Sunday, 19 April 2015

Live slow; Sail Fast

This phrase is the motto for the sailing community who reside in the Caribbean. It is on T-Shirts and bumper stickers and for me speaks to the disconnect that we have in North American/European culture between who we are and where we are.

Live slow, sail fast is this notion that you don't have to work hard to play hard. Just relax and enjoy the good life and play hard. Now I am quite sure that many of these folks have worked hard so they can play hard. But I really have to wonder if in their living slow they are noticing that the other 99% can't afford to live slow.

I have said it before, but there is a real misconception about the notion that the Caribbean is "living slow". People here are living every moment. Most people are up by 5:00 a.m. and aren't to bed until their second or third job is finished. Many of them spend weekends volunteering or helping friends and relatives. There is nothing slow about their lives except perhaps for the exhaustion people feel from putting in such long days.

To me proudly displaying "live slow, sail fast" is an insult to the communities where the sailing communities anchor. It shows a total lack of regard for their fellow man. I find it akin to the cries during the French Revolution of "let them eat cake". Or more recently Conrad Hilton who called the people on the plane with him "peasants".  It is amazing how people can be so out of touch with the reality of the people around them.

49 years old this weekend!

Today I was on Skype with my mom. There is a boil water advisory where she lives and she was thinking of running her dishes through the dishwasher. I advised against this as the water needed to be boiling to kill bacteria. She was really frustrated she would have to boil water to do dishes-- which was when I pointed out that we have been doing that every single day for 7.5 months! Live slow...

Most of us will never live slow and sail fast - nor should we aspire to. In fact the people who do embody this motto seem much older than they actually are. It is most likely the leathery tanned skin that seems to mark years of Caribbean living which makes them look so much older. I compare that to the 49 year old Juice who I thought was in his 30's; the 69 year old Shine who we thought was 50; or the 60 year old Mr. Campbell who looks to be in his early 50's. It seems that they way to "live long and prosper" as Spock would say is to live fast and work hard.

I would just say that when you are in another country be respectful of the average person in that country. Would you wear/say/do that in your own country? Last week I was in the IGA and a tourist came in sporting a bikini and a transparent "cover-up". I thought OMG!! Really would she do that on a summer day back home?? I would certainly hope not, of course having seen some of the outfits in Walmart I am not sure if we have a grasp on decorum any longer.

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