Tuesday, October 15, 2013
San Diego: The Man; SCOUT's end; flat; a year ago today
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
I did not know that Lord Acton continued: “Great men are almost always bad men.”
In my old age I try to assume a becoming modesty, but sometimes it isn’t easy.
Two nights ago just before I retired to the v-berth, I saw from the companionway a dark shape at the far end of the dock. I shined my brightest flashlight on the offending sea lion, who immediately rolled back into the water.
Mid-morning yesterday, upon standing in the companionway I saw another sea lion on the dock. Without evening climbing onto deck, I commanded, “Go!”, pointed my arm, and 100’ away the sea lion obeyed.
I have created a Sea Lion Free Zone. I am The Man. The Lord of the Sea Lions.
Lord Acton was right. It is going to my head.
In the transition from the flatlands to the sea, I lost track of SCOUT, the autonomous 12’ vessel, programmed to attempt to cross the Atlantic.
The attempt has come to an end. Imprecise minds would say that SCOUT is now at the mercy of the wind and waves, but I know that wind and waves are insentient and not capable of mercy or being merciless.
I believe that SCOUT functioned for more than a month and stayed more or less on course for more than a thousand miles.
Although I doubt the young people behind the project have a real understanding of what it means to cross an ocean, the attempt is praiseworthy.
Riding my bike to Pacific Beach on Sunday was hard. As I was gasping to the top of the bridge between here and Mission Beach, I thought: Damn. Climbing those stairs wasn’t enough. And the whole time I felt as though I were pedaling through deep sand.
Before riding to Ocean Beach today, I checked the tires. They were 30 pounds under pressure. I pumped them up. A world of difference. Perhaps two worlds.
Often it is said, “The Devil is in the details.” But the correct quote, usually attributed to the architect, Mies van der Rohr, is: “God is in the details.”
In either case, as my legs can testify and voyages prove, details matter.
Both days identically perfect.