Tuesday, April 5, 2011

People Who Read Books

One of the things I love most about sailors, and one of the reasons I hope to be counted as a full-fledged member of the society someday, is that sailors are People Who Read Books. Nearly every blog, every article, every mention of serious sailors and the way they lead their lives talks of the joy of settling into a comfortable spot, often listening to the rain patter on the deck with the wind whispering through the rigging, getting a hot cup of joe (or tea) and reading a book. All kinds of books even. Trashy romance novels, serious historical tomes, biographies, books on politics, books on religion, books on weather and navigation (naturally)...making room for the library is a constant theme when it comes to using the limited space on boats. (A big reason why I loves me some Kindle!)

Not only do sailors read books, but the ideas in those books find a home in the mind and worldview. Sipping a cold one and debating the "theme of the day" as the sun sets, I love how sailor thoughts don't usually come from TV or talk radio, a rare thing in our world today. I even have a guess as to why that might be. On TV and talk radio everyone claims to be an expert on every subject, which means that none of them really know anything about anything. That may work at the Mall, but out on the water? The ocean (and often enough even the lakes) will laugh at, abuse, and sometimes kill off the fool who pretends to be an expert. At some visceral level sailors know this (as do pilots). While foolishness is often a shared source for laughter and good times, fools are rarely tolerated for long.

Underneath all of laughter and easy comradery, serious sailors are serious people. Given a choice I would much rather be around people who take living seriously, who labor to be experts at things like boat work and seamanship, who need to know what the weather is going to do because to get it wrong is to risk everything, who cannot mistake propaganda for the truth, who must know from which direction the wind really is blowing. And yet, by some near magic touch of knowing the scale of human life to ocean, serious sailors don't often take themselves too seriously.

I wish there were more like you around.


Allan S said...

Thank you, I am going to take that personally...lol now where are my reading glasses.

Ed said...

I hope you get your tartan in soon. We are just off the hard and getting into our commissioning list this weekend.


TJ said...

We are working on it Ed. The latest plan is to have the shipper pick it up in Chicago on Monday and get to the marina Tuesday. There he will just block their parking lot until someone comes out to run the lift like they have already agreed to do. We can't seem to get anyone to answer the phone and give us a date so pretty soon I will be heading out that way to jump up on down on somebody's head.