Life is full of valuable lessons. Here's one I learnt while working on boats.
At the time, Skipper Boyfriend and I were working on different boats which happened to be in the same port. I would crash on his boat at night and return to mine for work in the morning.
One night I woke up terrified, somehow I knew, that the person next to me wasn't Skipper Boyfriend.
Fear, guilt and adrenalin raced through my body.
Who was it? Was it a blood sucking vampire who had snuck in during the night? (if so was he cute?) Was it a gross old man with lots of back and butt-hair? What would Skipper Boyfriend say and where the hell was he?
I didn't want to wake up who or whatever was next to me, so I slowly and very quietly eased myself off bed and snuck out of the cabin. I was silently panicking and desperately wanted to escape the boat as fast as possible.
But I needed something to wear.
It was summer and I'd fallen asleep in my birthday suit.
With my heart in my mouth, I tip-toed out past the other snoring crew members, up to the fly bridge and to my goal, the clothes line. I grabbed my bikini off the line and wiggled into it, ready to make my bid for freedom.
What I was planning to do after getting off the boat, I really don't know.
As I reached over to pick up a towel, I happened to glance over at the neighbouring boat's back deck.
On this back deck there was a group of sunburned, middle-aged men smoking and drinking. They were at that bleary eyed, back slapping, tall stories part of the night. Where everyone is talking loudly, someone is dribbling and no one is listening.
That's when I woke up.
I was sleep walking.
I'd done it before, but never to this extent.
Ducking down behind the helms-chair, I hid in the dark.
I stayed there motionless for a while, listening and waiting to return to my normal colour. It didn't seem like I'd been spotted. I then sort of commando crawled back to the flybridge ladder and slid downstairs, tip-toed back past the still snoring crew and to my cabin.
Once at the cabin, I was however, unable to completely shake off that feeling of intense unease. Feeling silly and more than a little irrational, I snapped the light on and whipped the blanket off the bed.
No monsters, no vampires, no hairy old men with butt hair, just a very disgruntled and sleepy Skipper Boyfriend wondering what the hell I was doing waking him up at three o'clock in the morning. And why was I dressed to go to the beach?
It was a bit awkward.
Him: "what are you doing?"
Me: "Err, just checking that it's you and not someone else"
Him: "oh right........... .... huh?"
So here's the valuable life lesson that no one ever thinks to mention: if you are prone to sleep walking and you live in a boat or in shared accommodation, don't sleep naked, it won't end well.