There are a lot of nautical expressions that describe different kinds of trouble.
Touch and go means that you’ve scraped bottom and made it off again into open water, sounds like luck, but you spend time worrying about the state of your underside then.
Not on an even keel means you’re risking being tipped over in order to get more speed.
But out to sea is the one that makes me worry most.
Don’t get me wrong …
I love the water. Put me in a boat or let me go swimming and I’m a happy guy.
I love that just this past weekend I got to steer our local Dragon Boat at the Hamilton Regatta. And I spent time in the water over the weekend at the cottage, though it’s still a bit on the chilly side.
So what is “Out To Sea?”
Out to sea refers to being out of touch. Back in the good old days when the only way from one continent to another was to board a sailboat and pay or work your passage, once you left the dock, you were basically unable to communicate with people on shore.
It didn’t matter much, people on shore could barely communicate. There were no phones, definitely no internet, you did this thing called talking.
Meanwhile, back on board …
There was the ships gossip, shared among the crew when they gathered round a butt of water and the quartermaster would scuttle (put a hole in) it so that everyone could have a drink.
But you were out of touch with the rest of the world.
Wars could start or end without your knowledge, and they often did.
People died. Fortunes were made and lost. Fires, disease, famine, pestilence, laws passed, crimes committed, any number of things could go on and you were oblivious to them.
So why does this scare me now?
My grandfather on my mother’s side was a farmer, not a seafaring man at all. He used to say that I was often gathering wildflowers. My grandmother would call it gathering wool.
But on my father’s side my family came from the East coast, and nautical terms abound in their lexicon regardless of the fact that few of them went to sea.
Whether it’s gathering flowers or wool, or being out to sea, it doesn’t matter. The expression describes me wholly.
I can go for days, weeks, and even years being oblivious to what is obvious to many others.
And when I realize it, I am invariably shaken by the fact.
And it is an ADHD thing!
Most assuredly it is. In a cruel twist of fate and symptoms, a somewhat macabre construction of varying parts and measures of distraction and hyperfocus and denial and busyness, I am able to go for long periods of time being unaware of things that are right before my eyes.
And why am I telling you this?
Right now I’m feeling overwhelmed by a situation that is exactly this. I’ll spare you the details, but I’m telling you the solution now.
Just wade in to whatever needs to be rectified and take care of it the best you can.
And if there’s nothing you can do about it … move on. Life is too short and while you worry about this thing, you’ll miss something else, trust me.