Friday, February 1, 2013

Adjustment Issues

There are things I love about being on land.  Somehow, we have landed in what I would consider an almost-perfect place.  The ‘almost’ comes from the fact that life in Adelaide is expensive.  Very, very expensive.  But so many of my favourites are covered: the apartment is bright.  I can walk everywhere.  There is a free bus downtown.  The girls love their schools.  People are friendly.  The rules are relaxed.  There is a library 200 m from my door.  The weather is awesome.  Hot running water!  These are things it is hard to compete with.  Erik is already having a panic attack about trying to get us to move back aboard when his project is done.

Hooray!  We're finally free from Mom and get to go to school!
But, the honeymoon feelings of having a dishwasher aside, there are things I’m having trouble with.

Problem Complaint #1: The News
Oh, people.  What are you doing to yourselves?  I realize that reading a newspaper and watching the TV news is an unspoken requirement for personhood to many people.  And still I must ask you: why?  Since we hit NZ, I’ve flipped through the odd paper and seen a few news reports.  And what did I learn?  Nothing of value.  In one paper, it took Erik and me until page 93 to find anything we wanted to read about.  In the whole paper, we found two articles of interest, one about the Mars Curiosity, and another detailing comments from President Obama regarding the Israeli government.  What was the rest of the paper?  Aside from ads (don’t get me started), it was fear-mongering.  Thefts, murder, car crashes, don’t-eat-this-it-will-give-you-cancer, oh-no-our-kids-are-fat, be-careful-or-something-really-bad-is-going-to-happen-to-you, doom, doom, gloom.

In theory, the news fills a vital role.  I am interested in world news, and by that I mean a cogent overview and analysis of world events.  Not easy to find.  As for my local news, if I could find good coverage in a paper, I’d read it.  Until that exists, I’ll just talk to people.  You find out more, anyway.

In short, most so-called news is all filler and no content.  I won’t let it steal my time and make me scared.

Actual problem #1: I Own Nothing

Actual size.
Well, not nothing.  Obviously I own things.  Probably too many things.  But when I arrived in Adelaide, I realized that the entire contents of my wardrobe fit into one drawer.  That drawer.

Oh, you think I’m playing?

That's it.  There is no more.
See?  And that drawer is by no means chock-a-block.  The bottom drawer is currently occupied by computer cables, notebooks and other detritus, only to make me feel like I have something to put in there because otherwise it looks so sad and purposeless.  Maybe that is why people have too much stuff – they feel sorry for empty spaces.

Point being, I probably can’t wander around in my stained, boat-appropriate t-shirts around here.  I may have to do two things I hate doing, ie. 1. Spend money and 2. Go shopping.  Ugh.  Save me.

Problem #2: Explaining Papillon
You wouldn’t think this would be a tough one.  I’ve lived aboard Papillon for more than two years, and I pretty much have my patter down.  And up to this point, it has worked.  People get it.  They might think it is crazy, but they get it: family + boat = familyboat.  Adventure on the high seas.  But, for some reason, when I tell people here in Australia that I live on a boat, they make a funny face.  A brief frown crosses their features, as though they can’t really process what I’ve said.  Most days, I feel like I’ve told people, “I live in a jar of mustard,” or “I think car tires make a tasty snack.”  Those are the looks I get.  Maybe this is related to the issue above and the fact that, to these put-together moms, I must look like I just stumbled out of an alley somewhere.  Whatever the case, I’m clearly not in tune with the Australian psyche yet.

Problem #3: Routine
It isn’t as though we didn’t have a routine on Papillon.  Get up, eat, do school, eat, play somewhere, eat, read, sleep.  But some days it would be: get up, eat, go look at turtles, swim, eat, visit friends, write, eat, have an impromptu party.  Or, get up in the middle of the night, sail out of the harbour, make tea.  And all without the tyranny of a clock.  Man, do I not like wearing a watch again.  But when the school says be here now and pick them up then, you do it.  Land life = scheduled life.  Bleh.  Do people really do this for years on end?  Yes, obviously they do – I did, too.  But, more and more, I'm having trouble remembering why.

The solution is obvious: spend half the year aboard, half the year on land.  Totally perfect and manageable and in no way disruptive for work or school or anyone involved, right?  When they build that fairytale utopia of lollipops and spun sugar, you be sure to let me know.  I’ll point Papillon in that direction and apply for my visa right away.


Anonymous said...

You make us all envious. If you have trouble explaining your life style to folks who are surrounded by the sea, you should see the looks & comments that we get explaining your life style to folks back home.

Time to go shopping-make a plan & break a leg
Love Mom

SV Pelagia said...

On the bright side, this short sojourn to the dark side (landlife) should make you appreciate life on Papillon even more when you return to her!