Another boat. Canoe, kayak, pontoon, and now sail. I swear I don't spend much time on boats.
And yet I have written three recent entries obliquely related to boats (not including this one). In all three posts, I refer to piloting the boat through the water in an aimless fashion as "tooling around." It is a phrase that makes perfect sense to me and it works with what I'm trying to convey, but I hadn't realized that it was such a go-to term for me. All three posts about boats include the phrase.
It was enough to make me wonder if I was using the phrase correctly. Or even if anyone else ever uses the phrase. So, of course, being the information geek that I am (or, as a friend recently put it, I'm addicted to knowledge), I looked it up:
To drive (a vehicle) or (of a vehicle) to be driven, esp in a leisurely or casual style. To drive or ride in a vehicle: tooling along the freeway. To carry or be carried.
Cruise, curb, direct, drift, drive, float, go, go with, guide, handle, hitch a ride, hitchhike, journey, manage, motor, move, post, progress, restrain, roll, sit, sit on, thumb a ride, tool around, tour, travel, advance, drive, impel.
So, I'm using it correctly, and it's not something I just made up. But I wonder why no other phrases immediately come to mind when I think of spending time in a boat, particularly with no destination in mind. One can paddle around in a boat, or row a boat around, or use a boat's motor to traverse from point A to nowhere and then back to point A again. But those descriptions lack the vim of the term "tooling around."
Do I use the phrase just with boats? I think I've probably used it to mean aimlessly wandering for the purposes of entertainment in the context of roller skating, or riding a bike through the park, or even surfing the internet. Just tooling around.
My challenge to myself now is to find a phrase to use in place of "tooling around" that I like just as much. I may never find one, but I'm never opposed to expanding my vocabulary.