Friday, July 01, 2005

Where Ocean’s author gets in over her head, in rough waters

I recently met someone who is an extreme sailing enthusiast (in addition to being an in-his-spare-time Hoofer's instructor, for those here in Madison who know a Hoofer when they see one). When he found out that I’d been sailing only once in my life on some little nothing boat in Poland when I was maybe 18, he began coaxing me into coming out for a sailing lesson.

I resisted for a while, but finally and I admit this without shame – I thought: why not? It will at best be the adventure of my life and at worst: a terrific blogging opportunity.

So today I sailed.

I’m sailing away
Set an open course for the virgin sea...
(song sung by Ocean author at the last karaoke attended by her)

My instructor pal is terrific. Moreover, he may at some point log onto this blog and so I will not convey here the full passion of my (negative) feelings toward sailing.

Madison July 05 004 for the love of sailing

In truth: it was not his fault. He is so good at yelling at the crew to get their shit together. And he caught me when I almost was pulled by the rope and tugged viciously to the raging waters below.

Madison July 05 011
is that the Capitol? So far away...

And maybe my attitude was tinted by the weather: today was so goddamn windy that the choppiness I am sure would make a mermaid seasick.

Madison July 05 015 note his task: it was mine for 90% of the hours spent on the sail boat

I did not mind the heavy work either. The bending, hoisting, pulling, swinging down as the sail swept its way across the boat threatening to bang the hell out of anything or anyone in its way – all this reminded me somewhat of working in a restaurant kitchen (another one of those things that took my fancy a few years back) – except that it was like working on plating appetizers on a rocky, swaying floor, where if you did not grip tightly with your shoes, you would be thrown into the oven with the powerful force of a room that refuses to stay upright.

You know when I hit bottom? When I got off the boat, swaying my way in total stupor up the Union Terrace steps and realized that my Summer Without Car meant that I had to peddle Mr. B all the uphill way home.

A Whole Foods moment, part 2

Generally, I do not take over the counter supplements – of the type that are supposed to boost your everything, from the immune system to your sexual pleasure. It’s not that I do not believe in them. I’m sure turmeric, green tea, cloves and ginger really give a nice dose of anti to your oxidants, but when I last studied the ingredients of a leading supercritical antioxidant supplement (in addition to the above, it had parsley, peppermint, rosemary and, I kid you not, extra virgin olive oil and yellow beeswax), it sounded more like a list of salad ingredients than effective device for increasing your cell protective activity. Bottom line: I’ll focus on throwing together a salad instead. And anyway, there’s something grossly wrong about me paying money to counter free radicals. I was raised in a different political culture.

But yesterday I reconsidered. I had been talking to someone who is involved with pharmaceuticals and oncology and all those other important medicinal matters and he was rather shocked that I wasn’t blasting away at detoxification with greater force.

And then he said – I know you love wine. Surely you take milk thistle? I do not. I do – he tells me – at least once a day, I put it in my coffee.

Put something putrid in my coffee?? You have got to be kidding! My pricey latte should be bombarded with a foul seed extract that purports to counter the damage the caffeine (or wine) is about to inflict? No, it cannot be.

On the other hand, I had to admit that my rendition of a salad lately has been to open a bag of mixed greens or arugula and eat them straight from the plastic container. I don’t even take the time to give it a fourth rinse (believing all that garbage they write about it being already triple rinsed), I most certainly haven’t been putting any turmeric, green tea, ginger, parsley, peppermint or rosemary into it.

And, not surprisingly, I found that you can, these days, get everything in a pill. Everything. Forget about pouring putrid liquids into a great latte.

Okay, so now I have these pills that will save me from sure death by tomorrow. But just for July. After that, my life is all about purging and getting rid of things.

A Whole Foods moment, part 1

Are you one of those people that gives an honest answer when someone runs into you and says “how’s it goin’?”

Because you know you shouldn’t do that. People don’t want to know. 99.9% of the time the bump on your hip and the slump in your demeanor and wit will make them uncomfortable and they’ll quickly review their options for a hurried retreat.

Give them one. If you must unload, give them a chance to walk away. Throw out a gift of “oh, but you know, that’s just the way things are, so must get going now to experience some more of life’s bumps and bruises.” They’ll love you for it. Watch the big grin appear, the hand, poised, ready for a parting wave, relief, palpable relief evident in their entire demeanor.

I am puzzled though. If most people really do not want to know, why do they ask? After all, “hi there, how’s that blog of yours?” works equally well and generally one can say at least one honestly pleasing thing about one’s blog.