Monday, January 4, 2016

The Black Box

Have any of you heard of this idea of the Black Box?  No, no, not that box.  The box I'm referring to is an old mystical, sailor theory that every boat possesses an imaginary black box.  Every time a sailor does something seaman-like, he pays a coin into this box.  An aquatic, karmic bank account of sorts that one can draw from when shit hits the fan.  Now this box accepts an infinite amount of coins, and the more you pay into it, the more you can draw from it when you really need it.  This can be anything from changing the engine oil when it's due, to doing engine checks before starting it, to keeping the lines neatly coiled on deck, to climbing the mast to check your rigging, to varnishing your teak, there are countless ways to earn coins.  This explains why some people go through huge squalls with no injury to their beloved boat, while others suffer dis-mastings, torn sails, and so on.  

Since owning Moitessier, we have rigorously abided by this idea.  Well, Frank more than I as his personality tends to lean more towards obsessive compulsion than mine.  But regardless, we have tried at every opportunity to put coins in our account and so far it's really paid off.  Now this leads me to think about how this idea can be applied to so many things in life.  That perhaps there needs to be different Life Boxes of sorts.  In this case, a piggy bank for relationships.  More often than not, living in a such a small space, Frank and I fight over what is important to us in terms of Moitessier as a whole.  We have different ideals as to what level of messiness we can handle on the boat, how we like our space to be, and so on.  We get so caught up with being seaman-like and paying into the black box, that we forget that we also need to pay into our Life Box.  This can be anything from random acts of kindness, like picking up after someone without nagging them about it, saying thank you when they make you a meal, a back massage when they are tired, a hot chocolate when they are on watch, letting them sleep an extra 1/2 an hour during your watch.  These things after 13 years of being together are sometimes overlooked.  This theory primarily goes back to mindfulness, being mindful of how your partner feels, being aware of the things that your boat needs in order to keep you safe. The more mindful you are of their needs, both your partner and your boat, the more coins you accrue in your boxes.  The more coins you have, the more likely you are to weather some emotional squalls when you need to. The more "lifeman-like" things you do for one another, the stronger your love and the stronger your bond.

With the new year ahead of us, and most of us setting impossible resolutions, I found that this is a very interesting way of looking at life in general; whether it be your personal goals, fitness, career, whatever it may be, the more little things you do towards these goals, the more likely you are to succeed.  Ultimately, it comes down to the basic principle of taking responsibility for the things you value and the things that are important to you.


  1. I really like this idea! Chase and I will have to put it into play. I knew someone who had a real-life "love box" and every time he and his lady made love or went on a date, they would each put at least a dollar into the box, then every year on their anniversary, they'd open the box and use that money to go to a fancy restaurant or take a trip or go to a concert, etc. This just reminded me of that!

  2. Hey Christiana,
    MIss you! Didn't even know you read my blog. I like yours too, had no idea that you had one. Anyway, yes, I love this idea of going on dates with the box money! I miss going on food dates, haha. Can't wait til we get to St Thomas so you and Chaz will come. I think Chaz will love the ocean :P and spearfishing.