Saturday, April 16, 2005

4 More Answers & Pau for Now!

Oh man. I said something recently about how one of my less favorite things about me is my tendency to go on, and on, and on, and on some more when sometimes it’s just as or more effective to be succinct.

All three of my tag-ees did all 20 of their questions in one swell foop. And they gave really cool answers too. I was reading 'em & going "Oh, so that's how this game should be played".

here they are again -

Sardonic Bomb
Tuna Girl, and
Some Amusing Blog Pun

My goal, tonight, is therefore to finish off my 4 remaining questions. I should be able to do that!

Karen asked why I finally started my blog:

This January, we had some really cold weather in New York, and the Hudson froze. We have a kayak listserve here in New York, NYCKayaker. My joke has been that I started this blog to keep myself from picking fights on the list – it did used to be prone to foul-weather flame wars over the most idiotic things. Seriously, though one of my outlets for can't-get-boat-in-water induced cabin fever before this year had been posting long, rambling meditations on various aspects of paddling to the list. However, last year I ended up getting in a couple of “back-channel” squabbles with different people, and somehow the words “egotism” and “snob” seemed to be being thrown in my direction on an awfully regular basis.

Well – I don’t think that was quite fair, but it did make me think a lot about the nature of the listserve, and the nature of my posts, and whether it really was appropriate to inflict all those words on the inboxes of a bunch of people who weren’t exactly going “Oh, please enlighten us BCU-starless mortals with more of your wisdom, oh bonnie13!”. I got really self-conscious & decided to stop. But then the blizzards hit, and the water froze, and I couldn’t go paddling, and all those pent-up words were stacking up in my brain & I really did want to let them out to play somewhere. I’d been getting a kick out of reading blogs since my friend Bobo had first told me about his, shortly before he came to NY for the first “GB NYC” gathering, and my friend Larry, who’d blogged very briefly during a rough point in his life, kept saying that I had to have a blog, and at this point I decided maybe that maybe a blog really would be a better venue for my ramblings. That way, the only reason anyone would read them would be because they wanted to – not because I’d gotten a whim to post some interminable monologue on some listserve. I may still be an elitist snob of a paddler, but at least I'm not boorishly inflicting my elitist snobbishness on an entire listserve simultaneously! Heh heh heh.

Ignacio asked: When was the last time you spent lavishly?

Well – having been laid off several times, although never out of work for long, I tend to be a bit on the frugal side. Got my kayak & a great apartment, that's the main thing! But last October, one of my sailing friends (Capt. Sarah) & I went off for a week in Maine, sailing on the schooner Lewis R. French
. That was fantastic. We both work on the schooner Adirondack, and it felt like such an utter luxury, after a long summer of working hard on our own boat, to go sail on somebody else’s boat and have Capt. Garth and his really awesome crew taking as much care of us as we take of our own passengers. More, in fact – the Adirondack ROCKS and if you come out with us, we will take you for a fantastic sail on our beautiful boat, and try to make sure you have a great time for the 2 hours you’re aboard, but we are not going to throw a lobster bake on a deserted island for you, or find you the sheltered harbor where the boat will rock you to sleep in the gentlest way possible even if a cold front comes whistling through in the middle of the night…nope.

Mmmm. Boy, that was fun. We did utterly and completely fail to be ladies of leisure – if there was something to be hauled or hoisted, we were always right there, but that’s ‘cause we’d both rather sail than just watch other people sail. It was all voluntary, though – and we only did the work that we thought was fun (didn't have to scrub the head ONCE, yahoo)!

Back to Karen…sorry, being random!

Have you ever been in love?

Well…I couldn’t finish with this one ‘cause it makes me vaguely sad. Somehow I don’t do the dating/relationships thing really well. I find the dating scene in NY to be slightly offputting. Offputting in the same way that I find that ad for that online dating service, True, where the caption for the ad is “Find True Love”, and the photo above the caption is a large pair of breasts, barely restrained by a white bikini, to be offputting. Now if the caption just said “Find Big Boobs”, that would still kinda make me go “ew”, but at least it would make sense…call me a prude, though, but I have really bad time equating a totally anonymous pair of tits with love. Sorry, sidetrack there but I keep seeing that ad on Sitemeter and it just makes me want to gag a bit every time I see it. Anyways…I did date a guy for 2 years, a few years back. I loved him – he liked me. The nice thing - even if it doesn’t sound nice – was that he never led me to believe otherwise, which is why we’re still friends. I have this funny persnickety cavil about the phrase “being IN love”; I feel like for something to count as being IN love, there should be some reciprocality. That’s never happened to me. Anyways, the older I’m getting, the harder I’m finding it to imagine that happening – and the harder I find it to imagine that happening, the less I worry about it. Usually.

Or that may just be some big time sour grapes after I’d found myself getting all unaccustomedly fizzy over somebody for the first time in a couple of years, last year, and in the end not only did nothing happen, but it turned out I’d totally misread the entire situation and it ended up being a big disaster and all I can do now is try to keep working through it. I’m a lot better now than I was a couple months ago. Oh well. Sour grapes are full of Vitamin C, right?

Finishing off with something FUN – although can’t be concise here! Kayaking! Woo hoo! My FAVORITE!

What do I like so much about kayaking?

Lots of things. I love being outside, on the water. I love watching terns fish (and fish turn, too!) It put “live water” back in my life in New York City. I tend think of oceans and rivers & other naturally-occuring water as being somehow almost alive – I like swimming in a pool but for the first 6 years I lived in New York (before I started paddling or even knew that people did kayak on the Hudson) I really missed getting out in or on open water – the ocean was such a part of my life as a Navy brat growing up in Hawaii that…well, I’m just not happy when I’m landlocked. God, after I moved to NY, but before I figured out a way to get out on the Hudson, I would just live for that week when I’d go home to visit my folks in Hawaii, or we’d have a family get-together in Michigan that would include a trip to my Aunt K & Canoe-Buildin' Uncle's tiny cabin on the Manistee River. Kayaking meant that I could actually get out on the water right here in NYC almost anytime I wanted to.

I also love that paddling is a very cumulative sort of skill – you never have to stop learning (part of why I like teaching so much is that I find that when I’m teaching, I’m learning, too), and no matter how well you do even the most basic strokes, you can always get them even better with practice. There’s something very meditational about it, too – living in NYC can be hectic and stressful, and I can get caught up in day-to-day stuff, and my mind just gets locked into a spin, like a dog after it’s own tail (except that the dog is at least having fun & my mind is just stressing itself out). But out on the water, your attention has to be there on the water, on your boat, on your form, on your strokes and on whatever or whoever else is on the water around you. It doesn’t matter how fast my mind is racing over something when I get to the barge – by the time I’ve changed into paddling gear and prepped my boat, I’m already letting it go, and by the time I’ve warmed up, relaxed, and gotten into a good paddling flow, all I’m thinking about is where I am and what I’m doing at that moment – and how beautiful it is out there, and how happy I am to be out there, enjoying the rhythm of the waves, flowing with everything else.

There! All pau! Unless anyone else actually has 5 more questions for me. Otherwise I will have a nice short trip report tomorrow and then take a break Sunday & maybe Monday. Phew. Next time I do a Q&A meme I really will try to keep things shorter!

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