Clark February 3rd, 2009
Everything I read these days seems to be either about great hope (Obama as messiah) or apocalyptic despair (the financial crisis). When I read about the former I think about my new life on shore and the good things it may bring once I move beyond underemployment. San Francisco seems a prosperous place, and my girlfriend just bought a house. Let’s call this the optimistic plan.
When I read about the latter I’m glad I’ve still got Condesa.
There’s been a lot of mention of sailboats as liferafts to escape the death spiral, and not just from the lunatic fringe. Or perhaps in light of the crisis the fringy are having their day. I’ve read mention in both The New Yorker and The Economist lately. An often cited work is Dmitry Orlov’s The New Age of Sail, if you’ve got an hour to spend. In The New Yorker he’s quoted,
“We don’t have a long wait before sail-based transport is the only option. In the future, I expect coastal property owners to get downright excited when they see any sailboat, whether it looks fashionable or not, paddle out their leaky canoes, and try to barter jewelry, silver cutlery or pretty seashells for the things they desperately need.”
Mr. Orlov lives on his sailboat. He is Russian and survived the collapse of the Soviet Union by bartering a trunk full of vodka when rubles were worthless, so he might know what he’s talking about.
Let’s call this the pessimistic plan, in which Condesa could be the most utilitarian way to ride out total collapse of petroleum, the monetary system, and the economy. I wonder how many ‘cruisers’ have set sail from Iceland lately?
The great thing is that in either scenario a sailboat is a highly coveted possession. If it’s optimism, nothing like a nice sail on the Bay with friends and colleagues after a hard week’s work once things pick up. If it’s pessimism, nothing like a sailboat to get away from the armies of desperate mutants who roam the earth fighting for the last remaining scraps of food, human flesh, and gasoline (see Cormac McCarthy, The Road) in a land slowly disappearing as the sea levels rise. Can’t sell a boat in this market anyway – not that I’d want to – so Condesa stays in the mix, for better or for worse.