After living outside the United States for twenty-eight years, I am finally
connected. At least that's what everybody tells me. You see, I
completed my circumnavigation around the world on my sailboat, I'm back in
the USA, and I now have a cell phone.
Don't feel sorry for me because I wasn't connected for all those years.
I was connected to other things, and I didn't need a cell tower to feel my life was good.
What exactly did I get when I got connected? I got an overpriced
handheld fit-in-the-palm-sized plastic gadget that I have to carry around
with me wherever I go, and whenever it makes noise, I have to pay money.
It's like a slot machine, a no-armed bandit, and every time the cell phone
rings, I lose, and the cell provider wins.
What did I learn when I got connected? First, I found out
that getting connected costs lots of money and staying connected costs even
more. I also learned that in my new world, I can only be connected for
500 minutes each month without having to pay another mountain of money.
It turns out that I am connected to a bottomless money pit that would like
nothing better than to suck my finances dry.
Being connected does have it's benefits - I do get to talk to my family
whenever I want until I run out of minutes or money. When you're
connected, you enter into a time warp in which time is split into two
dimensions. The first dimension is called "ANYTIME MINUTES", and I am
only allowed to visit this dimension for five-hundred minutes a month.
Apparently this dimension is very crowded, and they won't let me stay longer
unless I pay more money. The second dimension is called "NIGHTS AND
WEEKENDS." I can do whatever I want for as long as I want in this dimension, and it doesn't
cost anything extra.
In my new life, special messages appear on my phone from outer space. They are called text messages, and every time a message
appears, money comes out of my wallet. I have decided that I don't
like text messages. I hope people living in the two dimensions don't
send me text messages. I'd rather talk to them while I'm living
in the "NIGHTS AND WEEKENDS" dimension.
I don't want to complain about my new life, but I confess I liked my
old one better. I got along fine without a cell phone, and I was
connected to other things that talked to me and sent messages without
sending a monthly bill.
Take a look at Exit Only sailing downwind into the setting sun with
headsails unfurled. The sails are connected to the wind, and Exit Only
is connected to the sea as we slide over the waves heading westward around
the world. I am totally immersed in blue skies and crystal clear
water, and I am connected to everything that makes my spirit soar. I
don't need a cell tower to hear the messages that surround me on all sides.
I listen to the sound of the sails and sea, and I know life is good.
I hope I don't get disconnected from my old world; that would be selling my
birthright for a bowl of porridge. I am going to have to come to a new
agreement with life. I already miss being connected to the trade
winds, the sea, the stars, porpoises, and pilot whales that I communed with for the past eleven years. During those years I
didn't have to split my time into anytime minutes, nights, and weekends.
I was connected to everything I loved all the time. My old world
had plain vanilla minutes that worked just fine, they didn't cost anything,
and I didn't have to sign a one or two year contract to make it all happen.
I'm sure I will survive the transition into being connected. After
all, I've survived the deep deserts of the Arabian Empty Quarter and
Australian outback, and I've survived sailing on the seven seas. Right
now, getting connected is a bit like sailing to windward in forty knots of
wind. It's time to reef my sails, sheet them in, and hang on, because
it's going to be a wild ride.