It happened again. On the Cremyll ferry on my way home from work yesterday afternoon a fellow passenger asked me “so, are you excited?”
I’ve given up lying. Before, I worried that it seemed somehow ungrateful to be unexcited about going away on a dream voyage with the man I love in the boat we’ve spent three and a half years getting ready for just this purpose. Everyone else seems to think it’s terribly romantic and thrilling so I played up to them, and sometimes a glimmer of a future vision even shone through and made me briefly high with hope.
And yes, theoretically, of course I’m excited. It’s just that the actual emotions that I’m actually feeling are dealing with a lot of other shit right now. There’s the anxiety that swooped in with a shuddering “ta daaa” after a wedding a few weeks ago, which has been making long, painful appearances as and when it likes ever since, reducing me to a smiling cardboard cut-out propelled by a hidden fretting engine. There’re the to-do lists: the one in my head, the one on the cupboard, the one on my computer – they have all melted down in to one big impenetrable layer of “mate, you’re screwed”. There’s the shoulder/back muscle/vertebrae I pulled, providing non-stop dull pain, and the pharmacist’s suggestion that I see a chiropractor that I can neither afford nor stay around long enough to attend. And finally there’s the nicotine I’ve chugged back in to my system, adding to the general feeling of ill health and unfit self-loathing. I’ve stopped running to let my shoulder heal, and my lungs hate me.
And that aside, as Rich noted the other day, there’s the fact that we’ve been working on this for so long that this last fortnight of work feels hardly different to the one before, or those a year or three before that.
I’m not excited about the sailing any more. I’m not excited about the new countries and their fabulous cuisines and the exploration of rivers and coastal towns. I’m not excited about learning new skills at sea and sketching at coffee tables and the freedom that our new lifestyle will afford us. I will be to the point of giddiness – I promise. But right now there’s only one vision to look forward to and drag us through this period of weekend jobs, overtime and tiredness, and it is simply this: us, anchored in a nearby river, doing absolutely sod all. Sod all. Maybe with a fishing rod. Only a few weeks to go.
There are still plenty of moments of joy. I walked for a day with my mum as part of her incredible mission around the whole South West Coast Path, and as always benefitted from her self-supporting approach. For Rich’s birthday a couple of weeks ago we got the dinghies on the water at last, and I commanded Bob for his first row and her first sail with a borrowed rig (I’ve not settled on a pronoun so Bob is staying genderqueer) while Rich messed around with his Fanny, blown along with the force of a hundred innuendos.
The mini-opera had its finest rehearsal yet and our first performance is next week. The lead actress has cracked ribs, making movement difficult and painful, and I am finding it unpleasant to move my head back or to the left, which are pretty much my only actions in the whole play. Fortunately, it’s still just fun enough to persevere. It’s about time “Hanging on in there” went on the skills list on my CV.