Living the Dream, and other ways to ruin your life
EEvery Monday and Friday morning I wake up early and drive to East Hampton to help my uncle get his day started. I do this because last February he had a pretty bad stroke and he needs help with things like taking trash to the dump, making coffee, and putting his pants on.
On this morning’s drive the Maintanence Required light came on on my dashboard and I thought of Matthew Crawford’s observation that new Mercedes Benz automobiles don’t even have a way to check the oil level, they just tell you you need to take the car to the dealer. I wish my car would contact the shop, make and appointment, drive itself there for whatever it needs, and pay the bill, all without any action on my part.
My deckhand is excellent, but young. Without exception he asks if it’s time to turn the boat around and head back to the dock before I tell him it’s time to turn the boat around and head back to the dock. What I have yet to communicate to him properly is that when I am checking my watch on the way out, what I am calculating is if we might just be able to keep going just another five minutes, or two minutes, or even just another 30 seconds before we turn around.
In fact, he had observed “If it was up to you, every sunset trip would go till nine o’clock!” (an hour past our posted sailing time.)
Here’s what he has yet to understand:
If you’re not sailing the trip in a way that makes you the most disappointed person on the boat that it’s time to turn around, you’re sailing the trip wrong. The boat’s speed, motion, mood, everything should come together in a way that makes being on that trip the most perfect place you can imagine being at that moment. Every time you put the helm over and head for home it should be with regret that the moment you and your guests are in can not go on forever. “Yes, I know. I don’t want to go back either. But there are some nice people I promised to take out on the next trip so they can experience what we’re experiencing now, so we have to turn around. But it is breaking my heart a little, because this is perfect and I never want it to end.”
Like I said, he’s young. A few more trips around the sun and I’ll be able to explain this to him in a way he’ll be able to understand, and more importantly, in a way he’ll be able to live.