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Old 27-06-2010, 12:47   #1
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Solitude Needed ! Help !

After years of having my wife endure the "rigors" of a mooring, I conceded to her (very understandable and reasonable) desire for being at a slip. The benefits, both in terms of convenience and amenities, are HUGE! We've spent rainy, dreary weekends at the dock and had a BLAST, socializing, drinking and enjoying the company of others with a similar mindset. At the mooring the weekend would have been a total bust.

The problem?.......I get totally "burned out" from the socializing. After a period of time (1 - 2 days) I want to just be left alone. No interesting discussions, no problems to solve, no stories, no comraderie, just silence and alone-time. It's very, very difficult to express this need without sounding unfriendly, anti-social or indifferent to others. I LOVE being around others, especially fellow sailors, but find it exhausting and really need to recharge my personal batteries ALONE.

My wife understands, and, as best she can, empathizes, but I'm looking for how others in this situation (either pseudo-hermit or pseudo-hermit's mate) cope with this issue.

Thanks in advance, and I hope I don't see a bunch of guys with white coats and a big net coming up the dock in the near future.

Tanksalot!
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Old 27-06-2010, 12:54   #2
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Take up fishing, with headphones. No need for bait, hooks, all that stuff.
The Headphones? That's for people who can't stop asking bloody stupid questions!
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Old 27-06-2010, 13:04   #3
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Got an anchor?
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Old 27-06-2010, 14:08   #4
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How about leaving the dock and going sailing? Better yet, go cruising.

Rebecca
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Old 28-06-2010, 05:58   #5
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You are an introvert, there are plenty of us out here. You can try explaining that to people. Good luck though - most people who aren't introverts themselves seem to regard it as some kind if disease that we must be rescued from or provided (unwanted, and on-the-spot) therapy to talk us out of it.
How about, since your wife doesn't sound similarly "afflicted", if she goes socializing on THEIR boats for a change, and you stay home. If no one answers your door when they knock, any visitors will soon go away.
Since it makes you so miserable, it isn't really a lie to say, "I don't think I'm up to a visit, I just need to go lie down. Let's make plans for Thursday." That way, they don't feel insulted, and it's clear that you still enjoy their company, but need some recuperation time right now.
Another idea, you could try actually scheduling some "alone time" every so often (depending on how often you need it). You don't have to tell people exactly what it's for, just "No, Monday at 3 won't work for me, I have a regular obligation every Monday from 2 to 5."
And if none of that gets rid of them ... Blame the Boat! There's always something that needs doing, right? "Sorry Fred, I just can't stay and talk, I have GOT to get the manifold repaired." "Gee Tina, drinks sounds great, but we're going to have serious problems if I don't do something about that macerator pump right away!" Even if there's nothing actually wrong with it ... or you just choose not to spend your hard-earned private time elbow deep in the head ... no one needs to know. One mention of head-work, and I'll bet anyone who might end up an unwilling "assistant" will vanish without you having to ask a second time.
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Old 28-06-2010, 07:17   #6
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Or just say that you have to disassemble and clean the clogged toilet and hoses today - that will definitely stop any invitations for a few days.
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Old 28-06-2010, 07:24   #7
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I think the problem with Mari's approach is that the OP doesn't necessarily want to sequester himself down belowdecks like OJ's jury. Maybe he wants to sit quietly topside with his rum and reflect.

If people see you, then you're fair game for conversation. Hell, when I'm working topside, I'm fair game for my dockmates to interrupt me with hours of conversation.

Tanks, all I can suggest is that you untie the docklines when you need peace and quiet. An Autohelm is a quiet, and reliable crewmember.
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Old 28-06-2010, 07:55   #8
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Mariness:

Thanks for taking my post seriously. Yes, I have an anchor, and could have a host of boat to-do's, but the problem is primarily political. My wife is a social butterfly, and spends all week working directly with the public and employees. Even so, she doesn't get her fill, and she LOVES the "dock scene". I enjoy it also, but in much smaller quantities before I burn out.

It's become clear that my wife and I have to come to some arrangement to provide me some space, and we're making progress. Yesterday I had the boat all to myself at the dock, and I just read, read and read some more. She went home to "putter". When she came back to pick me up, I was honestly glad to see her and didn't want her to just sit still like a statue for a few hours.

The bigger problem is the "others". The stories of head repairs and other boat to-do's cause the stress of having someone stop by to help, finding me laying down reading. And, simply the stress of being there and fearing steps coming toward the boat and finding me caught in a lie make it not the best idea.

The whole point of sailing, from my personal point of view, is the serenity and the control of your environment. Getting away from a cheerful, gregarious group of warm, enthusiastic people (and I AM enjoying myself.....just feeling worn down as the fun continues) without appearing to be "weird" or anti-social or conceited .........is not easy. I know I have as much right to enjoy myself as the next person, but unfortunately this introversion is difficult to manage when the group is 20 feet away and wondering why the head in our boat keeps breaking.

The dock location itself has the problem of the possibility of someone coming over unexpectedly at any time. Granted, it doesn't happen often, but the possibility itself causes the stress. If yesterday's weather were better, I would have gone someplace and anchored, but that didn't make sense.

Thanks again for the responses.

Tanksalot
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Old 28-06-2010, 07:57   #9
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I dock on the end of the dock and don't really get many visitors. I think if you dock bow first, it will also discourage some.

Carl
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Old 28-06-2010, 08:01   #10
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As a very difficult compromise between the social life that is abundant in most marinas and the solitude of being at anchor - you might consider thinking "outside the box" or specifically in this case "outside the boat" to find your solitude period. In most areas/islands/what have you - there are parks and mountain/volcanic peaks, and other "nature" settings where you can disconnect from the hub-bub of civilization and relax and absorb the vistas and majesty of Mother Nature. A portable back-pack chair and some good books, etc. is all you need. I never get tired of being surrounded by the glory of Mother Nature without other humans around.
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Old 28-06-2010, 08:28   #11
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I never get tired of being surrounded by the glory of Mother Nature without other humans around.
truer words were never spoken
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Old 28-06-2010, 08:34   #12
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I understand this problem very well. To solve this I have informed my friends and neighbours in a polite way, that when the flag (ensign) is not hoisted I need my solitude. When I hoist the flag the bar is open, and I am ready to socialise.

All the best Michael
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Old 28-06-2010, 08:54   #13
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Originally Posted by tanksalot View Post
Yesterday I had the boat all to myself at the dock, and I just read, read and read some more.
For some folks, reading is just a way of passing time until something better comes along. For the true introvert, however, it's a necessary corrective, a way to recharge the batteries.

When I need some quiet time in the cockpit to read or write, I put classical music on the sound system. A good adagio is like bug spray to keep the extroverts at bay.

And if one of them attempts to break through the fog of my music, I politely say, "I won't come to a stopping point for another hundred pages."
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Old 28-06-2010, 09:25   #14
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Osirissail - EXCELLENT idea!!! Even sailing to a nearby island and anchoring, or going to the beach.

There's an excellent author about the desert, Edward Abbey, who said (and I paraphrase) "I find I enjoy the wonders of nature best when there aren't a lot of others enjoying it with me". For those on this thread similarly "afflicted", Edward Abbey's book Desert Solitaire is a must-read. Within 2 pages you're transported to a serene, silent, majestic and peaceful location in the Utah desert. Interestingly, there are a lot of similarities between hiking the desert and sailing.......silence, majesty and views to the horizon, minimal interruptions and the beauty and peace that comes with a realization of our individual insignificance.

Bash - I'll try the classical music approach. It sounds (pun intended) like a good idea.

Tanksalot
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Old 28-06-2010, 09:43   #15
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My suggestions were aimed at the "compromise" with your wife. Finding a way that does not jeopardize her need to be social by portraying yourself to her "friends" as a "snob," introvert, or other type person that does not like their company - or - they think, you think, you are "above them." It is a touchy situation and going off "shopping" or to a mountain top or park for some peace and quiet is the easy solution that avoids the above.
- - Eccentricity is the hallmark of most cruisers - probably why we got into this life-style - and your "other half" may love or tolerate you for it, but you don't want to "piss on her parade" by overtly shunning others.
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