Friday, November 21, 2008

Real America

On Thursday I went Laser sailing on the lake in a small Massachusetts town near my son's house, the same lake that I wrote about in Lake Whippersnapper, Just Six Laser Dudes Racing Round a Sausage and Just One of Those Days. The air temperature was in the low 30's. The wind was blowing around 10-12 knots with gusts from various random directions at somewhat more.

During the recent US election, one candidate made much of the virtues of small towns, "real America" as she called it. I'm quite partial to sailing on small lakes in small towns myself; but I suspect my my reasons are somewhat different from those of the "real America" lady. (I wonder what happened to her?)

The good things about small town small lake sailing are...
  • If you're on your own sailing in cold conditions you have the comfort that if something bad happens it won't be long before you drift into some nearby shore.

  • Small town folk are looking out for you. Before I launched, some guy at the ramp came over and chatted to me about my plans and was obviously somewhat concerned for me until I told him in answer to his questions that yes I would be wearing a drysuit, I did have 25 years experience of Lasering, and yes I have sailed a Laser on the ocean. He still looked at me like I was nuts and hung around for a while while I was sailing. Then when I returned to the ramp after sailing there was another guy there who looked even more concerned. He told me he had been "counting the time" when he saw me capsize in the middle of the lake and was swimming for a while before righting the boat. I wondered how long he was going to count before dialling 911 and causing an incident like the one Greg had in DR 1.

  • Fresh water freezes at 32 degrees. So you know that you can't sail if the water is colder than that. At least it's some kind of check on the lunacy of some crazy old geezer trying to squeeze in 100 sails before the end of the year.

The bad things about small town small lake sailing are...
  • When the wind is blowing across the short axis of a small lake, and when it's coming over houses and trees, and especially when it's a northwesterly, it will be crazy gusty and crazy shifty. There will be random slam dunk headers and other nastiness. Stuff that's evil enough to cause a capsize even for a dude who has sailed 86 times already this year and who never (well hardly ever) capsizes. Thank god for my efficient new drysuit.

  • Fresh water freezes at 32 degrees. I noticed that while I was derigging all the water on the Laser deck froze into a nice thin smooth sheet of ice. Hmmm. 14 more sails to go to 100. Will I make it?
It has been brought to my attention that a number of gentlemen who read this blog are fans of a certain Mr Troy Polamalu. Apparently the young lady whose image I chose to celebrate my 43rd sail was also a fan of Mr Polamalu, and so those gentlemen were looking for an opportunity to show their appreciation for Mr Polamalu by seeing the young lady here again. It was suggested that perhaps I could show two images of the young lady to commemorate my 86th sail.

Prior to this request I was unaware of Mr Polamalu's existence. I have since learned that he plays for one of those American football teams and is quite good at something called a "blitz" which I think means that he goes and knocks over that handsome white chappie holding the ball. It is also reported that one of Mr Polamalu's hobbies is "growing flowers" and that he hasn't cut his hair since the year 2000.

Anyway, I'm always happy to oblige Mr Polamalu's fans, so please note that there are two images of the young lady with the 43 painting on her chest in the sidebar today.


Greg and Kris said...

I taught high school for a couple of years before it became apparent to me that the amount of money I was making wouldn't pay my school loans. I taught at Douglas HS in Winston, Oregon for one of those years and coached Brandon Polamalu, one of Troy's older cousins. Brandon was senior and Troy was in middle school. Great kid and always playing hoops and football and everything else with his older cousins.

His hair was shorter then and I don't recall seeing that young lady around. Would have remembered them, err, her.

Troy's uncle, Silasi, with whom he lived at the time, used to poor me big cups of scotch at the OSU Beavers football games in Corvallis. I love that guy.

Brian Raney said...

Many thanks on your pic selections for sail #86. Sorry to say, I'm kinda hoping you don't get any further. Ever. :-D

O Docker said...

The guys at the launch ramp are right. You're borderline cuckoo.

Forget real America. And real hypothermia.

How about real BVI ?

Two weeks, sail every day, painkillers every night. You'll have your 100 sails and a nice suntan, too. Where do you think Miss 43 is right now, dressing the way she does? You don't see her wrapped up in a drysuit.

C'mon, you're smarter than this.

Tillerman said...

Mr Andkris - What a small world. Amazing that you knew Mr Polamalu when he was a boy.

Mr Raney - Pleased to hear that you a fan of Mr Polamalu. You can thank Mrs Carol Anne of the Five O'Clock Somewhere blog for the suggestion to honor Mr Polamalu again.

Mr O'Docker. I like the way you're thinking.

bonnie said...

Hey, big city folks watch out for people too!

We've had a couple of instances at my club where the harbor police showed up too see if we were OK after getting a 911 call about kayakers in distress.

We now try to do our rolling & rescue practices somewhere where we can't be seen from the Belt Parkway!


PS wow...BVI's...must not think about BVI's...arrrrrgggghhh...

tillerman said...

No offense to big city folk bonnie. I intended my little homily about small town/ real America in an ironic sense as I think that that whole philosophy is total BS. There are wonderful people all over this great country in small and big towns, rural areas and cities. Indeed, given the mobility of many people these days I find it impossible and pointless to try and categorize people by where they live... some of my best friends grew up in small towns and now work in large cities.

The other irony in this post (perhaps only appreciated by me) is that, for all sorts of reasons, this particular small town would probably not be one that Governor Palin would embrace as "real America" anyway.

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