Water, whether you love it or it terrifies you, you got to have it. Dying of thirst isn’t much fun. Your blood gets thicker and thicker and eventually there’s only a red dust tumbling through your veins, like one of those old dolls filled with sawdust. Unless you are possessed by an evil spirit, or, if you’re lucky, a good spirit with a sense of humor, you’ll be blowing’ in the wind, baby, like a dust devil in the desert.
Of course, too much is just as bad for you. If you’re one of those athletic freaks, oops, sorry, species who go to bed and get up with the mantra hydrate, hydrate, hydrate coursing through your brain like a Noir murder mystery movie where the old Victrola is playing the same relevant refrain of a scratched record over and over before revealing the dead body slumped over the desk, you don’t want to drink too much water. Drinking too much, whether, flavored, fortified, purified, or, God forbid, plain, will turn your blood into a thin rusty tea, that won’t do you any more good than red dust.
Drowning is no fun either. And even though I’ve heard that it’s not that bad a way to go, sucking in that first cold lungful of water’s gotta be a bitch. In any case, whether you’re in the ocean a thousand miles from land and your boat sinks and you can’t quite make it to the liferaft the wind is blowing a little too quick for you to catch up, or if you’re dead drunk face down in three inches of gutter water, lungs full of water are not a good thing. Either way, or any way in between, that whole life passing before your eyes thing might be trippy.
A lot of people like water, sailors, divers, surfers, fisherpeople, beach goers and Real estate sales people among them. I like the water and hope to be sailing on it again one day. Abby Sunderland likes water. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be attempting to be the youngest person, she’s 16, yes, 16, to sail around the world singlehanded, nonstop. If a 16-year-old girl can do it, I can, too. You can follow her blog at http://soloround.blogspot.com or at www.abbysunderland.com . She should be rounding Cape Horn as you read this. Yea, Abby. I am so jealous.
Many people don’t like the water. I don’t know why, except it might kill you and that most likely just beyond the limit of your visibility, whether that’s one foot or two hundred feet, something is waiting to eat you. I’d sail across an ocean in a minute, but I have no desire to jump in the water a 1000 miles from anywhere because I know, I know, that if I do, a long tentacle will shoot out of the depths, wrap around my leg, and drag me down. And not to introduce me to some long-lost Atlantean civilization where I’ll live forever in undersea bliss. Those monsters down there are HUNGRY, man.
Sure, water soothes the soul and all that. We’re 90 something per cent water and like attracts like. We even respond to the pull of the moon’s gravity, just like water. Must be why a full moon pulls the werewolf out of us. But, soothing your soul while you lay on the sand soaking up all those nasty sun beams doesn’t really make for exciting stories like–
What if you were sailing for the S. Pacific and you were stuck in the Doldrums and to bide your time while waiting for the next rain squall, you looked into the water and saw something swim up out of the depths and it wasn’t a tentacle but a mermaid. Not a Manatee, those old-time sailors must have been really hard up to mistake one for a mermaid, but a real mermaid, or merman. Maybe she begged you for help, told you evil gangster mermen were after her, and you helped her. Brought her aboard, made a bathtub of the cockpit. The thing is, is she running from the gangster mermen, or was she escaping from mermen police? What is her/his agenda, and are you helping because you really believe there’s a mer-something in your cockpit? Or is he/she pulling a Call-of-the-Siren thing on you and leading you astray?
What if you woke up one morning and heard the dripping of water in your head? It would not go away, drip, drip, drip. You tried to go about your business, but there it was, drip, drip, drip. Sometimes a bit faster, sometimes slower. You try to move away as it drips slower. Blocks, miles, cities, states, countries, the sound slows, but never stops, never…stops. Like the Chinese Water torture, you become so used to the drip, drip, drip, when it stops you go crazy waiting for the next drip of water on your forehead. Finally you have to move toward the dripping, following the sound in your head, faster, faster it draws you toward the source. This is now your quest, your life. You wander, miles to the North, miles South, East, West. Is it faster this way? This way? Slowly you narrow down the location. Your heart beats faster. You know where the dripping water comes from. You remember. Dread fills you. No. Not there. Please, not there. Yet the drip, drip, drip inexorably draws you to… your redemption or damnation. Which do you deserve?
What if you were a boy or girl on the cusp of adulthood in an Island society? It was time for your ritual ceremony. You drank the potion, breathed the special smoke… and woke up in a small boat on a big ocean. You had a little water, a little food, and no idea where you were, what direction was your island? What would you do? Survive, perish? Find your Island, find another island? Sail into legend as the mysterious sailor who brings good or bad luck if sighted? What adventures might you have alone a sea with only your wits and the creatures of the sea to help you?
What if the Apocalypse came and went and you were still here and controlled the only water source in a hundred miles. Would you share it, hoard it? Dole it out as long as the recipients did what you wanted, vile or virtuous? Virtuous at the beginning, how long until you passed the line to wicked to protect your water, and your power?
What if you had to take a Heart of Darkness trip up a river? Lots of things can happen, real or otherwise, on a journey up a close jungle river, whether accompanied by friends (are they really?) or strangers. Which ones do you think you should trust your life to?
Think about it. I’m sailing off into the sunset for awhile, figuratively, if not literally. Untie that dockline, will you?