Or, how to right oneself in times of despair, loneliness and acts of god, as we must if we are to remain undeterred on a course of self-actualization and non-mononity, while waiting to grow up. A task I have yet to master, when I thought,
“She found herself alone, onboard the yacht, Following Seas, the miserable hot air bearing down on her freckled shoulders, cutting deep with heat, like a sharp steel blade. “I must put on more sunscreen” she said aloud to no one, as if she was aware suddenly of the danger of too much sun. The open hatch beckoned, a promise of a cooler place to rest. “Why am I so tired,” she asked no one in particular.
Then she was fully awake and suddenly afraid, because she did not know where she was, or why she was adrift upon the sea in a yacht she did not recognize. Her name was Georgie Wilkins, George to her close friends. Georgiana to her parents back home on the island. Georgie was not unaccustomed to travel by private yacht, as a well-heeled young woman she had trained vigorously for life at sea in her junior year at Yale. She could handle a vessel this size, 35′ or so she suspected, that was not what frightened her.
She COULD NOT REMEMBER HOW SHE GOT ONBOARD! And there was no land sighting anywhere. She determined instantly she was on a northerly heading, about 8 knots, and increasing. Chop was turning choppier and she knew what that meant alright. She would have to tack and soon and figure out where in blazes she was, perhaps off Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard somewhere, but not close, because there was not even a seagull in sight. What had her father always said? “Georgiana! Stay calm — always stay calm — you cannot accomplish anything if you are resistant to calm thinking, so stay composed and everything, and I do mean EVERYTHING, will be fine.”
Georgie could hear her father’s words like it was yesterday and she looked down and remembered her twelve year old hands as she confidently piloted her first little cat off their reef in Newport. “Stay calm” she said aloud to herself, and “everything will be alright.” Georgie took a few deep, full gulps of fresh, hot salty air and felt the muscles in her neck relax and she let the warm air sink into her pores and relax her like a good medicinal massage. She began to think out her plan to tack, to come about, to head into what she perceived would be slightly calmer waters, and she knew eventually the overhead noon sun would dip some direction or another, and that would indeed be west, and she could follow the sunset home to land and safety. She just needed to stay calm.
And so Georgie used every skill she had ever learned from Yale down to Daddy’s best instructions and brought that big Beneteau about as the sun dipped almost imperceptively but ever so slightly a port, Georgie made haste to ease her back a bit and belayed the mainsail on a Westerly heading at now 6 knots. Georgie relaxed, because she knew she was heading toward land and would reach safe harbor before nightfall if the prevailing lighter winds were to be counted on.
Next she decided to take stock and try and figure out why she was even aboard this lovely vessel, let alone captaining her solo, apparently. Midship hatch was still open and she tentatively lowered herself into the richly wood paneled interior of this hand built beauty of a ship and she made her way toward the open door of the forecabin and gasped audibly, “OH MY GOD!” she exclaimed, she saw the still body of a young blonde man crumbled in a heap on the cabin bed. She felt his neck and found a strong pulse, maybe he was just asleep, she sighed in relief, who was he and why was he here? This whole situation was beginning to really bother her, she decided she really did need to report this matter to the Coast Guard, this was truly beyond her depth.
Georgie made a quick inspection of the rest of the cabin areas, including the galley and head and flew up the six steps to the deck and pilot house, where a marinephone should be secured. She was not surprised when she did not find a phone, but she once again felt frightened and she felt very alone. What in hell? What would she do now? Oh my god, help! That man is below deck, obviously in some sort of deep, drug induced sleep since he did not stir a bit thru her screaming out loud, she felt suddenly responsible for the stranger, the Captain is in charge of everyone on board, but how did she become a captain and was he her actual crew?
She didn’t know what to think or what to do, was she into some nefarious scuttlebutt of a situation here? Her mind raced and her body tensed up again, losing all perception of her Father’s prudent goal of staying calm.
George was in trouble and she knew it to be so.