March 6, 2013 § 1 Comment
Seen first in the March 2013 issue of Spinsheet Magazine.
“Thunk… kerplunk.” The sound of a cell phone dropping from a pocket, bouncing on a deck, splashing and sinking into the dark water.
“Awwww #^%$#%.” The sound of the owner of said cell phone. Thinking about lost calls, forgotten numbers, missed texts, and worst of all, the 7 or 8 hours of upcoming frustration sorting out the terms of the next contract with a hungover store clerk or someone in a distant call center.
“Splash, gasp, laugh and holler!” The sounds, a short few hours later, of said cell phone owner, lost phone forgotten for the time being, entering the water to cool off between sailing races.
Have you experienced such a day of loss and recovery? Or witnessed it? It’s a common modern weekend sailing story. Day-to-day disappointment and stress turned to joy in the course of a few sunny hours spent sailing.
The contrast is striking; a lost phone conjures dark feelings, and a summer sail and swim erases them completely. I think it’s evidence of an important sailing storyline.
Let’s explore why it happens.
We’ve been told that the cell phone connects us to something, and while it may seem counter-intuitive, it might also be said that the cell phone is disconnection in the extreme. While we anticipate human contact through it, the contact is, in reality, more absent then present, more fleeting and frustrating than fulfilling. Why do we stare at our phones anticipating tweets in buses or in line at the grocery cashier? Often, I find, I’m tethered to the screen, awaiting seven or eight inconsequential, usually misspelled words. I reply with something equally cryptic (and undoubtedly more flawed grammatically) and then step off the bus or shuffle forward in line. Imagine a future with no eye contact, no complete sentences, where no person can sense a change in the direction of the wind, or where nobody has an outdoor adventure to remember together.
Sailing, on the other hand, is both materially untethered and socially connected at the same time; freeing and encompassing in both large and small bursts.