Sunday, September 12, 2010

The nature of my nature

Attention people. I am hereby announcing a new interest: sailing. See, since I’ve proven unsuccessful in life and will eventually be naturally selected off the planet (a painful, painful truth), I decided some time ago to simply abandon society one day and walk with beasts until I burn out and die. True story. I await only a single catalyst, which I won't name here. There's no need for alarm. This isn't a confession of suicide or anything. On the contrary, it seems like a much better way to live than to be perpetually feeling my way through an ever changing maze. In fact, I’m kind of glad these past few years have been such a struggle. If they hadn’t been, God only knows how long I’d be blindly chasing the American Dream. Perhaps I’d have never realized its controlling effect.

My recent trip to Big Bend was a kind of trial run for how I’d fare in the most extreme conditions and to my dismay, it proved even more treacherous than expected. I don’t mind not living to 80 but I most certainly don’t want to croak in my 30s, which is what would have happened if I’d needed to hunt and gather and scare away big animals that wanted to eat me every day.

So sailing.

I can’t think of anything more wild. The ocean makes so much sense now. It was an undesirable place for me when wanderlust first struck my heart. I was barely a man and people and ignorance weren’t so upsetting for me then because I was a part of it. I first arrived in Canada at the age of 20, a solo high school dropout, an American statistic, unknowingly becoming self-aware. The world outside of the United States never crossed my mind so you can trust me when I say that I was the worst of ambassadors but I had charm and a pretty sweet vocabulary from all the fiction I’d read in lieu of school books. Traveling taught me as much as I learned in college the following years. “I wake to sleep and take my waking slow/I learn by going where I have to go” so says Roethke. So say I.

Having a community is no longer the necessity I need fulfilled as I did at 20, and I finally appreciate my unusual interests and the complementary nature of solitude. I used to think I was just degrading out of American norms that I couldn’t fit into and in a way I suppose that’s true. But those norms are sedentary and such inaction blobs us into diabetes and heart disease, xenophobic fascism, and an ignorant fury that sounds loudest: freedom, freedom, freedom. It’s all for you. I could handle it all if there wasn’t such a quiet despair storming in my mind. At least I can see it. So many people never understand their discontent and are dragged to the end of their days unwilling to let go of all that was left unaccomplished. I can’t have that.

Since I know nothing of sailing, it’s going to take some time to get acquainted. I invite any of you to email me links or book suggestions if you've got 'em. In the meantime, I think I’ll stroll through a few more national parks.

11 comments:

Pearl said...

Sailing, huh? My parents, in their late 50s, learned to sail on a big lake here in Minnesota, sold everything they had (including the Harley!) and bought a catamaran and moved from Minneapolis to St. Lucia. Sailed the Caribbean for about six years.

You can do it, too!

Pearl

f8hasit said...

I was just perusing the private islands that are currently for sale. Not that I have a million bucks in my bank account or the credit worthy of someone entrusting me that amount...but the thought of living on an island, well, it just makes my heart afflutter.

Of course there will be a dock. And a guest house/room where you can crash when you head thisaway.

Crash at the guesthouse.
NOT the dock.
:-)

carma said...

I know nothing of sailing and have a big fear of water, so I'm no use there.

But if 16 year old girls can sail around the world unassisted, I'd say you'll be in good shape :D

Leslie said...

As I too am a high school drop out I am certainly the best person to listen to on this matter! I once went sailing on beautiful Lake Travis and the seas were angry that day. Sailing is wonderful, it's good for your body and a can be very relaxing, but don't get too relaxed it is a treacherous venture. I guess that is what is so exciting about it! It is wonderful in the sense that you definitely know that mother nature has the upper had and doesn't give a damn about you...
Ok. that being said I happen to live in the sailing capital of the USA. Annapolis is all about sailing and there are always job ads for apprenticeships and deck hands. Many people here sail all over the world. Sailing takes $$$ and this place is full of it. The great thing is that if you don't have money and you wanna sail there are several ways to find yourself on a boat.
We have a second room and bathroom in our apartment and the door is always open anytime you would like to visit and check out Annapolis and the squashbucklers!

Dreamfarm Girl said...

can't help in the sailing department, but does it help to say that I love the line about the ignorant fury sounds loudest: freedom, freedom, freedom. It's all for you! That was just brilliant.

C. Andres Alderete said...

Thanks, Dreamfarm Girl. It was inspired by William Faulkner's amazing The Sound and the Fury which was inspired by Shakespeare's line in Macbeth:

"Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

The cruel irony here is that the line out of Macbeth can be directly applied to almost everything I post.

The rest of you, I respond to direct praise only.

carma said...

did Dreamfarm Girl say you were "brilliant" or that the phrase was "brilliant??" I'm not sure it counts as direct praise. Just sayin.' I'll await your response to my comment with bated breath :D

C. Andres Alderete said...

Good point, Carma. I respond to indirect praise and personal attacks only.

carma said...

Good. Now I feel better ;-)

Chindiana said...

Great stuff Carlos! or would wishing you a "welcome to a whole new adventure" suffice? I find it frustrating that the world seems to be working on the rules of engagement for the sheep masses. At least the few of us who stand proudly above the inanity of a conveyor belt lifestyle can make that first step to digging ourselves out of mundane mediocrity. That, and we would probably be the cool ones who survive a zombie apocalypse.

C. Andres Alderete said...

Thank you, Chindiana. I had never thought of my success during any kind of apocalypse. I think I'd do well under a zombie scenario, like Woody Harrelson in Zombieland. Life's contextual I guess.

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