Yes, he fishes lobsters for a living. He fishes with his father-in-law, and they have a boat called “Lady Clara”, after his wife. It is tradition to name boats with girls’ names. However, the real “Clara” has never been on the lobster fishing-boat, apparently it’s not very interesting if you’ve actually grown up in a fishing village.
They sail out every morning, in the season, at 3 or 4 o’clock. They sail at least 16 nautical miles from the shore, though when the time is right, you can sit off the wall in Yarmouth harbour and catch lobsters. Lobsters pinch him all the time, as he’s getting them out of their traps and weighing them. They have to be a legal weight, you know. Otherwise they go back in the sea. Lobsters at present cost 3 dollars to a pound, and considering they might spend perhaps a thousand dollars in fuel in one fishing trip, there is hardly any profit to it. Nevertheless, his eyes shine as he talks about Lady Clara.
This fascinating conversation was conducted, ironically enough, in the Hellhole for Parents, also known as the Dalplex Funzone party room, where most of the golden boy’s classmates have their birthdays. The actual Funzone isn’t that bad- it’s located in the main gym and the kids run around, having fun. The party room is horrible- a low, small room off the main gym, with no windows and only one door, and heap of sport odds and ends in one corner. The children sit around a long table and have cake and sing Happy birthday, while the parents stand and sweat and make polite conversation. At any given moment, at least one child is crying, and another two are fighting. A strong smell of pee and little boy sweat pervades the room. Like I said, Hellhole for Parents.
Mr. Lady Clara and family had travelled from their lobster-fishing village three hours to Halifax to attend this birthday. There is something intensely exciting about finding out that the adult standing next to you isn’t a computer man, or an engineer, or works in PR, or a businessman, but is actually a lobster fisher-man who does not earn his livelihood hunched over the computer, but has a boat! A boat! and spends the nights trawling the North Atlantic trapping lobsters. His wife doesn’t like lobsters, to eat. They used to use lobsters as fertilizers, before it became fashionable expensive party food. They’re not interested at all in the situation of Iran, and didn’t ask me any questions about it. I want to be a French Acadian lobster fisher-man with my own boat, living off the south shore of Nova Scotia, not caring about Iran. Especially the last part. I want that so much.