Thursday, December 1, 2005
Pity Party For One
I've read quite a number of accounts over the years of people who sail boats single-handedly long distances, both racing and as feats of endurance. Apart from my love of sailing and the sea, I'm much intrigued by the solitude of it, the self-containment & self-reliance, the delicious loneliness. I'm much more a few-very-close-friends kind of person than one with a zillion casual acquaintances, and unless I'm flying with a rare crew I prefer to spend my layover time alone. However supremely nourishing I find contact with select people, I find general public contact a dish devoid of nutrients. I'm sure there are numerous pathologies lurking just beneath the surface here; I'm just calling it the way I see it.
But today is one of those days where this solitary lifestyle is not a congenial thing. Today I'm quite alone in the world in a panicky, breathless sort of way; I am a substance wholly not grasped, misunderstood, or worse, undiscovered. (Yes; ego, vanity, delusion.)
I suppose having children makes for a sense of lasting presence on our little spinning globe, a part of one that goes on. By choice I have no kids, and I think on this from time to time tho without regret. Still, on a bad day I'm much aware that my presence will flash quickly in the pan and be gone, lost without the slightest trace. As a non-religious person, I have never believed myself, or any of us, to have any kind of significance beyond the impact we have on those around us. I don't demean that useful role; I mean only to express my conviction that we are not here as instruments of any grand plan or purpose. We arrive inexplicably, burn briefly and vanish quietly, billions of times over in an endless cycle. We exist by chance, here on the thin end of the bell curve, shackled to our ability to contemplate ourselves and our improbability.
If I never thought my life amounted to anything anyway, it cannot be a crushing realization to find it passing exactly so.
Damn iTunes. Morton Lauridsen's Ave Maria plays to devastating effect, a sad, perfect capture of my little dust-in-the-wind melancholy.
(Of course it doesn't escape me that I've posted a picture of the fabulous Sir Francis Chichester on one of his circumnavigations, a man not at all given to this kind of self-indulgent wallowing.)
Ah, well. At least the Peanut M&M Pharmacy is well-stocked next door.