Friday, November 3, 2017
Evanston; the advantages of having bad parents; the cause of collision; promise of repair; part three?
Carol and I just finished watching the final episode of the Ken Burns ten part documentary on Vietnam. It is a profoundly moving experience about serious matters. I highly recommend that you view it. On a personal level the series adds validation to a conclusion I reached decades ago from reading history that warriors often die not for their cause, but because of the stupidity and egotism of generals and politicians. At one time for kings.
The advantage of having bad parents is that one does not trust authority figures. Another lesson of history is that one shouldn’t.
I have questioned here how US Navy destroyers could be involved in collisions with merchant ships. In one instance as reported by Ars Technica men died because of a failure of interface between man and computer. This is totally beyond my experience or imagination. The computer age giveth; the computer age taketh away. Sheet to tiller steering has its advantages.
I am not sure it is an advantage, but another consequence of having bad parents, which I did—and I am stating a fact here, not looking for sympathy—is that you truly hate—not too strong a word—to be dependent on others.
Before I go on I want to say that another consequence is that you realize how important it is to be a good parent. You know by absence how much a parent owes his or her child. I once wrote that being a great parent is as rare as being a great artist and probably more important. I would not now use the word ‘great’, which is too much a subjective value judgement, about either, but still I consider being a parent a responsibility so serious that I did not think I could fulfill it and live the life I wanted to and so never had children.
Well, I am dependent on others. GANNET has damage I cannot repair.
Yesterday I received a phone call from the boat yard. I still do not have the estimate, but I was assured that the repair will be done before the end of the year.
It is 10:30 pm. I am sitting in our living room. Buffalo Trace in a tumbler to my left. Carol has gone to bed. I sailed 8,000 miles this year in three months. But I have only sailed a few hours on two days since then. I have an enviably comfortable life here, if comfort is your standard, and I am well aware that for most of the billions on this planet my life is an unreachable vision of paradise; but I miss being on the water. I miss the open ocean. I did not seek comfort. I sought the epic. Maybe, almost impossibly, I have known both.
In a few days I will become 76 years old. An age I never expected to reach.
Next year will be a watershed—an appropriate word. Time and chance permitting, I will complete this circumnavigation. I cannot see clearly beyond that.
My life thus far has two parts, longing and being, divided by November 2, 1974, when I stopped working for others and made my first attempt at Cape Horn.
I find myself wondering if after I reach San Diego next year can there be a third part of life after ‘being’. I do not know. I invented myself. I am still making myself up as I go along. As are we all.