As Matt puts it, we spent 3 days hurtling around Puerto Rico at 75 mph trying to see everything on my list. When we arrived back to the boat on Saturday night, everyone was tired. We thought we were going to do laundry so, in the frantic morning rush to get off the boat, I had pulled the sheets off our bed. After putting the boys to bed, I bathe and then try to get Wi-Fi (no luck). Things have been a little tense between us – some of it is the anxiety about the upcoming overnight passages.
Matt says he is going to bed. I say fine. He goes into our berth and immediately comes out. He is not happy. The tirade goes something like this: I have not consulted him about changing the sheets, changing the sheets is something that affects him, why am I doing something that affects him without consulting him, he just wants to go to bed, he can’t go to bed because there are no sheets, etc., etc. I tell him that putting on the sheets will take 5
minutes but if that is too much for him to do that I will do it. “How would you like it,” he asks me, “if you were tired and wanted to go to bed and the bed was all messed up and you couldn’t just get in it and sleep?” I raise my eyebrows. Wow, … did he just ask me that? I wonder. “Hmmm….,” I respond icily, “you mean like if I was really tired and I came back to the boat and my side of the bed (as well as most of the boat) was
soaking wet and sitting in 2 inches of standing water? That kind of experience is what you mean?” I am referring, of course, to our recent soaking which resulted in 2 nights at a hotel and many hours of extra work. “Oh, … “ he says in a decidedly less pugilistic tone. We launch, as married couples occasionally do, into a back-and-forth spat about X (in this case, the sheets). Finally, Matt says, “It’s not
really about the sheets.” Of course it’s not. These kinds of arguments are rarely about the trivial issue that starts them. There is always something larger beneath. He goes on to say he is concerned that, even once we get to the Bahamas, we will not stop and rest. That we will continue to try and see everything and that it will be exhausting and that I will just want to keep going. The root
of the issue then, is our old friend Fear. I once read that everything is motivated by one of two emotions: love or fear. It seemed overly simplistic in the instant I read it but, the more I thought about it and observed, the more it made sense. It can seem like it’s something different but, if you keep tracing back the reasons for behavior, many of them subtly come back to fear (fear of not being in control, fear of being
incompetent or unworthy, fear of not being loved or cared about, etc.). Does a concern about children’s table manners really arise out of love or being afraid the kid will stick green beans in his ears during a job interview dinner and will then need to move back home because he’ll never become a self-sufficient adult and you’ll still be mopping up his milk when he’s 25? The stuff underneath is what’s interesting. I concede
Matt’s point and admit it’s a valid concern. I have a problem with doing or, conversely, a problem with just being. Figuring out the underlying stuff clears the air and we are good again.
In the morning, Matt actually suggests we should, in fact, try and see the coffee plantation. I argue against it, feeling we have been pushing it the past few days. I finally tell him that I will call once more and, if no one answers, the Universe is telling us No. Miraculously, they answer. We now have reservations for the 1:30 pm tour in English. After Matt spends 2 hours trying to find a place to do laundry and the boys and I spend about that much time logging and stowing our provisions, we leave for the tour. After we get there, we find out that it’s not just a coffee plantation but also grows (wait for it …) cocoa beans. Excellent.