Tuesday, 22 February 2022

Why play?

Here's a nice thing to do. Go down to the Med with your blow-up kayak. Push it out to sea, straight out to avoid the waves rocking it over, hop beaches, admire the mansions along the coast, take pictures, pull the kayak onto a beach and walk across the hot sand to a bar and sip cocktails together, looking out to sea.

All lovely. To do this, I also need to take my phone, to take pictures, and my card, to pay, and my glasses to see properly. It means we need to be quite careful with waves and water getting in the boat. This is the usual pattern, and it's a lot of fun.

But one time, I tried something different. I left my glasses, phone, and money with the people on the towels.

Oh, now there's nothing to get wet, I don't need to worry about water getting in the kayak. I can aim for the waves. I can deliberately capsize it, sit on the upside-down kayak, try, and succeed in, righting the kayak. 

This is play. I don't need to get from A to B without getting wet. I don't need to do the correct thing. In fact, I'm going to try out the incorrect thing. I'm going to take risks, try things to the limit. I will get wet, and it will be OK.

And I learn a lot from it, not that I was setting out to. I feel more connected with the kayak and with the sea. I know better what they can do together. I'm less afraid of what might happen. I know how the boat behaves in the waves at different angles. I know that if we get knocked over, I can sit on top of it, and we can right it. 

This play thing seems at right angles to the A to B functionality of the boat. It doesn't get me anywhere, it doesn't keep the boat the right way up, it doesn't keep me dry. And yet, my knowledge is now broader, more reliable, more comprehensive. 

That's what play does.