Sunny salty Monday

Lying back this afternoon in a deck chair on the balcony with my feet on a footrest while overlooking the glistening sea constituted a sizeable recovery from my early morning angst.  I was still feeling the effect of yesterday’s pedal upon the beach. My legs and knees hadn’t yet returned to passable praxis. But seeing the shimmering sunshine upon the sea pines and ocean it burned me up to contemplate spending the day in utter idleness. Yet from the smallest attempt at mobility I could tell it was a day to set aside the usual cycling ambition. I would only end doing more harm than good in spite of the putative psychological advantage of doing so.

It is a pity at my age to devote any effort at all; or, at least, to fractionalize myself by doing so. Surely the day has arrived when I may with amnesty discard the sanction of occupation and output. So as usual I relented to go for a drive. And of course a car wash.

It was a profitable outing. Slipping through the corridors and laneways of Sea Pines immediately energized me and reminded me what I like to do. I consider this no small tribute nor complement. Instantly I was restored to meaning. And once again I contemplated the progress of General Motors Company in its efforts to satisfy its own production output, a progress I understand from talking to my dealership has been muted by COVID-19 and its attendant supply chains. Naturally I chastize myself even for thinking about a replacement automobile but time lingers for no one as imperceptible as we may perceive or wish it to be.

By 1900, William C. Durant’s Durant-Dort Carriage Company of Flint, Michigan had become the largest manufacturer of horse-drawn vehicles in the United States. Durant was averse to automobiles, but fellow Flint businessman James H. Whiting, owner of Flint Wagon Works, sold him the Buick Motor Company in 1904. Durant formed the General Motors Company in 1908 as a holding company, with partner Charles Stewart Mott, borrowing a naming convention from General Electric. GM’s first acquisition was Buick, which Durant already owned, then Olds Motor Works on November 12, 1908. Under Durant, GM went on to acquire Cadillac, Elmore, Welch, Cartercar, Oakland (the predecessor of Pontiac), the Rapid Motor Vehicle Company of Pontiac, Michigan, and the Reliance Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan (predecessors of GMC) in 1909.

This favoured retail woolgathering was echoed subsequently by an email we both received from Bell Canada reminding us of the upcoming conclusion of our current wireless contract and the exhaustion of our Device Return Option Agreement. Basically, time to step into the next era of Apple Smartphone.  Of course we could choose to keep our existing devices but that will never happen. My experience is that new technology, as tiny as its progressive advances are or may be alleged, is always worth the price. Besides the scope of my material interest is now so visibly repressed that it is to my mind the most moderate assent to the tangible world that I owe it to myself to fortify the concurrence in order to remove myself howsoever briefly from hopeless preoccupation with unadulterated philosophical introspection.

There is yet another casualty of change.  It too has been prompted by the natural aging process. In several days from now we shall disembark from our current passage and once again point ourselves northward in the direction of home. Neither of us is at all disheartened for having to do so. I say “having” because the place we booked this year was only available for the period we’ve had it. But already for next year we’ve booked another place (also in Sea Pines) and it too will be for the identical one-month period. We’ve tired of six-month sojourns from home. I am not certain either of us can explain it but remarkably we have no trouble bending to the inclination. It is however reasonable to conjecture that, as we age, the extent of our outings has naturally diminished. As as result, if one were therefore bound to spend more time indoors (as opposed to cycling for long periods or scouting about scenery we’ve already seen), it makes sense to spend the time at home among our own things with our usual habits. I will at least dilute this domestic commitment to acknowledge we’ve also booked a Caribbean cruise next year. But that is not the same as “wintering” away from home.  The cruise is only for ten-days.

As though to mock our departure, the forecast weather for the remainder of our time here is exceptional; viz., sunshine and higher temperatures. Tomorrow I shall naturally undertake a purgative cycle of some description, probably only within Lands End in order to preserve a degree of strength.  The plain truth is that bicycling has been for me a moderate challenge.  My balance is clearly not what it once was. Coincidentally today I spoke with Peddling Pelican Bicycle Rental on nearby Lighthouse Road. The agent confirmed they rent tricycles, specifically for adults, having 3-gears and handbrakes. That is already on next year’s agenda. Next year we shall be renting a 3-bedroom house so parking and cycle storage will be no problem. I feel too we have begun our emergence from whatever it is that contaminated the past several years worldwide. My knee surgery – though the complete recovery is still underway – is behind me; the market is performing well. Our friends and family appear to have surmounted their individual modifications and obstacles too.

Reaching these heights of splendour is  – though clearly indulgent and predictably ephemeral – but a modest expression of euphoria and temporal dissolve. I won’t say that Voltaire would be proud. But certainly the presumption is there! The salty dog!

“The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true.” – J. Robert Oppenheimer

François-Marie Arouet (21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume M. de Voltaire was a French Enlightenment writer, philosopher, satirist, and historian. Famous for his wit and his criticism of Christianity (especially of the Roman Catholic Church) and of slavery, Voltaire was an advocate of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

Arouet adopted the name Voltaire in 1718, following his incarceration at the Bastille. Its origin is unclear. It is an anagram of AROVET LI, the Latinized spelling of his surname, Arouet, and the initial letters of le jeune (“the young”). According to a family tradition among the descendants of his sister, he was known as le petit volontaire (“determined little thing”) as a child, and he resurrected a variant of the name in his adult life. The name also reverses the syllables of Airvault, his family’s home town in the Poitou region.