Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Afflicted by Lust
On my recent trip to Southern California my mind got infected by lust. I had been surrounded by sparkling German sports cars, gleaming Harleys, and everywhere I looked I ogled a bronzed Adonis with his Aphrodite walking on the strand in skimpy beachwear.
Worst of all, we had a lovely dinner on a dock looking out on the well-kept yachts in Newport Harbor. My normally well-functioning immunity to the gimmies became exhausted. I began thinking about getting a motorcycle, a new sports car, and a new boat. I thought, too, that I should start working on my tan (not smart for someone who's already had several basal cell carcinomas whittled off his body).
In the two and a half days since then I've been able to shed all but the stickiest affliction: sailboat lust.
Every summer I get smitten at some point or another with this particular form of mental illness. My condition became acute when I came home from the video store with a copy of the new Disney documentary, Morning Light, concerning a Transpac crew of teenagers sponsored by Roy Disney. But that's fodder for another post.
I mentioned my lust to Sarah who said, "Why don't you go out and buy yourself a sailboat in the water and be done with it? Maybe you'll love it. Either that, or at least you'll get over it."
Comments like that would send some guys immediately on two errands: one to the loan officer and the next to yacht broker, but not me.
Instead, I applied my favored antidote to mental maladies: RAIN.
RAIN is an acronym for:
I find its non-linear 4-step process very helpful in untying mental formations that cause me to suffer.
I typically invoke RAIN as my strategy to relate to my fear (which is my most characteristic affliction), but RAIN works on other forms of mental suffering, even greed, as in this case.
Recognizing and Accepting
By recognizing and accepting my sailboat lust rather than trying to push it away I find I can work with it more effectively. It's there. I'm sick with it. It's got me in its grip. It's okay. That's how I am. Instead of trying to do away with my sailboat lust, I take a step closer and go to the investigation mode.
That's when I can see more than the fantasy images of sailing happily across the bay with my best friends smiling...all the good things (and they are good things) about sailing. I don't try to push these thoughts away; I still see the good things about sailing. It is fun. But I allow myself to look more deeply.
As good as sailing can be, sailing also involves lots of driving from where I live down to the marina. If I got a boat in the water, I would spend time and money with the chandlery, the sailmaker, the boat yard, and other places, too. I would write lots of checks: checks to all the aformentioned as well as checks to the marina for slip fees, to insurance companies, riggers, bottom scrubbers, and more.
The sailboat rides I would offer my friends would scare the hell out of some of them. It gets cold on the San Francisco Bay, even in summer, especially in the summer when it's so damn windy that most boats stay dockside. Sailboat stuff breaks. Broken stuff costs lots of money to fix.
Owning a sailboat would mean committing to going sailing more regularly than I'd ever actually want to go. I enjoy sailing, but I enjoy hiking more. I enjoy kayaking, bicycling, cooking and many other activities. I know I would not enjoy sailing enough to not notice that each outing was costing me hundreds of dollars.
Sailboats are inherently slow, uncomfortable, and high-maintenance vehicles. The whole idea of sailing is to make sailboats exactly what they don't want to be: fast, comfortable, and shipshape. Sailboat ownership is actually kind of crazy.
My thoughts aren't me. Thoughts are just thoughts. They come, they hang around a bit, they go.
My investigations into sailboat lust bring me closer to the actual reality of sailboat ownership, which for me is not a great fit, even though I do love to sail every now and then.
I allow this lust to have its little sleepovers in my mind, but I invite its bedfellows to come on over for the night, too. The whole party eventually smells bad.
Then, the sailboat lust begins to lose its grip. The fever breaks, dissolves.
And my equilibrium is restored.