Our Town – March 2023

The Soupster chats with his boat.

The Soupster chats with his boat.

Sitting in the waiting area of the auto center, book in hand, the Soupster was passing time while he got an oil change. Distracted by the people coming in to drop off their keys or beg for a last-minute appointment, the Soupster surmised that at least 75% of issues revolved around vehicle electronic systems.

“So, there’s this light on the dashboard which never goes out and is accompanied by this message about the tires being under-inflated, but they aren’t under-inflated – I’ve checked! And then, it goes on to say it’s safe to drive as long as I ‘don’t go over 80 mph’ – well, really!”

Another client moaned, “The windows will never go up and down when I push the buttons. Then, a message flashes up – something about the battery draining – but then it goes away. I would have looked in the manual, but I brought it in the house the last time my grandson was here, and I’m not sure where it is.”

“Oh, and my car just locks the doors whenever it feels like it, even if I have not pushed anything, so I always have to carry the fob with me!”

The Soupster, marveling at these exchanges, picked up a nearby boating magazine whose cover boasted an article entitled “How I converted my boat to electric.”

The article touted the many benefits of electrifying one’s boat – obviously, reduced fossil fuel consumption, but also using “high output alternators to load up to 9kW of power to the batteries, allowing on-board luxuries such as espresso and ice makers.” It also described how to “boost your boat’s energy by replacing existing batteries with high capacity lithium batteries with electronic battery management systems.”

Ah, yes, thought the Soupster – lithium ion batteries – those were the ones that you couldn’t mail or take on an airplane. Well, that made sense, thought the very drowsy Soupster, because it’s not like a boat ever had to travel on a plane.

But what kinds of messages might an  electronic management system on his boat emit?

“Are you sure you want to go to Tenakee Springs, Soupster? You know you have to go through Sergius Narrows and you can only do that at slack tide?? I could help with that, of course.”

“Yes, Bruce, I want to visit there and see some of my Tenakee friends – they are lovely people, and very innovative in emergencies.”

“But Soupster, I have heard that they don’t have any bathrooms.”

“Well, Bruce, they do have a lovely hot mineral springs public bath.”

“Remember, Soupster, you can’t eat any chips on your trip to Tenakee, because they could tweak your BP.”

“OK, Bruce, I will comply.”

“And you should definitely wear your inflatable suspenders, Soupster, both for safety, and because they compliment the color of your eyes!”


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