Past Tense. Future Perfect?

WARNING:  This is not a happy post. If you are inclined by nature, as I am, to be pulled down by other people’s snarky self-indulgence, please find yourself more pleasant company. I won’t be offended.

Indifferent

Do you remember that moment in the 1960 televised special with Mary Martin when, after drinking the poison to save Peter Pan, Tinkerbell’s life glow began to fade? And Peter pleaded with the thousands of kids ostensibly watching in TV Land to convey to Tink their healing belief in the reality of fairies by clapping their hands? Well, I recently watched that scene, alone, in my cabin, on YouTube. And when Peter pleaded with me, I didn’t clap once.

My indifference made no difference to Tink, however. Twenty seconds later, she was flitting around again, and Peter was moving on to other business of presumed interest to lost boys.

You know what? I don’t believe Tinkerbell was really dying after all. I think that little bitch was faking it the whole time.

Indecisive

In related news, August 25, the first anniversary of our move onto Meander, is drawing near. And I see that it’s been more than three months since I last posted on Bimini Dream.

Let me catch you up. It’s been three months of keeping everyone I love tiptoeing around me and my chronic mood swings, punctuated here and there by one lost and subsequently recovered dinghy and a few other mishaps.

And at this point in the blog’s life, I’m frankly not sure whether I should be catching it up or cashing it in.

They say travel teaches you more about who you are than about where you’ve been. Indeed. What it has taught me is that I don’t like travel.

When we started this adventure nearly a year ago, I was rather hoping it would be different. On my About page, I wrote, “This boat’s gonna give me something worth writing about, and the time and energy to do it.” Now, as I look back on what has emerged since that optimistic first assessment, I’m not so sure.

You see, the guy inside me who is tasked with this blog has been privileged this past year to travel up and down the east coast of the United States, from a rural river edge in New Jersey to the bucolic town of Beaufort, South Carolina. He should surely have had something constructive to say, you would think, about the places he’s seen and about the journeys that connected them.

But the thin and snarky written record he’s produced does not belong to an intrepid adventurer. Rather, it belongs to a chronic complainer, one whose self-absorption and scant consideration of anything outside his head implies a subtle contempt for this whole endeavor.

I don’t like that guy, and I don’t like his writing. And lately, I haven’t wanted to be in his company.

So if Bimini Dream has been too quiet, I’m pretty sure it’s that guy’s fault.

And if Bimini Dream is to continue, I’m going to have to kill him. And I’m going to have to assign the job to some other guy inside me whose every utterance won’t be a waste of my time and a drain on my energy.

The problem is, I’m not sure I believe that other guy exists.

In for the long haul, probably

And because I’m not sure he exists, I am not in a position, as Pete was with Tink, to ask for applause from the gallery to light a fire under him.

That is to say, please do not consider this a Cry For Help. Rather, please consider it an accounting I owe to many readers who, concerned about the blog’s recent silence, have been moved to inquire how we have been doing lately on Meander.

In fact, what I am sure of, in spite of my many character failings, is the gratefulness I feel for how this blog has introduced me to other readers and writers in the cruising life–people whose comments and insights often convey more grace in a single sentence than I am routinely able to capture in an entire post.

And let’s be honest. Someone who needs grace as much as I do can hardly afford to walk away from it wherever it is offered, and I am no more likely to fold up this blog than Tinkerbell is to die away into fairy dust.

A new year on Meander starts on August 25, and every new year comes with a resolution. Mine is to ponder a new voice for Bimini Dream, and to be back in this space soon to see what it has to say.

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15 thoughts on “Past Tense. Future Perfect?

  1. I’m sorry. I really hope you do continue writing and maybe change your style to something that makes you happy to come to your blog. My husband and I are talking about retiring someday to a sailboat and it sure is fun to see how you guys do it – or don’t if you decided to give it up.. But anyways I’m hoping to see more of your posts in 2017!

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  2. I was just thinking about you! So glad to see a post from you.

    The comments above say cruising is hard. I found your blog when your holding tank leaked into your cabin. Yes, hard and unimaginable.

    We may be cruising the ICW in January instead of our original 2020 plans.
    I hope you keep writing. It’s nice to know other cruisers out there when/if we do cut the lines early.

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  3. Mike,

    The past few weeks have seen a profusion of our cruising friends who, for various reasons, have swallowed the hook. It’s been a sad time for me, partly because two of our good cruising friends have discovered that he has lung cancer (enough to be sad about all on its own), and partly because all of them have seen a dream sliding through their fingers. It’s given me a chance to think even more on what makes a successful and happy cruiser and why that’s such an elusive victory.

    Too often, I think, people have unrealistic expectations of what cruising is or should be. Glossies and books and some bloggers paint an unrealistic picture of the cruising life and when that life doesn’t materialize in the first year, many early cruisers give up. Some of them, like you, never make it past the ICW and let me tell you first hand that if the ICW was the only place I could cruise I would have given up long ago. I put up with the ICW because I get the reward of the Bahamas at the end of it. The startling beauty of the Bahamas fills my soul with peace for the rest of the months of the year. Very few new cruisers stay the course long enough to get past that agonizingly painful first year where everything is difficult. The second year is remarkably easier and the third is icing on the cake.

    One of the reasons I have enjoyed your blog so much is because, like us, you have committed to telling it like it is and you’re doing it with a wonderful writing style and good sense of humor. Hopefully when the New Mike comes forward, you won’t have lost that. More new cruisers, and those hoping to do so, need to hear the truth. Cruising is hard. Impossibly so? No. But just hard enough that when you try to focus on the brilliant turquoise waters of the Bahamas you’ll know you earned the right to be there.

    Looking forward to seeing you out on the water,

    Deb
    S/V Kintala
    http://www.theretirementproject.blogspot.com

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    • Thanks, Deb.

      Both Pam and I made it a point of our sailing education to read as many cautionary tales as we did tales illustrated by glossy photos. So I don’t believe we were deluded that this life would be easy. I’m just personally dismayed by how negative I become when the challenges arrive. It’s just life unfolding, after all.

      But I appreciate your encouragement; you make a good case for perseverance. And I hope that in our second year of cruising, I can let in a little more light around the edges without losing the humor or the truth.

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  4. I reckon you had a few too many breakages and things go wrong. More than your fair share. Tough times teach us so much about ourselves. Every cloud does have a silver lining somewhere, possibly that lining isn’t making itself apparent just yet, but trust me, it is in there!
    Six years ago our city was destroyed by a big earthquake. Since then we have been living in cracked houses, and broken roads and weaving our way around buildings being demolished and rebuilt. Yes it has been pretty grim at times, but as I look back, it has also been an incredible adventure. The result is we have got a (mostly) resilient community and a brand new city which has taken much longer to rebuild than anyone could imagine,
    Perhaps you know now how to recognize and fix the things that inevitably break on any boat. You will end up with a whole lot more knowledge and skills and a stronger boat as a result. People will love it when you are able to help them with their similar boat problems. You will make heaps of new friends as a result. There are amazing adventures ahead! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Viki. Most of my disasters to date have been small affairs inflated by the spin my temperment puts on them. I can’t quite imagine how I would perform in an objective large-scale disaster like an earthquake. I guess that’s what tough, resilient friends are for.

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  5. Small space living, is not for the faint of heart. And put that small space on water……you get my point. I hope it all turns around for you guys however, onward and upward as they say.

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