Do you find that your house, or your car, or your body, sometimes goes through a bad patch? No problems for ages, and then a multitude of niggles all at once? Sedna seems to have hit just such a patch.
Nothing serious – just a number of things that aren’t quite as they should be, and the accumulation of outstanding issues makes me feel a bit unsettled and anxious. I’ve made a list of them, and will gradually get them sorted out as time and circumstances allow. But until then the anxiety is hanging over me like a squall cloud.
Still, a little fishy soul had reason to be grateful for one of my problems. It was a rough, rough night last night and I knew the footwell would be full of water this morning. Normally I would just flick a switch from inside my cabin and the bilge pump would take care of it. But I’d fixed the Sunsaver Duo problem shortly before sunset last night, and the batteries hadn’t had time to recharge and were low, so I didn’t want to run the bilge pump.
As I was dealing with the footwell the old-fashioned way – with a bucket – I found a sizeable flying fish floating upside down way down in the bilges. I thought he was a goner, but then noticed a feeble wiggle of his tail. I plucked him out and threw him back into the ocean. He righted himself and swam off. I don’t know how long he will survive in his weakened state, but his chances out there are better than in Sedna’s bilges.
If I’d have run the bilge pump as usual, I would have left him high and dry (or damp-ish, anyway) and he would definitely have been an ex-fish by the time I found him. So it isn’t all bad.
A couple of hours later, I was boiling up water for my Coco-Compote (my raspberry and coconut and pumpkin seed breakfast-type thing) when I saw an exciting piece of plastic marine debris. I immediately jumped up, but unfortunately by the time I had found a safe place to put down the Jetboil the debris had already passed me by and disappeared from sight, to my immense disappointment. It looked like a yellow plastic pyramid, of the sort used to warn customers of a wet and slippery floor. Although obviously I would prefer that it wasn’t out here, I was really bummed not to have grabbed it as it floated by. It would have been a brilliant bit of evidence for plastic pollution in the oceans.
Today I was listening to “Buyology“, by Martin Lindstrom, a marketing specialist. I had chosen it because I suppose I am trying to “sell” something too – that something being a message about environmental responsibility. Here is what I have taken away from it so far: when we use our re-usable grocery bags, or coffee cups, or water bottles, in public, our actions most definitely have consequences beyond the immediate saving of some “disposable” plastic. “Mirror neurons” mean that other people have a tendency to imitate behaviour. The more prevalent that behaviour becomes, the more likely they are to imitate it. So our good green deeds become contagious!
Also, when using your non-disposable alternatives, please endeavour to look as cool, sexy, confident and attractive as possible. That helps too, and makes imitation more likely. It may also have other, unintended consequences, such as random strangers inviting you to dinner, but I leave that to you to deal with!
Martin Lindstrom presents a lot of information about what makes us buy things. He is mostly writing with a view to helping marketing professionals to sell more, but as a “consumer” (although a decreasingly active one) it just makes me feel like I’ve been suckered. And makes me happier than ever that I’ve (at least partly) opted out of the consumer society. Unfortunately it seems to be managing pretty well without me.
You remember the last book I read was “The Brief History of the Dead“, in which the last human left alive was busy dying in Antarctica while everybody else had been carried off by a plague? I rather enjoyed it that the original vector for the plague turned out to be Coca Cola. How the publishers managed to get that past Coke’s legal department, I have no idea! But having read what Martin Lindstrom has to say about Coke’s marketing tactics, it seemed somehow appropriate that they turn out to be the bad guys in a sci-fi book.
Jess – yes, I have read Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit, (but not the others). I was very deeply affected by it. It had a huge influence on the way I see the relationship between humans and the world. I haven’t been quite the same since – nor have I wanted to be. I would absolutely recommend that EVERYBODY read it!
Fiona – huge congrats to the Bradford Grammar School rowers! I used to live near Durham (in Bishop Auckland) – what a lovely part of the country. I hope they had a great time at the regatta. Please pass on my best wishes for continued success this season. Are they going to Henley?
UncaDoug – thanks for the quote from Paul Gilding, about the need for a happiness-driven culture rather than a growth-driven one. I couldn’t agree more. Roll on, that happy day!
Apropos the Great Disruption, here is a quote for today: “Life improves slowly and goes wrong fast, and only catastrophe is clearly visible.” (Edward Teller)
Let’s try to use our intelligence, and head off the catastrophe before it happens. Start today! Say no to disposable plastics and SMILE!
Photo: my camera isn’t working today (one of the multitude of problems) so I’m using this as an excuse to dig out an excessively flattering picture from the archives – taken in Antigua the day after I arrived after rowing the Atlantic in 2006
Sponsored Miles: Thanks to you Carol Jones, Brian Kirsch, Bruno Detillieux.