Friday, January 17, 2014

Evanston: not exist; not at sea; on dying

        I do not exist.  But then we already knew that.  I am clearly a figment of my own imagination.  As, probably, are we all.
        Most particularly, I do not have a credit rating.  That’s what happens when you pay cash and use debit cards for forty years.  
        Usually this does not matter.  I don’t want credit.  But now that the airlines have turned us not only into non-paid employees, who print our own boarding passes, check ourselves in, and handle our luggage, but have also made us adversarial competitors with all other passengers, I did finally respond to the endless offers United Airlines sends me and applied for one of their credit cards whose benefits include priority boarding.  They turned me down because I don’t exist.
        Carol exists.  
        I could probably get her to sign for me, which has a certain whimsical quality, such as having your parents do so when you are an adolescent.  But I won’t.  That is making life entirely too symmetrical.  Instead I’ll pay United the extra $39 or so for priority boarding on each flight and carry a purse.  Actually it is called a laptop messenger bag, which I recently bought in the never ending struggle to reduce my carry on baggage.  But it looks to me like a purse.
        I’ve also downsized from a 15” MacBook Pro to a 13” MacBook Air; an iPad to an iPad mini; and Bose noise canceling headphones to Bose noise canceling earplugs.
        Smaller and lighter is definitely better.  For GANNET, too.

        Not only do I not exist, but I am also not a threat.
        I applied for Global Entry and had my interview a week ago.  I’ve been investigated, photographed, finger-printed, and approved.  Anything that enables me to avoid a line is worth a hundred bucks.


        In an email to a friend this morning I wrote,
“Even though everything is on schedule, when I look out our windows at a pre-dawn sky from which snow is due to fall, it is difficult to believe that I will be at sea in a few months.“
        He wrote back, “When was it that you were really at sea, something more than a few days out and back?”
        The answer is October 2009 when I completed my fifth circumnavigation with the passage from Bora-Bora to Opua.
        I must admit that doing housework has lost its zest.  When I dusted and vacuumed yesterday, I just didn’t feel the usual thrill.
        It’s definitely time to go sailing again.


        Last night on what poses as the evening news on television, a doctor who was talking about end of life decisions asked her elderly father why he thought people don’t talk about death, and he reasonably replied, “Because they fear the unknown.” 
        I thought about writing an entry ‘on dying’ until I realized that it’s already written.  You just have to look around this site and piece it together.  I’m not going to do all the work.  A few poems.  Quotes used in front of books.  Some of this journal.
        ‘Almost dying is a hard way to make a living,’ I’ve written.  And the pieces where I almost died are the best known and were reprinted in the most countries.
        I don’t mind the unknown.
        Having carefully prepared, I like that GANNET’s voyage will be something new to me and that sailing such a boat as far as I plan an unknown.
        Of death, I don’t expect the unknown.  I expect oblivion, which is not troubling.  
        I am apprehensive about suffering at the end.  It must have hurt getting in here; and it will probably hurt getting out.
        What has changed over the years is my being with Carol.
        When a woman marries a man her own age, she can expect to be a widow.  When she marries a man almost a generation older, it is a near certainty.
        My life has not gone as I expected.  I could have done more.  But upon reflection I would not have changed places with anyone else who has ever lived.  My regret will be in leaving Carol alone.
        On the other hand, I recently had an annual physical.  My blood pressure is 120/70.  My pulse 47.  I am disgustingly healthy.  Still a force of nature.  I may outlive you all.
        Now, if you will excuse me.  I have hardwood floors to polish.