Wednesday, December 1, 2010

An Ode

Latitude 38, November, 2010
Tonight, I asked Windy to not renew our subscription to Latitude 38. It seemed to her a weird request.
Every month I look forward to the newest edition arriving in the mail. I've considered feigning sickness on those days, just so I could beg a bit of quiet time alone in bed, free of parenting and household responsibilities, to dive into the latest issue. (I subscribe because the magazine, while free and widely available on the West Coast, is no place to be found in D.C.).
I've been reading Latitude 38 since the early nineties. I recall quarter-mile walks from my boat to the marina village at Ventura Harbor to pick up a few copies of the latest issue for myself and my neighbors, spending the next few hours in the cockpit, making my way through it, reading nearly every word, tearing out snippets from other cruisers writing from the far away places I planned to visit. I remember when color first found its way into the newsprint rag, first on the cover, then on the insides. I remember as the world wide web dawned, the publisher, Richard Spindler, opining confidently that there really didn't seem to be a need for an online presense for the magazine, that things would remain as they were, analog.
I remember when Latitude 38 sponsored and launched the first Baja Ha-Ha in '94. In fact, I remember that when we untied the docklines and headed south in 1996, we didn't participate in the Ha-Ha only because the nominal (and reasonable) entry fee would have busted our cruising kitty. We were low-budget cruisers; the entry fee was something like $85 bucks. I remember while cruising Mexico, in Mazatlan, hearing on the morning VHF net that a fellow cruiser had returned from the States with a few copies of Latitude, hot off the press--and the scramble to get my dinghy launched in a bid to secure a copy.
So, tonight I asked Windy not to renew. Not to renew because--assuming we've sufficiently appeased the real estate gods and our house sells quickly after listing it--we will not be here for all of the next 12 months! It's hard to justify the $50 subscription when I can read it online. In addition to just plain cutting costs for the sake of this trip's kitty, we will be using a mail forwarding service and want to minimize the amount of stuff they have to ship to Mexico. Ending our Latitude 38 subcription is the first concrete step towards that effort and it really brings it all home. We...are...leaving. The chair I'm sitting in now as I type this, the living room around me, the sounds of the bedtime routine drifting down from upstairs: we are leaving it all. In months. Whoa.


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