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.


Joshua said...

Get this guy a beer!

Heather B. said...

go for the m&m. It'll make you feel so much better. But of course, you already knew that.

woolf said...

Earlier today (on the commode, no less--I do believe it's one place everyone considers the deeper aspects of life), I was considering the whole no life/afterlife thing, and one of my theories is that we get exactly what we think will happen when we pass on. If I think I'll be surrounded by virgins when I die, that's what will happen. If I think I'm a brief candle, that will happen. If I believe in reincarnation, that will happen. Heck, if I decide the afterlife will contain giant M & Ms and Beanie get the idea.

Chairborne Stranger said...

I'm there for you brother.

PS daggone it, we still need to work on Lizzie.

wunelle said...

Thanks to all for the M&Ms & beer! Honestly, I think my putting myself on yet ANOTHER diet (and thus having to swear off the M&Ms that are practically a staple of my diet) is partly why I felt out of sorts. Sad, but true. At least I still have Diet Coke.

CS--Yeah, my little post was just a passing waft of blue; Lizzie seems to be going thru a bad patch. Funny how we wring our hands over someone we hardly know, or that we know in this internet sort of way; but I've been wondering for a couple days just what she's going thru.

As I wonder constantly what you guys are going thru in that desert country; news lately is pretty grim. Stay safe.

JWoolf--would Commode Blogging be called... Clogging? How would we differentiate the word from the dance? Or the shoe? And an afterlife of M&Ms is something I will happily spend my throne time contemplating!

Certainly, I think we believe, or state as our belief, what soothes us or comforts us.

Chairborne Stranger said...

ah, yes, it is interesting, this meeting new people on an internet and wondering about them. i would have said that was weird 6 months ago, until i came to iraq and started this blog.

as for the desert-i know where all those guys died and i've been there. the fighting in al anbar is pretty bad. when you leave the camp you never really know what's going to happen to you.

Lizzie said...

ah! I wish I had read this post a few days ago. really wonderful and beautifully-written post. You're right, I am going through a rather bad patch right now, but it's nice to know I'm not alone out here "on the thin end of the bell curve, shackled to my ability to contemplate myself" (wow, that's a great line). It may stem from other issues, but I truly understand what you're saying (only I'm wallowing in my own pity to the tune of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah- close enough though). And even if we don't have any significance beyond the impact we have on those around us, you should take comfort in the fact that you have an impact on people you've never even met.

p.s. thank you so much for your lovely comments on my blog the other day. I truly appreciated them.

wunelle said...

Life is much better today, thanks. I'm not really able to post much on my days off, as I try to spend my time with Susan when I'm home (being gone so much). But the planets alway seem to realign and life goes on, whether I blog about it or not.

(Except now the Italians are putting out a scientific study showing the aspartame may cause cancer. Damn. I drink AT LEAST a 12 pack of Diet Coke every day now for 25 years. Thank GOD that news didn't come in the midst of my doldrums or I would have had to get my sex change operation and go lilve in Surinam.)

Off to Kentucky for the week.

Noisette said...

I for one think that the idea of life as the one experience we have- not as sort of a "waiting room" to a dubious afterlife- is very poignant. It's harder, sure, knowing that this is our one chance to get it right- but doesn't it give everything we do a significance that it wouldn't otherwise have?
Lovely post, Wunelle. Thanks.