Tuesday, August 19, 2008

thought i was in for another term of writing; got worked up over the prospect of another term of twelve-hour days, and finally wrote out my objection and determination to survive, one way or another. meanwhile a hurricane brushed key west, giving me a bit of a memory, of a journey, of a 23-foot sailboat, sunny days baking me like a clam, a storm coming in, a sailing partner struggling to take down the sails, so as to ride out the storm, down in the hull; me not quite knowing how to stabilize the boat while he, out on its surface, almost fell in the gulf; him being quite mad at me for ineptitude at sailing, but, hey, he was inept at figuring out location, setting up communication systems, and teaching people how to sail, and on top of that was willing to take an innocent rube like myself on a 23-ft. boat from mexico to florida, in spite of all his faults. so to this day i don't feel so guilty about my own part in it, but keep the memory of the choppy gulf, the steel-gray waves, the shaking hull, which, in hindsight, was probably full of something besides sand and two unhappy guys. the sailboat owner stopped eating, which was also bad judgment in my opinion, but he was a little upset about slowly running out of food and not knowing where we were; i myself blamed both on him, and kept eating. as for the storm, it blew over, replaced by calm skies and nothing, still gray water, day after day of blazing sun, miami radio and very little wind. probably the stillness was worse than the storm, in the sense that it left us there, rather than threatening us, and some songs to this day remind me of that feeling.

here of course the metaphor for my life falls apart, for if there's one thing i'm not in danger of, it's floundering around, waiting for some wind, idly listening to whatever is on the radio. with my main teaching duties, including grading and preparing, down to about forty, i am now free to do some of the rest of what i've been supposed to do- things i like, in any case, like fix up the static web, make it useful, play with other technology, etc., or, live my life, write my blogs & other stuff, and use some of the stuff i learn about talking to webheads, or reading. i'm not asea or adrift; caught and stretched among different medias, yes, maybe, but rudderless, no.

turned out we were flailing around the dry tortugas, actually a key west of key west, so to speak, so far west, that it was actually under water and didn't quite count as a key. but it was a place where there were lots of shrimp boats, and we were able to contact one of them, get a tow into land, into key west itself, where, once off the boat, i kissed a dock where the hippies were hanging around watching the sunset. relieved to be on earth, even on rotted dock-wood, where i could walk away, move on out, even if my pesos were no good. the atmosphere was interesting, kind of sultry, permanent, slow-moving, as if the weather rarely changed, except for an occasional storm. someone checked the guy's boat, but at this point, i left him and began walking to california. and, could have walked a long way, before i'd get tired of feeling the earth beneath my feet.

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