Michael J. Fitzgerald has been a journalist for 40 years, working as a writer and editor for newspapers, magazines and web publications. In 2014 he published the novel, "The Fracking War." In 2015, he published his second novel, "Fracking Justice." He writes or contributes to five blogs. He and his wife Sylvia Fox are the owners and principal partners in *subject2change Media, a multi-media firm involved in print, video and broadcast. He writes a weekly column, "Write On" for the daily 'Finger Lakes Times' newspaper in Geneva, NY. He was a journalism professor at CSU Sacramento from 1986 to 2011 teaching Newswriting, Column Writing and Magazine Writing.
PARADISE VILLAGE MARINA, Nayarit, Mexico -- It's called 'lurking' and it's similar on a boat to the kind of lurking people are most used to in chat rooms on the internet. On a boat, however, the lurking is listening to people's conversations.
Here in Puerto Vallarta, when you want to contact someone on another boat, you hail them on Channel 22: 'MoMo, MoMo, MoMo, Sabbatical.' Then, provided MoMo has her radio on (and wants to answer your hail) she comes back and says 'Pick a channel Sabbatical.' And when we pick that channel and move off to say, Channel 21, Channel 23, or Channel 68, a lot of people sitting at their radios on their boats, (bored or just nosey) follow you from 22 to 21, 23 or 68.
Moments ago, I heard two Paradise Village boats chattering about mounting a bus-ride expedition to La Cruz to hear some local band. Then, perhaps completely coincidentally, another boat called and asked if they were doing anything tonight, like, um, going to listen to any music anywhere.
The lurking is so commonplace, that you have to assume that someone is listening to your radio conversations, however banal they might be. Hmmm. Kind of like in the U.S. with the federal government.
As I write this, two more boats (besides the three I already mentioned) are now talking about the possibility of (this is SUCH a surprise) going to La Cruz to hear some local band. Oops. Just now someone just came on and said 'Attention the Fleet, Attention the Fleet, does anyone know if there is any music playing in La Cruz tonight.' Nice try, but we all know they were lurking and are trying to wangle an invitation to jump in someone's car instead of having to ride one of the buses that could have been used in the filming of Night of Iguana in 1954.
Sabbatical's crew is staying home tonight after a string of social engagements (no potluck on the boat tonight, either). Steamed vegetable and tamales from the local market are on the menu, in addition to a fine Mexican white wine -- Calafia blanco.
But then, the music doesn't start until 9 p.m. and it's only 7 p.m. and the vegetables are ready to serve and we don't have the cable tv hooked up anymore and...
'MoMo, MoMo, MoMo, Sabbatical. Any music in La Cruz tonight?'