Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Friends and enemies

After spending some time today chatting about the fallout from last night's State of the Union address (which we did not watch), we spent happy hour on S/V Hunky Dory, an Irwin 37 MKIII that is anchored just next to us here in South Beach. Canadians John and his wife Marie were our gracious hosts and as cruisers are wont to do, the discussion migrated to the cruising community's tendency to form fast, deep friendships, a topic we've addressed on this blog in the past.

I was thinking about this yesterday as we spent some time in Miami with fellow cruisers and their kids. We went to hear some live music in an outdoor theater attached to an upscale marina (see Tim's previous post if you haven't already), and our friend's three year old found a similarly sized kiddo whose mom was also listening to the music. Within five minutes, the two of them were happily skipping and running around the arena holding hands and whispering secrets in each other's ears like they'd known each other a lifetime. It gave me pause. In spite of the fact that one was starkly blonde and the other Hispanic, the two of them were completely unencumbered by preconceptions, prejudices, fear, favoritism, or arrogance. They were just happy to share the music and the beautiful day.

I wonder at what point do we learn those things? Is it our families that teach them to us?  Is it our schools?  Is it our neighborhoods? Tim and I talked about it while waiting for our friend to shop for shoes, and we decided that language certainly plays a primary part. In learning language we learn concepts and frame them with words, all colored by the inflections of the presenter and the environment in which they are presented. Without definition these concepts remain blessedly out of reach to these toddlers.

As the insults raced back and forth between political parties this morning, I was thankful that we've had this chance to be a part of the cruising community which, for the most part, has chosen to cast aside a lot more than just the dock lines. It's good to reject these life-sucking characteristics and go dance to the music with a friend. You should try it some time.

1 comment:

Matt Mc. said...

The answer is first grade. And it's for all the reasons you note. We notice differences around ages 5-7.