When we lived on land, like just about everyone else we knew, we watched Netflix after dinner pretty much every day. Recently, I realized that I couldn't remember the last time we'd watched Netflix despite having been at a dock with wifi for several weeks. Thinking back, I realized that we hadn't picked it up since Santa Barbara in mid-October, and suggested we cancel our account. James' initial response was rather GIR:
A few days later, though, he told me he'd cancelled it. Ah, the magic of time and space to consider and integrate! So, what do we do at night that's so engaging we plumb forgot that Netflix exists?
Research and Learning
How can I get rid of the smell in the galley sink drain? How do folks make mosquito screens for boats? Is it normal for this type of engine to spit a bit of coolant? What is the best way to strap down the kayak? What is the best way to get weather forecasts? How does the barometer work? Can we make our own barometer? What is the most ethical way to kill a fish?
Dreaming and Scheming
We enjoy watching YouTube videos from other sailors when we have internet, read books about world travel, and discuss our lives. We like to say that "The plan is no plan" but of course we are also always dream-planning. Will we stay in Mexico? Will we go to the South Pacific? Will we go through the Panama Canal to the Caribbean? What's it like to do each of those things? Where will we go during hurricane season this year? What will do with the boat while we go? Will we always live on a boat? What would it be like to stay in Mexico?
The marine environment is salty, wet, and sunny; harsh on stuff. Taking things apart, cleaning them, and putting them back together is far more pleasing than using things until they break and trying to repair them. The fridge and freezer need to be defrosted every month or so. There is always more laundry. The knives usually seem to want sharpening. Clothing needs to be mended. The beautiful mahogany interior likes to be polished. Simple hand-work is so pleasing and soothing; caring for the means to our life is a wonderful pleasure. Do you enjoy maintenance work? I'd love to hear your favorites! A friend once told me, when I said I dreaded doing my bookkeeping that for her, making spreadsheets was like hand sewing was for me. It changed my appreciation of bookkeeping forever!
Flipping the knife open 10,000 times so you can always flip the blade out the way you want. Rolling your r's again. Again.Tying knots over and over. Tying those knots with your eyes closed. Tying them backwards.
Almost all of our food is cooked from scratch. In addition to cooking 2-3 meals a day, there is the preparation of staples: making stock, cooking beans, cooking and freezing food that won't last in the fridge or to have on hand for when we are under sail. And then there is all the dishes that result; recently in the late afternoon I counted and realized I had already done the dishes seven times, and we hadn't had dinner. We look forward to every meal. My cooking has improved incredibly! Today I'm going to start a batch of apple cider vinegar -- after I toss the batch of pineapple vinegar that I made a mistake on and isn't fermenting right.
For the last few days, James has been working on his splicing technique and I've had the Sailrite out working on our cushion situation. I'm going to make fitted cushions for the cockpit. First, I sewing a cover for an indoor pillow to get back into the swing of sewing. Then I began to sew a throw pillow from the materials and with the methods I'll be using for the cockpit cushions to practice those skills. Then I'll start in on the cushions themselves; I've got the foam cut and the fabric in loose sheets that need to be cut carefully. And of course there is writing; these posts take a lot of time and care.
We love to listen to music, to explore new music when we have internet. We often sing along. The simpler our lives get, the more we love to sing and play. James is feeling his way into the harmonica I have a banjolele that thrills me to no end. I have yet to play it much; there always seem to be so many projects! Writing that is making me commit to spending a night on the uke soon.
We have a box of games, and for a while have been playing an endless game of Chickenfoot, where each time we play gets added to the lifetime total.
The body always wants tending, and I no longer have access to my familiar, vast array of fellow Bay Area healers. I could find great healers where I go, of course, but we are living frugally, and it's been empowering to up my personal responsibility for the stickiest spots I used to outsource. The foam roller, back knobber, cupping; I've got a bunch of self-massage tools and love to play with them in the evening.
We are voracious readers. In addition to reading for learning, noted above, there is reading for pleasure. We read a lot of good science fiction, and the dreamscape of our inner world is built in no small part by sharin our favorites; most recently in this vein, we're adoring Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire series. I love poetry, and tend to read few books and to read each many, many times. Since moving aboard, I've become fond of reading poetry aloud to James.
Listening to podcasts
James adores podcasts. I must admit that while I enjoy listening to them, it has yet to become my top priority to seek out my own; I just flow along with what James shares. They make nice listening while doing tasks that involve the hands but not a lot of mental work.
It seemed that everyone I knew in the city was always exhausted, but everyone also sat around and watched a lot of screens at night. We sleep as much as our bodies need to sleep now, which makes for an astonishing difference in mental clarity and physical wellbeing.
I'm writing this today because three nights ago we set up our screen and projector to watch a movie from our collection. It was so much fun! So we did it again. The second night was pretty good! So we did it again! Today I feel restless and fuzzy. Gosh, that's a lot of stuff to take in! We call it relaxing, all that intake, but I am surprised to find how much happier and better I feel when a movie is an occasional treat and not a regular part of my mental diet. Here in La Paz there is a once a week free movie at one of the marinas. I look forward to it all week! It's so much fun! We got out our screen because we missed it when it was cancelled for two weeks over the holidays, but this reminded me that just because something is enjoyable doesn't mean more is better.
I wonder what you'd find to do with your evenings if you turned off the story?