Object Lessons: Rantings of a Lone Pamphleteer
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Sailing, Sailing

Went sailing with our friend B. on Saturday. We were joined by another colleague, MM, and the four of us set off on a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour.

Once we'd made that joke a few times, we headed for the harbor. B., who is an accomplished sailor, passed the test that Harbor rental agent gave him, and
Based on past experience, I confidently took half a Dramamine to prep myself, and we set off.

It was loads of fun for the first hour. B. knows a lot about sailing, and was willing to teach. Jon had sailed with B. before, on the Chesapeake, and I was the least experienced person there. I learnmed a lot, starting with the parts -- mast, mainsail, jib -- and moved onto basic steering. Bill even encouraged me to take the tiller. Though B. had sworn this was the hardest type of boat to turn over (on account of it's deep keel), my inexperienced tilling challenged his assurance on more than one occassion. Once, B. had MM move to the same side of the boat, to help counteract the nearly forty-five degree angle of the boat. I only splashed the deck,. though, and did better once we were out in the harbor.

Right up until I splashed the sides of the boat with the contents of my stomach.

Now, I've spent my life nauseous. The stink of gasoline in Mexico is always ensured to make me gag. On cross-country flights, I can always tell when we're crossing the Rockies, and not by looking out the window; I keep those closed.

Over the years, I've barely learned to deal with the horrible embarrasment. It seems like a lack of control, as if mere self-discipline would keep me from it. I have picked up a few tricks; a cold cloth on the neck, tomato juice, focusing on the horizon line. A quarter of a Dramamine every couple of hours is usually the most reliable.

Now, I don't like throwing up in front of people. It's not fun. Nothing is more offensive than emptying your bile in public.

I remember the time I first met my inlaws. Jon and I flew to Phoenix to meet them. Silly me, I thought they lived nearby. The flight had made me ill, and I was relieved to get into the car, until Jon clarified that it was a two-hour drive to Tucson, where they actually lived.

A two-hour drive. Or so. Through the mountains.

By the time we reached the community, I was ready to go. Get out of the car. It took all my concentration to keep it down. (I've had lots of practice.) But the LTD in front of us wouldn't move more than 5 miles an hour. It's 90-year-old driver was driving home unperturbed by the woman in the back seat of a big van that had just crossed the Catalinas. And I blew. Right outside the car in the middle of the street. In front of my inlaws. On our first meeting.

They were very kind about it. And they welcomed me with open arms twenty minutes later when we announced our engagement.

Bless their hearts.

Every experience has a gift for you -- especially the bad ones. I felt fewer qualms about admiting my dilemma aboardship than I would have four years ago. I can see the appeal of sailing, but not for me. I just can't.

My other favorite blowing story is from our first trip to San Diego, on a whale-watching tour.

Some other time...



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