swinging pendulum of the station clock fades into the swinging lantern of a train engineer, standing over Williams' body. The modern-day conductor explains that Williams "shouted something about Willoughby", just before jumping off of the train and was killed instantly. "Poor fellah", the engineer mumbles, as the conductor nods in agreement. Williams's body is loaded into a hearse and as the back door closes, we see that it was sent by the Willoughby & Son Funeral Home.

Too bad Mr. Williams didn't just buy a boat, name it Willoughby, and cast off his lines.

Here's a link to the full episode.

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