Because I did so poorly avoiding poly in September, I have put off telling about the results.
First, I took a head-over-heals dismount from my bike, knocking my head, which was thankfully encased in a quality plastic helmet. Wearing a bike helmet surely saved me from a nasty knot on the noggin. Because it is recommended a helmet be replaced after taking a significant blow, I bought a replacement brain-bucket. What I got is very light — 275 grams, or 9.7 ounces — but virtually all plastic. I justified the purchase as a fair trade for prevention of brain injury. Brain damage suffered in a subsequent bike crash — because of a possibly degraded helmet — might be permanent, but only in reference to my head. The plastic helmet will exist on, and on, long after my hopefully mostly intact brain and I are dust. Still, I recalled when my brother was in neurological intensive care, I noted how medical care uses an incredible amount of plastic. I could argue that the helmet purchase, by potentially keeping me out of intensive care, could result in saving oodles of catheter tubes, syringes, splints, etc., so I won’t count my helmet as a plus.
In September I was also busy planning a woman’s sailing event. In spite of my efforts to keep the Ladies’ Day @ the Lake plastic free, I was inundated with poly bags, foam packing peanuts, and other plastic packaging as I received shipments of donated items for event goody bags. While I was very grateful to get so many nice items for our participants, it was a disappointment to see so much plastic packaging used for materials that had no chance of transport damage. Even if a fleet of UPS trucks had run over one particular box, its unbreakable contents would not have crumbled or broken. Another donor offered several dozen plastic thermal cups he wanted to get rid of. He claimed he had them in storage for years. I gladly accepted, plastic or not. Hey, that plastic already existed! I was not consuming, but rather putting to good use what was already there. I printed sleeve inserts (on recycled paper) for the cups. I tried to make them special, in hopes each recipient would use their fantastic, functional cups for the rest of their days, then pass the treasure down to their first-born. Three cases of bottled water were purchased for the event — even though I suggested coolers. I cringed when I saw recycling bins at the venue filling with one-use bottles. I could have insisted, so I’ll take partial ownership, say half liability, or around two pounds of resulting trash.
Putting on a complicated event kept me hopping. When Ed and I hosted nearly twenty folks for dinner after a challenging work day, the evening before, I asked Ed to run to the store to buy a “box” of greens. I didn’t pointedly tell him “Get one of those big PLASTIC containers of salad stuff,” but I didn’t instruct him to get a few heads of lettuce either. He knew my time limitations and brought home the most convenient salad fixing he could muster. I was glad not to have to wash, dry, pick and break fixings for a huge salad. Even though I’ll use the resulting box for storage, I must own up to a few ounces of packaging I really did not want, solely for saving a few minutes of preparation time.
Other than that, I did okay, about the same as August. In total, I will call September a two pound, two ounce, back slide month.
Most places in the world, we sailors can not wait for the summer to begin, bringing warm breezes and long days, ingredients for splendid sailing. Where I sail though, we can’t wait for the summer to wane.
With October here, the weather I have yearned for can finally be glimpsed around the calendar’s corner — it will be less than 110 degrees Fahrenheit every day until May. That is no shock to the majority of folks in the northern hemisphere. The surprise comes in the fact, the average temperatures in the desert, where I sail, will stand around 65 to 75 throughout the fall and winter. No blizzards, no ice on the lake, no bone chilling days are anticipated near Phoenix.
Even though the highs still hovered around 100 degrees last weekend, I could wait no longer. I went sailing Friday night with Linda. We leisurely skimmed on Orange Crush across the black water, ate dinner with a group at a new waterfront restaurant then sailed back. Saturday and Sunday I raced in Arizona Yacht Club’s fall racing series. Three times out definitely marks the beginning of my sailing season.
All three outings were on boats owned and sailed by women. This is rare. I don’t know why, but it’s men who usually get the “family” boat, then take charge of it — occasionally naming it after a wife, a gesture to infer the womenfolk are a part of the boating equation.
Ed found our boat Bliss. A Santana 23, she was in line with what he wanted. We traveled to San Diego to get a look at her — he insisted I come. When I saw her I was not smitten. She looked short, squat and retro. Sort of like me, but dusty and needing a bath. Maybe that is why Ed immediately loved her, not that she was dirty, but that she looked like me. He negotiated the deal while I wandered the yard and looked at other sleeker, shinier boats I would rather take home. He insisted I write the check so I would “have skin in the game,” and cause to feel Bliss would be my boat too. He saw something I did not understand — Bliss would be as much mine as she would be his.
The phenomenon, of men owning the boats and thus owning sailing, was illustrated when I looked over the Arizona Yacht Club’s Fall Racing Series skipper list. “Gordon, Steve, Jim, Greg, Charles, Gene, Bill, Mike, Lafe, Joe, Peter…” 34 skippers with only one woman’s name, Dianna, my friend. She invited me to crew on her new cute Santana 20, Hot Flash. Though I’m not a racer, I accepted. I wanted to get a better look at racing and to compare the Santana 20 to Bliss. And of course, it was a chance to go sailing. After giving it a whirl, why there are so many more men than women racing is even more of a mystery. Yes, it was a bit physical, but it did not seem to be a man’s game. As a matter of fact, the men on the race course encouraged us. They were tickled to see a boat full of gals impudently chasing them. It reminded me of the third grade, when the same sort of thing began to happen — girls chasing boys without much of a chance of catching them. Hot Flash didn’t come close to winning any of the seven races, but with each race, the women aboard discovered more about the new boat, the sport and sailing, and we went a bit faster.
I hope with time and practice the tables will turn, as they did around fifth grade. In a few seasons the guys may get a kick out of chasing a boatload of women around the lake.