Thinking About: Big Ships, Big Sharks and The Pleasure of Knowing

September 13, 2013

Screen shot 2013-09-13 at 3.54.26 PM

I am supposed to be in North Carolina right now, drinking coffee with my mother at her kitchen table and talking about how all the things moms and daughters talk about when sitting at a kitchen table drinking coffee.   I’m still in New York because my Raleigh bound flight sat on the runway at LaGuardia for hours yesterday afternoon, through a rain and thunderstorm so intense the plane shook and then finally was canceled. You know you are a mother when, while on a stranded plane, you find yourself giddy with relief that only you are having to go through this, that your four year old is safely at home, playing with Dad.

The hours of limbo were strangely relaxing.   I had a gracious seat mate who kept me calm when I noticed what I thought was smoke pouring out of the overhead compartments (it was, in fact, condensation from the AC unit). The flight attendants kept us stocked with Biscoff cookies and peanuts. The greatest pleasure, however, was all the reading, since I’d bought five magazines at the airport newsstand in a decadent orgy/celebration of traveling without kiddo. To sit, mostly uninterrupted, for all those hours and just read? Blissful.

Two articles in particular gave me a reader’s high: one on Great White Sharks from The New Yorker (subscribers only, dang it) and the other on The World’s Biggest Boat in Bloomberg/BusinessWeek (available in full via the link).   The article on Great White Sharks profiles the scientists who are tagging Great White Sharks (huge fish, btw) and learning more about their movements in the ocean, which have always been a mystery.  The World’s Biggest Boat profiles a fleet of enormous cargo carriers built for Maersk that are 30% more energy efficient than smaller carriers.  When I say enormous, I mean the boat is as long as the Empire State Building is high.  Crazy big, in other words.

The best part of reading a great magazine article is that it fills you up, I guess that’s part of the reader’s high.  Little details keep coming back to me – and give me that certain pleasure of only knowing something new gives.  Did you know that “fining” is the term for the action of sharks coming to the surface of the ocean. As it turns out there are some sharks who fin frequently and others who might only fin once or twice a year.   Which makes me wonder, are the sharks who fin more like humans who obsessively marathon or maybe more like the weary business traveller? Are the sharks who stay deep in the ocean the relative coach potatoes or maybe more like country bumpkins?  I hope you’ll enjoy both articles as much as I did.

Have you had any particularly good reader high moments recently?

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Wendy September 17, 2013 at 10:12 pm

I missed you and your blog this summer, though that Paris post held me for a long time. I can so relate to that wonderful joy of free reading time. New magazines to be enjoyed guilt-free is one of the things I look forward to when getting on a plane.

samantha hahn September 23, 2013 at 11:51 am

love this!~

Kelley September 25, 2013 at 1:03 pm

hi abbey, i haven’t spent much time in nyc other than the typical school field trip (actually, i’m from vermont, right by dartmouth college), so i was fascinated with this article about william helmreich’s walk through nyc. i love his optimism. wouldn’t it be interesting to spend an afternoon with helmreich and walk the streets of nyc?! http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2013/09/a-walker-in-the-city.html

ps. i really enjoy your blog : )

Wendy October 22, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Pretty please can we have a new post? Everything ok out there?

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