The World as experienced through my letterbox

The World as experienced through my letterbox

I am not a philosopher nor - heaven forfend! - a quantum physicist, but there is a whole school of thought based on the works of Heisenberg, Descartes and Schopenhauer, to the general effect that nothing actually exists until we become aware of it. In a more prosaic sense, the flickering shadows on the wall of Plato's prisoners cave are pretty much all we have to go on when imagining a world outside our window, and this brings me to COVID.

It has dawned on me that my greatest dream is to experience the World in all its chaotic beauty, and not just as it is presented to me through a computer screen, a TV (which I rarely watch any more) or the flat-Earth medium of words written on paper. What is driving me to get out and discover a life beyond lockdown is the dream of not having a plan, a commitment or an expectation of anything in particular. Is today really Wednesday? Is that really Portugal? Does Donald Trump actually exist? I don't have strong views on any of these topics, but I dream of having not just no views, but no knowledge of their existence either. The only way I can achieve that is by getting out there and doing it, hence the blog, hence the boat, and hence me I suppose

At the moment the Real World is being a bit uncooperative; will the people who are buying my house be able to complete? What will next week's survey on my new boat throw up? When "Madame Fifi" comes off the French ships register, should I register her in Gibraltar, Ireland or Shoreham? This is not life - this is the antithesis of life, and represents the very crux of what I want to escape from. Things mattering. Things needing to be taken into account. Things that I can't really influence in any significant way, but which get in the way.

The dream is simple: anchors and reefs are for wimps. For the past 60 years, 1 month and 26 days I have been chained inside a cave, watching shadows flickering on the wall and trying to interpret what is going on outside. In some ways, therefore, COVID has been a blessing, insofar as lockdown has finally tipped me over the edge and made me realise that the only way I will ever understand the mysteries of the universe is to get out there and experience them - and at that point not only will the universe spring into existence, but maybe for the first time I myself will also truly "exist" in a meaningful sense.

A bit heavy for a Wednesday morning in January, when its rainy and miserable outside and the only prospect the day holds in store is several more hours talking to people on a computer screen. This time of year always reminds me of the A38 west of Plymouth, which initially at least never quite lives up to expectations, and seems to drag on for ages without every actually getting anywhere. It's a drab grind, made drabber and grindier by lockdown and the crushing burden of being a responsible adult and a productive member of society. Sod that for a game of soldiers! - this is certainly no longer the Country "I vow to thee"'d to as a child - was it ever? - and I'm done with being responsible and productive. I'm pretty much done with needing to "care" about things in general, to be honest.

But at least there is a plan, and the next step is to ditch that and just get on with it