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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Let's Share a Drum


Have you ever been seasick? My first experience with this was a return ferry ride of two hours from Nantucket. We had rough seas at night and I quickly became very queasy. I had only one thought - get me off this boat. Being at the lower level with odors of fuel was not helpful so I decided to move to the rear and go outside. Here I found a man with his girlfriend - she was in a similar, but more advanced state.

I was surprised to learn that he was a Norwegian sailor, so at least I had the benefit of well seasoned companionship. He invited me to join his girlfriend who now had her head over a 55 gallon drum serving as a garbage can. I had nothing against her, but the prospect of both of our heads in the same oil drum was not what I had in mind, because I was not really ready to vomit - I was holding on at all costs.

Our sailor could sense this and gave me advice that made a lasting impression. He said that the key to this situation was DONT FIGHT IT. GO WITH THE BODY. He repeated this many times. No, I don't want to go with the body. I don't want to vomit - I hate that feeling. Forget it.
He elaborated, repeated and also informed me that eventually, being sick at sea catches up with every sailor. This surprised me. He said given enough time and extreme weather conditions, every sailor has his day. This was my day and I was not enjoying it at all. I can still hear him with a Norwegian accent - go with the body.

His admonition however, seemed well suited outside the world of sailing, seasickness, nausea and vomiting. Go with the body was tantamount to the old adage, go with the flow. Many unpleasantries are worsened by resisting circumstances beyond one's CONTROL. This is the secret to dealing with stress in New York City - rush hour crowds, horrendous traffic, long lines, etc. Visitors, often coming from the suburbs where the logistics of life are easier, are perplexed at how New Yorkers can tolerate the stress of the city. The key is not just to pick your battles but not to engage in battle at all. Don't' fight it - go with the flow.

I dislike rainy days like today. I find them so dreary and rather than embrace them, like the nauseous seafarer, I fight them, hoping and waiting for signs of clearing, wishing for the sun to peek through. But here, as elsewhere, rain can be comforting. It can be an opportunity to refocus and participate in things better suited to a rainy day. Stay indoors to work on some overdue projects. Relax and read, go online, watch a movie or TV. Perhaps dress appropriately, go out and enjoy the glistening city. When seasick, don't fight it, go with the body. In New York City, don't fight it, go with the flow. And if we find ourselves together, let's share a drum :)

Related Post: Landlubber

8 comments:

Not Retired said...

I has always given into the depression of a cool, rainy day until many years ago, while hiking in northern WI, I took refuge from the rain under several trees and allowed myself to appreciate the sights and feelings. Given that I was warm enough, I now always go back to those comforting feelings and, as you said, don't fight it.

Arguendo | Dixi said...

Wonderful picture. And a great story. I may have to steal your "lets share a drum" line at some point in the future.

Marie-Noyale said...

That is A fabulous photograph!

Myra Beaulieu said...

I share the same out look, know wonder we are related :)

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renlgs303 said...

Nice shot!

Sailor said...

Beautiful picture.

About sea sick- You get used to it once you start sailing regularly.

Bella said...

great pic, love NY, no other place on earth like it...