Friday, May 30, 2014


I am still not used to traffic. Every trip seems more like a ride through a shooting gallery. Vehicles of all shapes and sizes switching lanes, dodging in and out, pushing lights, and getting as close to other vehicles as possible. It is as if the drivers think filling up every available inch will somehow get them to their destination a fraction of a second sooner. "Trust me," I want to tell them, "it doesn't". Then I want to add, "And your destination isn't that important anyway."

This morning, waiting to turn left, the buzz of a sport bike pulled up and filled the spot just off my starboard side. It was a cute little baby Ninja (maybe the 250 R) piloted by an equally cute (from what I could see – she was wearing a helmet and full armored gear) young lady. A moment later and the picture in my mind shifted to that of Deb astride her fully grown Ninja 1400Z. Thousands upon thousands of miles passed under our wheels, with me usually off her port side and a bike length or so in trail. It is the part of my old life that I miss the most, though truth to tell our go-blinding-fast-and-scare-the-snot-out-of-the-cage-drivers days are fading ever further into the past.

Between us we clocked maybe a half a million miles on two wheels; mountains, deserts, forests; rain, snow and heat. We wore out a list of bikes too long to remember. For all of those miles the destination wasn't that important. It was only an excuse to go. What mattered was that we were moving, seeing new things, having an adventure, doing something not everyone does in a way not everyone does it.

Our new life on the boat is the very essence of moving with little care of the destination. Each place is temporary anyway. We will be there for a while. Then we will be off to someplace else.

I think things like that living, as I am, this in-between life. This destination is important, important enough to keep me in one place for weeks. This is a place I have to be, and having to be in a place changes the color of everything. In this place, first I do what I have to do, then I do what I should do, then I do what I can do.  There is never a time when I am doing what I want to do.

Living on the boat I might be cold, might be a hungry or seasick, might be hot and sticky. There are times when I wish we were at the destination, temporary as it might be. But on some level too deep to think about very often, I am almost always doing what I want to do.

And I wondered, sitting at that light, if a destination IS a destination because it is a place we have to go to do a thing we have to do.  Maybe that's why land dwellers have such a hard time. They are always at a destination doing what they have to do. Then they hurry to the next destination to do what they have to do again.  Maybe the mad rush is nothing more than a vain hope that the next destination will be different, a place where they can do what they want to do.

A place where they can live as they want to live.

The green turn arrow flashed while I gazed at the baby Ninja. The guy behind me hit the horn a microsecond later.

I am a visitor in his world now, an outsider who has forgotten the rules. It never even occurred to me to flash him the single digit of estimated IQ.  Even if it had I hope I wouldn't have.  Guests should be polite. I moved along to this place I need to be. But soon I will leave destinations behind once again.


Rharriscpa said...

Doing what you want to do when you want to do it has always been my definition of retirment. Most of the time that is what you are doing and since the WesterBeast has been behaving you do get more time to do it. Off to rebuild the pedistal brake on the Edson today. Looking forward to seeing you pass this way again.

TJ said...

I have my share of boat work waiting for me this summer. We hope to get a couple of good sized projects done before heading out again in the fall.

Latitude 43 said...

It was always tough for me to "live in the moment". Too many distractions. But I think cruising allows me to feel this way, living day to day, moment to moment.

Even if we went back to our old world, it would never be the same. Enjoy the moments.