Musings and Mirth
It is true, what John Lennon wrote, about life being about what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. As I type, a tiny, feisty kitten is trying to attack my fingers and my keyboard because he is so playful he can hardly contain himself. You’ve never seen a cuter kitten, even if all kittens are cute. Keyboard mistakes are his.
El Diablo, aka Tom, aka the Little Dude came into our lives while I was away at Cannes. My sister was housesitting for me and watching my 11 year-old. O!ne day she was driving up Laurel Canyon blvd. and reached the top, where it crosses Mulholland. She saw a tiny little animal on the road and assumed it was roadkill, but then it moved! There were many cars driving by indifferently, as they do all of the time here in LA, when they aren’t assholes, but she stopped, scooped =]ihim up and then panicked. Now what?
On her lap was a flea-riddled, nearly dead, certainly in shock one month old kitten. Tiny Tom. She drove back down to our place and retrieved my daughter. They both drove around looking for a vet hospital, or a shelter, or something. They ended up finding one in Van Nuys but they wanted the money up front or they wouldn’t take him in. Apparently, so the story goes, my daughter burst into hysterical tears right then and there. A little drama never hurts. They decided to do the right thing and take him in.
I know that it is easy to get hysterical when a girl’s life is at stake. Indeed, many of us were worried that the 16 year-old Sunderland was put in harm’s way. There was even talk of child abuse charges for her parents. But of course, Abby is the second girl of 16 to attempt this. Another Australian girl had done it already at the same age. Moreover, Abby’s brother accomplished the feat at just 17. I feel sure that in the same scenario, if it were a boy feared lost at sea, there wouldn’t have been such widespread panic.
But she’s a girl, right?
Sunderland’s boat was damaged in the storm – something that could have happened to any sailor of any age. I will admit that I was worried for her yes, because she’s a girl. As the mother of a 12 year-old I WAY too overprotective. My own ideas about the abilities of girls were challenged. Is a girl more vulnerable out at sea alone? Or can a girl do what a boy can do?
Now that she’s been found alive and very much okay – plenty of food, in good spirits – it’s easier to be supportive of a girl and her dream. Happy endings are few and far between. I’ll take this one, thank you.
And her boat from the inside:
It looks like it will be a couple of days before they can reach the location where Abby Sunderland disappeared. That seems really odd to me, but whatever. The Australian Coast Guard said he would fly over the area to see if he could locate her.
Abby’s parents wrote on her blog as the events unfolded:
We spoke with Abby early this morning and learned that she had had a very rough day with winds up to 60 knots and seas 20-25 feet. She had been knocked down several times but was handling things well. The wind had subsided to around 35 knots which she and Wild Eyes are quite comfortable with.
We were helping her troubleshoot her engine that she was trying to start to charge her systems. Satellite phone reception was patchy. She was able to get the water out of the engine and start her up. We were waiting to hear back from her when American Search & Rescue authorities called to report having received a signal from her emergency beacon (EPIRB). We initially thought that the signal was sent automatically from her water-activated EPIRB and that it had been activated during one of her knockdowns. As we pulled the paperwork from her EPIRB registration, we learned that the signal had come from her manually activated EPIRB.
We were referred to Australian Search & Rescue and while we were on the phone with them another signal came in from her handheld PLB (Personal Locator Beacon). Her water-activated EPIRB has not been activated so we are hopeful that the boat is still upright.
And Abby’s own words on her blog, www.abbysunderland.com:
It has been my dream since I was 13 years old and began single-handing, to one day sail solo around the world. I am 16 years old and this blog will contain the story of my attempt to become the world’s youngest solo circumnavigator.
Oh god. Whenever these dramas surface I try with all of my might to resist the temptation to indulge in yet another news story about a missing white girl. But here we are again, a missing white girl lost at sea. I guess what amazes me about the story is that Abby Sunderland was trying to make history. But as a mother of a girl I say history can wait, sugar plum. Don’t be in such a hurry to hit your highest goal. You could drip battery acid into my eyeballs for an extended period and make me chew on glass before I’d let my daughter go on such an escapade. I’m not judging the parents. I’m not saying they should be brought up on child abuse charges; we all know they will have suffered enough. They will have to live with this for the rest of their lives should she turn up dead or missing.
I heard a saying the other day for the first time, and I feel sure it’s been around a long while, “there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole.” And it is dead on the money. God is there for desperate pleas when there is nothing left. Those primal screams fall on deaf ears, as it seems impossible to me that any God would pick and choose who gets to live or die at the hands of such a monumental mistake, or tragic accident, or horrific crime.
Hoping she is floating on a raft somewhere and headed for dry land. I send out a little Joni Mitchell.
I took these pictures at my niece’s birthday. Three of these girls are cousins and one is a friend. Because of the low light, they ended up in blur, except for excerpts of them here and there. But this one shows you the magic of photography. This is what I have always loved about taking pictures. Because I am no good at setting the light or manipulating anything — any good picture I take is almost always accidental. And this photo was a happy accident. The girls are hummingbirds in flight, I think. Except for one.
And speaking of hummingbirds, we are now the proud owners of a feeder.