Kids, Don't Try This At Home!

Hi, and welcome to the adventures of "Triton", a 45' Robertson & Caine Leopard catamaran we purchased in July of 2007, in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. We sailed her back to Emeryville, California, located in the lovely San Francisco East Bay area, worked a few more years, then set off cruising in the fall of 2014. This journal is the story of our ongoing adventure, the folks we've met along the way, and the hardships and joys of that journey. Please read along and let us know what you think!

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Sailor Looks At Fifty...From The Wrong Side.


I've been hoodwinked!!

There is no other way to describe it. I was lied to, and misled, and fooled. Allow me to explain. It all has to do with birthdays, and birthday gifts. I do not conform to the societal norm of compulsory giving or receiving of gifts on predetermined dates, nor celebrations of religious holidays like Christmas, nor anniversaries, nor birthdays. Especially birthdays. Especially my own birthday!

I do not give birthday gifts, and I do not receive them. I hate birthday parties where the honoree stands there and opens numerous lame gifts you know they don't want, and I hate it most when that person is me.

So I just don't do it. I started this policy over twenty years ago, when I realized that I didn't actually enjoy any of it, Christmas, my birthday, anniversaries, etc. and each year round about December I kept going into massive debt paying off the bills from buying folks presents they didn't want, or need, while receiving gifts that were never what I would ever have chosen for myself and certainly didn't make me happy enough to justify the stress it all caused.

Now this doesn't mean I don't give gifts. I love to give someone a gift for no damn reason, only because I think it would be a great thing to give them. I love to get gifts that someone thought was exactly the thing I'd want, but just not on some preordained date, and especially not because of a preordained date. This probably works out a lot better for everyone else around me as well. If you ask Ann, she probably gets more things for no good reason except that I wanted to than she would were I to follow the more traditional approach. I just don't buy in to our culture's habit of buying in. It seems so false to me, and makes me feel bad whenever I'm a part of it.

That is why I was happy that our sailing schedule had delayed us such that we would be in P.V. for my birthday. Especially this birthday. I didn't know anyone here, AnnMarie was leaving the day before because of work constraints, and it seemed pretty safe from surprise visits from friends or relatives. So, this afternoon, when Randy and Margan asked if I could help repair the rip in their sail, I was more than happy to do so, not realizing this was also a ploy on Robinson's part to get me off the boat. Although I really should have been getting everything absolutely ready to leave the next morning, I felt pretty confident that things were under control and I could take some time to help them out. Plus I wanted to play with my new toy.

We dragged the machine over to their boat, pulled down their jib and pasted some sail tape over the rip. I then sewed it down with the machine, and touched up some other areas that seemed to be fraying. About half way through this process I began to worry that I hadn't left word with Robert or Robinson, who were out supposedly food shopping to re-provision the boat. I even naively asked Margan if she would wander over to the boat and let them know where I was. In the meantime I was having such a great time using my new sewing machine (not paying much attention to what was going on two slips over) that I didn't notice them wheeling the king sized grill over to our dock.

It was wonderful to get to use the SailRite again, and it worked flawlessly. After we were finished, Randy seemed quite pleased with the work and insisted he "buy me a drink". Well, I didn't want to be rude, so I dropped down below decks into their salon for a Rum & Coke. Then Joe and Linda came over, and we all sat around chatting about boats, sailing, and the numerous other topics that consume every cruiser's life.

Time flew by, everyone was getting hungry, and we decided we should go out for dinner. I explained that I needed to round up the guys, so I jumped up and wandered back to the boat. There was Robinson, busily grilling up enough fish kabobs, vegetables, and such for the entire dock. It was a setup, and I was the dupe. They had me dead to rights, thinking I'd avoided the entire affair, and I walked into a surprise fiftieth birthday party without ever seeing it coming. Apparently AnnMarie had conspired with the crew and left instructions that I should be tormented in her absence.

Fortunately, there was no compulsory gift giving, but I did have a wonderful evening surrounded by great people, great food and great music even if it was a compulsory dated event. We all feasted on the fabulous pot luck that everyone provided, and there was no end of storying telling, long sea tales and bad jokes. It was as close to the spirit of what a birthday party should be as I've ever seen, and I was honored that everyone took the time and effort to make it all happen. Thank you so much, guys! It was a night I will not forget.

At one point, Robert, who'd been chopping hot peppers for several minutes, began running around waving his hands in the air. Apparently whatever chemical there was in the chilies has leached into his fingers and they were on fire. We suggested all sorts of home remedies to cure him, which included several we knew wouldn't work but wanted to see if he would try. It was mean, but tormenting Robert has become something of a sport with us. Eventually we settled on salt and dish washing soap, applied repeatedly with ample scrubbing. That seemed to do the trick. Good thing he didn't need to pee!

The evening wore on, we all stayed up far past our bedtimes, and their were guitars involved. I learned how to play a famous sea shanty, taught it to Robert as well, and we sang along with the stereo. My only regret was that AnnMarie could not be there, as I'm sure we would have sung and played songs together. Oh well, it won't be long before I see her again, but I miss her already. In the words of Jack Johnson, "It's always better when we're together".

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out what to do about being so long in the tooth. Thirty wasn't bad at all, and forty wasn't hard to survive, but fifty has turned out to be something of a challenge. I find myself noticing how much I've changed in the last ten years. Slowed down, more than anything else, and lost a lot of the pent up drive I had to conquer the world. I'm also going slowly blind and deaf, just a tiny bit more so each day. I need glasses to read, have to ask people to repeat themselves, and generally just don't get things as quickly. I also ache more, and don't heal as fast.

I'm told that is all normal, mostly by the folks around me who are older than me, but it comes as a bit of a surprise when it happens to you. I have very few regrets in life, and even fewer things I'd take back, but I do wish I was able to preserve a bit more of my youth. I really miss being immortal, unstoppable and relentless. Oh, well. Perhaps there is an aging portrait of someone, somewhere, but it ain't me.

In the meantime, I wish you all eternal youth, the promise of good health, enough wealth to make your neighbors jealous and a partner that makes you smile every day. No one could ask for more, or deserves less!

We will spend tomorrow watching the Festival de Guadelupe, then head north for Mazatlan, where we will part ways with Robert (he needs to go back to work) and then on to Cabo San Lucas. If you have any interest in being crew, drop us a line and let us know.

Fair winds, a following sea, and toast me good days ahead.





rerekuka said...

Robb (Kane) Triton is *too* a nice, relentless man!

Happy Birthday, Robb!!!!


Rusty said...

Happy Birthday Robb! You don't look a day over 35 :)

Keep the posts coming, love them.
--rusty blazenhoff