The Burnetts have almost touched their feet to land for three continuous months. Let’s face it: land still feels weird. The early days were spent in familiar gypsy-mode, with new surroundings every hour, the Burnetts blissfully free of burden as Greg’s mother in land-locked Missouri continued to sort our substantial mail. This permitted denial. For the last eight weeks, however, the family has been burdened with a static mailing address. Things are now…AAAACK!…”forwarded.” Suddenly, the Burnetts have to deal with all of that crap themselves.
So here’s an under-advertised advantage to cruising: no effing JUNK MAIL! Jo Belle (Greg’s Mom and designated mail-collector while we were gone) is our hero! Here in Omaha, giant file organizers have been purchased, approved recycling bins have been acquired and filled, and once a day Mel has to resist ripping the XM radio out of her new car just to make them stop bothering her. $19.99 a month after her free trial is over for radio in her car??? No gracias! Hey, what is Spanish for: “Go away!”? Didn’t have to use that in Spain. Just here.
The worst part about all of this is that the long-idealized cable-TV conduit to pop culture has been horribly disappointing, providing nothing but an unfavorable ratio of commercials to content (and an unfavorable glorification of Real Live Stupid People) that has worsened dramatically in the last two years. In between the acquisition of the various land-type-things-insurance (the Burnetts LOVE insurance), the booking of the kids’ extracurricular activities, and the assembling of IKEA furniture, Mel can’t seem to find the time to optimize her DVR to allow her to skip all the crap. Ugh.
There is, unfortunately, plenty of time for regret.
At the risk of sounding repetitious and negative, this transition to land life STILL SUCKS. The effing hurricanes aren’t helping. Every time one blows through a landmass we visited, Mel reads her own blog post, looks at all the pictures, and cries. Is Alexis okay? Winston? Mr. Burton? Debbie? Will Dominica be taken over by China while the US is looking the other way?
Oh good. Canada has stepped in. Canada quietly saves the day, once again.
The family is still getting used to the yoke of the schedule. The watch alarm was one thing, but if Greg slept through his alarm because it was drowned out by the motoring, the only consequence was an irritated Mel walking into the berth ten minutes later, gently shaking him, and announcing that she was too tired to hoist the spinnaker now and it would have to wait. And then she would help hoist the spinnaker anyway, because the winds were so good. Now, a slept-through alarm means nervous scrambling, tears, risky high-speed driving, disciplinary action, and shame. “Island-time” was irritating to Americans used to getting things done ASAP, but boy, traveling really makes one realize that the whole thing is a trade-off. Is efficiency really worth all of this stress?
Being rooted for this long makes one nostalgic for many, many things. One thing is the picture Mel frequently took while on passage to the next island of the land we were leaving behind. What a luxury, to move on from something! Most of the time we weren’t fleeing anything negative other than our own familiarity with a place and the unfounded idea that any more time spent on the last island was taking away from what could be an even more exciting experience on the next. Now, every time Sirius XM bothers Mel with yet another phone call, Mel still has to look at the same well-rooted, mature tree in the yard. Oooh, yuck. This facing-your-problems-outside-of-paradise stuff blows.
Okay, Omaha apparently doesn’t do curbside recycling of glass. Seriously? Minnesota has figured this out, people. Shit. Mel needs to catch a boat out of here. Any tributaries in Omaha reaching to the sea? Any?
But wait! What is that on the horizon? It is a beautiful blue bird in the sky! Is that…an airplane?! Flown by Greg?? Ah-ha!
This airplane goes 160 kts. So that is like boat speed, but with a one in front and a zero at the end. So now we can go from Fort Lauderdale to Port Antonio, Jamaica, in 3.5 hours instead of 5 days. Just what the doctor ordered!
You see, even if nomads pin themselves down for very good reasons, they’ll find a way to leave the land behind, at least for a little while.