Tuesday, September 25, 2007
A 55-year-old captain of a homemade schooner has begun to sail around the world with his 23-year-old girlfriend in a trip planned to reach 1000 days at sea. The record-setting voyage is very romantic on the surface, but the realities of oceangoing will likely claim the couple well before the 1000 days are up. Possibly the most difficult obstacle will be the monotony of spending three years with one other person non-stop, which is said to be worse than solitary confinement because of the constant complaining that will eventually occur. In a microcosm of actual marriage, Reid Stowe and Soanya Ahmad will likely experience all of the emotions that a normal married couple experience over 15-20 years, since most married couples actually try to avoid one another a good portion of each day. Early in the voyage, a honeymoon phase will exist. The first sunrise and sunset. The first whale sighting. The first time Reid leans over the front of the vessel and yells, “I’m the king of the world!” The first time the couple has relations under the stars. The first storm. However, after a few dozen firsts and then a few exciting repeats of those firsts, eventually, each and every day of the 1000 will seem like the last, and playing solitaire on the laptop will be welcome relief for Soanya having to listen to Reid explain to her the proper way to cast the rigging or some such constructive criticism. And pissing at floating garbage off the starboard side will be much more entertaining for Reid than to listen to Soanya interject every five minutes that the salt air has dried out her skin and she could really use some moisturizer, as well as the fact that he has yet to make an honest woman of her. Eventually, maybe after a few weeks, Reid will hope to appease Soanya’s ever-increasing scathing comments and moodiness by asking her to marry him, and this will make everything seem better for a few days. Reid will conduct the ceremony himself, and the two will spend a couple of blissful mid-afternoons together without a care in the world. That is, of course, until the first time she thinks she might be pregnant and/or have gotten some sort of feminine problem, at which time the two will settle into married life on separate ends of the boat. Not long after marriage, Soanya will begin to feel underappreciated for all she does on the boat, and wonder why she is always forced to open the ration containers and set up the table for meals, as well as clean the head. Reid will wonder why he is always in charge of steering the vessel, and blamed when they end up off the coast of Liberia when it was supposed to be Senegal. Small idiosyncrasies that seemed almost cute months before begin to get under each others’ skin, like the way Reid picks at the dry skin on his calloused feet, and then chews on the skin before he spits it onto the floor (which she will undoubtedly have to sweep). Or the way Soanya continuously asks Reid what his ten favorite parts about her are, when all Reid can think about is his one favorite thing that has not been forthcoming. The annoyance with one another will reach beyond habits and to the mere sight of one another on the ship, and each will begin to communicate more with the outside world via internet than with one another. Reid may reconnect with a woman closer to his age who he knew in high school, and Soanya may find the profile of a doctor from America who now works in her native country of Guyana and fall instantly in love with him, but feel shameful for her sinful desires. She may at that point decide that having a child could fix all of their marital problems, for if they cannot love one another, at least they could both love their child and rekindle their own emotions. Reid, however, by this point will have given up all hope, and will be planning to decree his own divorce, when the ship is attacked by pirates off the coast of Madagascar. Reid will try valiantly to hide in the cargo hold, but he will be brought out to face his plunderers. They will take all electronic equipment, including the laptop and GPS device. They may discuss taking Soanya as well, but figure she is a witch-lady if she is married to an old white man, or something to that effect. After the pirates leave, the couple will continue on to the nearest safe port to end their journey after 163 days. Good luck Reid and Soanya from Real Wisconsin News, we'll check on the honeymoon later this year.