Friday, May 1, 2020

Evanston: a good question; on marriage; Cavafy; a new record

In an email this morning my friend, Bill, wrote:  ‘I know this is a silly question, but if GANNET brings such discomfort, why not find a more comfortable boat to enjoy in your “old age”?’.   He did kindly add that he finds it hard to think of me as old.

I wrote back that there are no silly questions, except perhaps one that has just been answered and someone who has not been paying attention asks again.  Bill’s question is a good one that has caused me to think about my answer, which is multiple.

First, almost instinctively GANNET suits me.  She always has.  We are right for one another.  We bring out the best in one another.

Second, in my experience no boat is comfortable in severe weather; and there is a slight shift in my having written that GANNET brings discomfort as well as joy and ‘such discomfort’.  Certainly GANNET is more uncomfortable than my bigger boats, but it is only a matter of degree, and comfort is not my highest value.  I have always been willing to sacrifice comfort for sailing performance.  When I am too old to do that, I am too old.

Third, I don’t want to start over again setting up a boat to cross oceans.  That takes a long time and a lot of money.  I don’t want to spend my time that way.  GANNET is set up properly.  She needs only replacement of worn gear.

Fourth, another boat might be too easy.  That might sound odd.  But to be interested I need challenges whose outcomes are uncertain.  I did not know when I set out in EGREGIOUS if that voyage was possible in her.  I certainly did not know in CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE.  Or when GANNET and I sailed from San Diego in 2014.  I really am designed to explore edges and limits, and I am drawn by thoughts of a voyage in which GANNET and I can do that.  

Which comes back to the beginning:  we are right for one another.  To change would be wrong.

Being right for one another reminded me of something I wrote decades ago about marriage which I came across last week while looking for something else.

       No one can judge a marriage from the outside.
       We all do.  Societies.  Courts.  The intrusive ‘Media.’
       We judge the marriages of our friends.  Our neighbors.  Co-workers.  Casual     acquaintances.  Celebrities we don’t even know.
       And we are always wrong.
       Even when we’re right, we’re wrong, because our opinions are based on inadequate information.  Marriages are too complicated and too subtle.  They turn over the years on words said and unsaid, tones, pauses, touches gentle or rough, welcomed or shunned, sex or lack of it, money or lack of it, gestures, expressions, a face turned toward or away.  Thousands and thousands of bonding or eroding moments.

I am now rereading the Greek poet, C.P. Cavafy and yesterday came across his, ‘Che Fece...Il Gran Rifuito’, which Google translates as ‘What he did...The Great Refusal’.  Apparently the title comes from a line in Dante’s INFERNO, alluding to the renunciation of the Papacy by Celestine V, who, five months after becoming pope in 1294, abdicated to live as a hermit.  Dante considered this cowardice and consigned him to Hell.

                For certain  people there comes a day
                when they are called upon to say the great Yes
                or the great No.  It’s clear at once who has
                the Yes ready within him; and saying it,

               he goes forward in honor, in greater self-belief.
               He who refuses has no second thoughts.  Asked
               again, he would still say no.  
               Yet that No—so right—defeats him all his life.

On Wednesday I set a new personal best for my standard workout:  17:21.  


Anonymous said...

What is your standard workout? The question is stupid if previously answered, but I thought I would risk it.

Webb said...

This has been answered many times over the years in the journal, but I know people come and go, inexplicably depriving themselves of some of the best writing available, so once more.

I begin with stretching exercises. Then at least my age in push-ups, followed by the same number of crunches, followed by 60 knee bends, then at least 40 more push-ups, at least 40 more crunches, 40 more knee bends, then at least 40 more push-ups, at least 40 more crunches, 100 side leg rises each leg, then at least 150 knee bends. This makes at least 160 push-ups and crunches and at least 150 knee bends. The workout is done continuously, moving without interruption from one exercise to another, although I do sometimes take an extra breath or two between the first set of push-ups and crunches.

The ‘at least’ is because I randomly go beyond the minimum. I am 78, but almost always do at least 80 push-ups in the first set. This year I often go to 90 and have four times gone to 100. The same with crunches. I also often increase the numbers in subsequent sets.

I do this three times a week, usually but not always, Monday, Wednesday, Friday.

Twice a week on other days I do a workout with 10 pound weights, based loosely on maintenance exercises for my torn left shoulder, though I use the weights in both hands, including at least 150 curls each arm in sets of 50, and I do at least my age in crunches holding the two 10 pound dumb bells high on my chest.

One day a week I do a routine with a 30 pound resistance band.

Six days a week I also climb at least 21 floors of stairs, 7 at a time, 3 times a day.

I also walk and ride a bicycle when the weather is decent.

I take Sundays off.

Webb said...

Correction. The total of knee bends should be at least 250.

Bryon said...

Great post.

Webb said...

A comment made about a post almost a year old is rare. Thank you, Byron, for your kind words, for reading words I wrote a while ago, and for causing me to reread them. This journal now runs to more than a million words and I don’t remember them all.

Keyon said...

Great post.

Webb said...

I continue to be surprised and pleased that this post is being read and enjoyed. Thank you all.