Flying High, and Low
From my (re)introduction post last month:
Earlier this week my wife and I delivered MTL [Mon Tiki Largo] to her winter resting place, and the other two boats that comprise the Montauk Catamaran Company fleet are safely out of the water a couple of miles from our house. I have time on my hands, and some notions about what I’d like to do this winter. In no particular order: drive for Uber, learn French, learn to play the guitar parts for AC/DC’s “Black in Black” note for note at tempo, buy a small airplane and learn to fly it, work in a retail store, go on job interviews for “normal jobs”, return for a few weeks to an island in the Bahamas I especially liked, wake up early and do fitness walks with my daughter, improve my jazz guitar skills, continue to grow my hair out, rehabilitate my right shoulder, get my “everyday” 5K run under 25 minutes, and of course, continue to make erotic art.
Since that post a number of ideas have passed through my head for essays, but I haven’t been able to find the time to sit down and type them out. I don’t normally have a lot of patience for “I can’t find the time” excuses, my own, or others. People find the time to do what they want to do, mostly; and “I can’t find the time” is what we say when we want to curtsy at endeavors that are merely day-dreams, and not actually things we have any real passion or desire to pursue. Maybe for me that’s writing — more fun to think about doing than to actually do… That said, I have not been idle. Per the above list:
I bought a 1974 Grumman AA5 and I’m up to about 20 hours of dual instruction. Most of flying is a lot like sailing, and comes pretty easily, save one very important point. The way the rudder control works in an airplane strikes me as exactly backwards from what all my time in tiller-steer sailboats (40+ years) tells me it should be. Under stress I “revert to training”. When am I stressed? On landings, right as I transition from short final to ground-effect/touchdown, especially if the wind is gusty. This is a bad place to get crossed up.
I don’t own a car less than 10 years old, so I can’t drive for Uber. We have a 2014 Fiat four-door, but it’s in my wife’s name, and the DMV is Riverhead, 60 miles away. Maybe when I go there for my drug test, but probably not…
I can work through a passable chord and melody rendition of Gerald Marks and Seymour Simons “All of Me”. I’m starting to pick my way through Joseph Kosma’s “Autumn Leaves.” If I can find myself with a half-dozen standards under my fingers by next sailing season I’ll be tickled.
AC/DC songs are pretty easy to play, and the speed-shift without pitch-shift feature on YouTube makes play-along studying a breeze. I’ve added in a few Alice in Chains tunes to the regime. Last year I bought a Squire Telecaster to add to the Gibson I’ve been playing since I was 14, and I’ve got to tell you, after 35 years of owning one guitar, it feels pretty plush to have one at standard tuning and another a half-step down to play along with AiC. Also picked up a Marshall half-stack (transistor, not tubes) for $200 from a local guitarist who got tired of lugging it around. Boost channel, gain up — it’s like driving a chainsaw! And dialed back it’s got a full, rich clean-tone with lots of headroom that’s nice for jazz.
I don’t think I’ll be doing any retail work this winter. It’s pretty easy to get a temp job for the holidays out here, and I thought it would be a good experience to have. But like sailing, flying is totally weather dependent, and right now the emphasis is on maximizing my training time.
More time on that Bahamas Island and flying go hand in hand. The islander who last winter suggested, “If you’re serious about making a life here, you might want to consider getting your private pilot’s license,” has offered to meet me in Florida to make the first flight over with me. This nasty patch of weather rolling through today is good incentive to hit the books hard and keep buying AVGAS!
I can run a sub 25 minute 5K, but only just barely, and if I do it, it takes me about a week or more before I feel like I’m ready to do it again. Shoulder rehab is low-weight/high rep. Boring, takes time, and doesn’t offer the ego satisfaction of moving bigger weights. It’s easy to make excuses not to do it. I remind myself that the only reason I bought an airplane is to be able to fly to the Bahamian island that has empty surf in warm clear water, and if I don’t put my shoulder back together, none of the rest matters.
My hair is long enough now that it’s not growing taller and taller, finally laying down near shoulder length. Being a child in the 70s had and continues to have a strong influence on my ideal of masculine beauty and virility.
For now I’ll excuse myself for not getting out early with my daughter because she hasn’t been getting out early. But I also know that excuse won’t get back the time together…
I can’t/won’t show the the erotic art I’ve been making. After 15 years of beating my head against that wall I no longer believe I can change the world. I work in private, for a very select audience. Sometimes I think of it as Tony Comstock “going Galt”.
That are a couple of other things that have been taking up our time, energy, money, and worry; both good fodder for the sort of posts I like to write; but until they are resolved that’s all I can really say, except that if they resolve unfavorably, my art-making won’t be the only thing “going Galt”.
I look forward to writing in further detail about all of the above, and more. Until then, thank you for providing me with a venue of my various “statements of intent”. Some days that’s the difference between getting up and doing what needs to be done, or just going back to bed!