fearless means flexible

the call came just as i was settling down with a book and a late afternoon cookie.  i had resolved that there was no further reason for me to engage in the world–except in a fictional sense.  the relief, the sweet sigh, the gratitude that i didn’t have to go out anymore.

sure, i am falling a little behind on my facebook new year’s resolution.  it was day 193 of the year and i have only visited with 170 friends.  if i’m going to meet the goal of 335 friends who had been my friends as of january one, i had to be more disciplined.  but one day, one sweet day of being a shut in. . . . .

then i got the call from todd stephens.  at first i ignored it.  not because i was avoiding him.  or disliked him.  it’s just i knew what he wanted.  he wanted a f2fb encounter.

the conditions were right–sunny, hot, and a light breeze coming across lake michigan.

“we’re leaving in twenty minutes,”  he said in the voice message he left.  “hope you can make it.”

people like me, people who hide from the world, don’t like a change in plans.   especially when they’re wearing their pajamas and are planning a “safe” evening at home.  but flexibility is the thing i have been trying to learn this year.

i threw on some pants, found my keys, and arrived at f2fb friend #171 todd stephen’s home just in time.

todd is an adventurer.  exactly my age, he cycles, skis, climbs and runs.  but his greatest joy is boating.  he has three.  today we would sail on the sailacious.  losing just one i gives you a pretty good idea of todd’s sense of humor.  the boat has been todd’s for fourteen years.  oddly, the right to the slip at wilmette harbor is the more valuable item—there is a 78 year waiting list.  we brought with us a mutual friend and fellow rotarian chuck taylor who served as first mate.

as we pulled out onto the lake, i realized i had forgotten my ativan (for anxiety), my inhaler (for asthma), and a life vest.  the coast guard was nowhere to be seen.  todd and chuck unfurled the jib and main sail without the slightest concern for killer fish or spontaneous water spouting up from the depths.  in fact, they looked like they were having fun–trading jokes, imbibing in a brewskie.  i relaxed, i even allowed as how i could steer.

the weather turned cold, the clouds rolled in, the coast guard boat–sirens bleating–sped past us on some mission not directly related to rescuing me.  i didn’t mind.  i had a good time.  at the house, we shook hands and promised to do this again sometime.

i still got my book.  my cookie.  my pajamas.  i still closed the door on the world.  but i did it four hours later, after having a wonderful time on the lake.  my first time as a sailor.  thanks, todd, for teaching me something new!  although i still don’t know the difference between port and starboard and jib and main sail.

2 responses to “fearless means flexible

  • johnrjdouglas

    I love that staccato repetition of “OK” that is so completely at odds with the look on your face. Panicky? Maybe a little, but completely under control…

    In order to learn the difference between port and starboard, all you have to do is learn the shaggy dog story about the old sea captain and the safe. I’m not about to write it out but I’ll tell it to you at the next opportunity.

    Keep up the great work. Your blog posts rank high among the highlights of my days. Hope to see you again soon.


    John Douglas

    • arlynnpresser

      that was pretty much terror. mixed with absolute delight. i am so happy learning things from my friends! and you’ll tell me next time about the nautical terms! great seeing you in new york! and thanks for hte love and encouragement. i need both!

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