Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fourth of July Muse

One of the many storms blowing down the Manatee River this season
Kintala is sitting in the exact same place she was last Fourth of July weekend, tied in the same dock, facing the same way, using the same lines. We were here for many months last year. We have already been here several months this year and there are, at least, several more months to go. That being the case I suspect we can’t really call ourselves “cruisers” at the moment. We have been cruisers and hope to be cruisers again. But for now we are live-a-boards, staying in one place, with each day pretty much like the day before. (Except for holiday weekends!)

It isn’t a bad way to live. We are still on the water. Pelicans, dolphins, and manatees are occasional visitors, sunsets can still be spectacular and - at least after work hours are over - it is often as quiet as an island anchorage. There are likely a billion or more people on the planet who would love to change places with us. Some might be fellow Americans drudging through days in a cubicle, buried under interest payments, and wondering if they will ever get the chance to live a different kind of life. (They should feel free to enjoy their air conditioning though. Working in the intense Florida summer time sunshine will put a dent in anyone’s day.)

Grand kids looking at the weird color sky
We still live far outside US of A normal. Living in a tiny house discourages our being consumers in the normal American sense. Our lives are not full of stuff we don’t really need, use, or want. We don’t have anywhere to put such things, and don’t like spending money that could go into the cruising kitty on such things. In a way, it is fine that most Americans don’t live like we do for, if they did, the consumer economy would collapse within months, maybe weeks. That simply has to happen some day, but the transition to whatever comes next is likely to be a rough go. It needn't be that way, compassion and wisdom would go a long way to easing the path. From my point of view the US is a bit short of both such commodities at the moment, so stumbling along as we are might be the best choice for now.

I do miss traveling. It has likely been decades since I spent so many days in a row in such a confined space. This is actually “human normal”, most people spending the majority of their lives within 25 miles of the place they were born or raised. But, as some have pointed out now and again, I may not be “human normal”. Most of the cruising tribe shares this peculiarity, one of the reasons I miss being among them.

There are other reasons for missing the tribe. Many (not all but many) share my renegade view of current American politics. It isn’t so much that I am the renegade, but I am secular, pro-science and education, pro-human, civil, women’s, and workers' rights. I am anti-authoritarian, anti-war, disdain religious fundamentalism, racism, and gay bashing in all of their guises, and have zero faith that the profit motive results in anything but greed and abuse.  To my deep dismay, the President of the United States has been pretty open about regarding people like me as his enemy. Members of his Party and his other supports loudly echo his views, cheering him on as some kind of hero.

It is weird being away from the community I know while living in a country I barely recognize. Once my country, but now one that sees me as some kind of threat. And I guess, in some tiny, near negligible way, I am.

Happy 4th of July


Tod Germanica said...

Ever since Song Mao in 1970 I haven't liked fireworks. Not to mention scaring the cat and the dachshund, aggravating my sinusitis and leaving toxic waste in MY gutter. You kids better stay off my lawn this year, I got this here hose.
In times like these you must seek beauty and purpose and avoid toxic politics, if you can. It's worse here in the Homeland (uber alles), lots of suddenly unwanted people. Sounds like you're doing it right. I'm leaving for Humboldt County for a long cool vacation for a few weeks

TJ said...

Tod, I've known a lot of Vets who are not fond of fireworks; a most reasonable dislike as I see it. I was a bit too young for Nam; got me a lottery number but they had stopped the draft the year before. I shared a lot of cockpits and a fair amount of hours on the shop floor with Vets of that war, heard a lot of stories, and never heard anything that changed my mind about it being a huge waste of some of the best people in our society. As the years have rolled by I've pretty much concluded all war is a huge wast of some of the best people in any society. Which pretty much explains why the politicians never seem to fight in the wars they start; they are far from the best people in a society.

It shouldn't be that way. One would think that people dedicated to public service, elected by their fellow citizens to elevate to elevate the common good, would rank as some of the best among us; but it certainly hasn't worked out that way. "Toxic" is about a perfect description of our political system; inundated with dirty money, skewed only to serve those who can afford to pay to play, my guess it is nearly impossible for any reasonably moral person to find their way into the halls of power. Of course, most reasonably moral people are not all that interested in power, making things even more dicy.

I think we are doing okay but our lifestyle isn't for everyone. I completely understand enjoying full house air conditioning, maybe having a little shop out in the garage, a little spare change for a toy or two. I suspect a lot of people will find different ways to deal with the current crises. Nations come and go, empires rise and fall, there are always survivors.