The point on the map that I can see on my computer screen says, ‘Everything is fine’.
It said that eight hours ago too (a different point) and 17 hours earlier (another point). Someone who stayed with us is now walking alone in Sarek National Park for a couple of weeks, and he is using a GPS to send signals of his whereabouts. There’s no normal phone connection out there, so the GPS is a bit of reassurance for a lone walker. He has the equivalent of a panic button, which he can press in emergency, which will be sent as a message via the US back to someone here if he needs to be rescued. But that will not happen, because he is a very capable, fit, and sensible young man, so everything will be fine.
It’s a clear case of less is more. He only has the two modes; ‘Everything is fine’, and ‘Emergency’. No, ‘Bloody miserable day. Ate my last bit of chocolate at lunchtime. New socks on and the sun is out so I am speeding up a bit’. Nor, ‘Give Lucy a hug and don’t forget to feed the guinea pig’. Nor any, ‘Listening to Queen Latifah right now, yo’. Just, ‘Everything is fine’.
I like that. I can imagine the dangers he is facing bravely, and the philosophical thoughts he is thinking. I see him standing on a mountain peak, smiling, surveying the world beneath him. I imagine him tying his tent down in a gale and cooking up some tasty dried beef, the wind whipping around his face and the clouds scudding across the sky. I imagine his journey just as I would like it to be, totally extraordinary, and no waffling messages of the ordinary get in the way.
I think I have too many modes to operate in and I ought to stick to the basics. I would like to feel everyday that ‘Everything is fine’. Because basically, it is. If it isn’t an emergency, then it’s fine.