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August 2016

Rip Van Winkle Cruisers’ Syndrome Or Our Cruising Mindset

I love hearing (usually on NPR) the recitation of  the Beloit College Mindset List, designed to remind professors exactly how old they  are and how clueless they may  be about the popular culture as compared to each year’s crop of college freshmen. In preparation for this post, I perused the 40+ items on the 2016 list and present my favorite 10. (The word “favorite” is relative.)

The Mindset List for the Class of 2016  

  1. Their lives have been measured in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds.
  2. Robert De Niro is thought of as Greg Focker's long-suffering father-in-law, not as Vito Corleone or Jimmy Conway.
  3. There has always been football in Jacksonville but never in Los Angeles.
  4. Benjamin Braddock, having given up both a career in plastics and a relationship with Mrs. Robinson, could be their grandfather. (That hurts.)
  5. Exposed bra straps have always been a fashion statement, not a wardrobe malfunction to be corrected quietly by well-meaning friends. (I haven’t gotten used to this, and still make sure my own straps are tucked away. The safety pin is your friend. Raise your hand if you have sewed little snaps into a top and attached a ribbon with the corresponding snap to corral that bra strap.)
  6. Women have always piloted war planes and space shuttles. (Go us!)
  7. They have had to incessantly remind their parents not to refer to their CDs and DVDs as “tapes.”
  8. There have always been blue M&Ms, but no tan ones.’ (I miss the tan ones –and while we are on that subject, what happened to Dark Chocolate Peanut M&Ms? Such a loss.)
  9. L.L. Bean hunting shoes have always been known as just plain Bean Boots.
  10. History has always had its own channel.

Copyright© 2012 Beloit College
Mindset List
is a registered trademark

Our Mindset is more like that of Rip Van Winkle. We are missing a few years. Five to be exact. While we aren’t totally clueless, we have a decided lack of clue regarding at least three things. (This is in addition to the already much-discussed cell phone/Android/data we had issues with upon setting foot ashore.)

So, in no particular order, here are three things we’ve had trouble understanding:Product Image, click to zoom

1. Lacy shorts for daytime wear. What’s up with that? I don’t mind that they are short. (You should see my hot pants, rompers, and skirt lengths in high school. Think long legs, hot pants, and mini skirts. Actually, that was one of my best eras.) Digressing. But these are lace short shorts made of some light weight material with an overlay of crochet or lace. I first saw these in St. Thomas worn by cruise ship tourists, but since I don’t take anything the average cruise ship tourist wears as actual real world fashion,  I continued to be surprised when I wander the streets of St. Augustine and saw numerous women wearing short lacy shorts. I don’t get it. How do they get through a day without ripping, tearing, or catching the lace? Heck, I couldn’t walk from one end of the boat to the other without catching that lace on something. I’m all for comfort and movement, which is good because I have never mastered fashion—though I’m not sure that lace hot pants paired with cowboy boots can be called “fashion”. And speaking of fashion, these lace shorts are available at Nordstrom's for 158.98—down from $265.00. Are you freaking kidding me?

2. On-line Shopping. Yes, this existed long before we left, but not to the degree it does now. This week,  Walmart bought Jet.com not an airline, apparently, but an on-line shopping company that does better than Walmart on-line. (But nowhere near as well as Amazon.)  Walmart has an on-line shopping experience? Who knew?  In case you think I’m overstating this, let me offer some info: First, here’s a chart to show you how much things have changed since we left in 2010:

NOTE: I found this chart at a post done by a high school economics class. Good going, kids.

You will note that on-line retailing tripled while we were gone. (I’m not saying that I didn’t help a bit, but that’s a whole bunch of packaging.)

Second, I offer Blue Apron, Dollar Shave Club, and Bark Box. This is what got me going. I remember record clubs and book clubs but a CLUB FOR RAZORS !Seriously blows my mind. Do you really have to go online to order some $1.00 razors to be sent to you on a regular basis? Can you really  not remember to pick them up at the grocery store? Speaking of which, do we really need to have food shipped from wherever  it was grown to a warehouse/kitchen for portioning, and then sent from there to your door so you can make three  “fresh” meals without going to the store. After all that shipping, it can’t be all that fresh. As for Bark Box, that’s not about fresh, but about spoiling your pooch with a few of  the new, new things for dogs, delivered in a box . (OK, I’m a dog sap, this sounded kind of cool for a one time gift. The option of once a month for a year, though? That’s crazy.) For the record, I love shopping on-line, for some things. And it was a necessity  in the islands.  When you are in the USVI it can be the only way to find something you need, like your favorite Teva’s. When in Grenada, I had to ship sandals to a friend’s brother who was flying in for a visit. Bless him. I do not mean to shame you for purchasing on-line. I’m just surprised at the speed with which it’s taken over. Dollar Shave Club? Really? (OK, I may be shaming you for the Dollar Shave Club.) (And I am definitely overusing the word “really”.)

3. Apps. Again, something that was around before we left. But in 2010 EW  had a two-year-old iPhone and I had an oldish Blackberry, so our smartphones weren’t all that smart. (And we certainly weren’t.) (And I will swear on a stack of fixed portlights that smartphone was a two-word phrase in 2010.) My  co-worker just bought a new desktop computer and it  has Apps. So, let’s recap: smartphones got apps so that they could work more like computers, and savvy businesses made their on-line sites work better with smartphones and created apps and those Q boxes to help other businesses market to those with smart phones, and now desktop computers have apps to be more like smartphones. Dog chase tail much? (Send it a Bark Box!)

And yes, we have and use apps. We were middle-aged and ignorant, not ancient and Luddites. (Though I’m feeling that “middle-aged” is perhaps pushing it a bit as I might not live to 110.)

Oh lord. We aren’t lost cruisers. We’re just old. Say it ain’t so!

On a (slightly) more serious note. Yes, this is yet another “transition” post, because IMHO there haven’t been enough of these done by cruisers. In other words, after feeding my dream, helping us to choose a boat and many of the extras, giving great advice while we were at sea, on the hard, or in a secluded anchorage, my cruising and blogging gurus did not do so well on the transition ashore. We will be taking off again for Round Two, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include some of this stuff for all of you still “at sea”.

Trust me. You’ll thank me someday.


This Grey-Haired Guitarist Went to Market

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We are settling into our new life as (gasp) (choke) mere liveaboards here in St. Augustine. During the off-season, our friends and acquaintances are (choke) (gasp) all dirt dwellers. That’s OK, some of our best friends and all of our dearly loved relatives are dirt dwellers. We just forgot what it feels like to be liveaboards.

Yes, it took me over seven months to get over it. I have (mostly) ceased to compare this life with that of cruising and think more often about how living aboard in St. Augustine compares to living aboard in South Portland. Both areas have a strong sense of history. One area is much more modest in how they promote such history. St Augustine can evidently claim to be the oldest continually inhabited “city” in America. (Of course, no one here counts any actual native communities in that discussion. Evidently city life in America began in 1565.) “Oldest” is the town’s favorite superlative and it’s not always used wisely. Seriously, would you want to be a patient of the “Oldest City Dentist” Think about it. I keep imagining Tim Conway in one of his old man sketches, with a dentist drill.Here he is a butcher.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ry8khR922g

Digress much?

IMG_5890On shore, there are people who recognize us as new locals and we are now “regulars” at a number of events. Well, since the majority of our events involve music,  EW is the regular and I’m the “Band-Aid”. One of his favorite venues is the Saturday Market at the Amphitheater where he gets to stand in the hot sun and  play for over four hours with 5-20 excellent musicians. I like the market, and have made friends with some of the vendors but I opt to arrive two hours later than EW, who is generally one of the first musicians to arrive and one of the last to leave.

IMG_5910I check out all the booths, chat with vendors, and act like a professional Band-Aid by getting coffee, water, and snacks, and (once) holding music  for EW and four others learning a new song. Near the end of the morning, I purchase produce. The corn here is almost as good as that in Maine, but it’s impossible to purchase corn picked that day.

You know you are NOT from Maine if you think yesterday’s corn is fresh corn. On the other hand, you haven’t had a peach unless you’ve had yesterday’s peach from Georgia or South Carolina.

For your enjoyment and edification, here are shots of the market, and a video of EW leading the group in Teen Age Wedding. As you can tell, he tries to enjoy himself. Truly he is so tickled that these outstanding—many professional—musicians will play so joyfully with him. How can you not smile at this? One man, living his dream.

 You asked for a video, you get a video.

https://youtu.be/V66A5UbJ_RM

 

Postscript: Small World Moment. The woman guitarist in the pink top is Lynn Healey. Stew met her a couple of months ago, and then she left St. Augustine to perform with her band. He had told me about her and she is just as nice as he said. Here’s the small world part: Lynn knows Peter Bonta and has played with Bob Perilla and Bill Kirchen—friends of Peter and LeeAnn, formerly from Two Much Fun.

And so we are reminded that the cruising life is still with us.

 

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