A couple of nights ago I spent a considerable amount of time unpacking and repacking my fly fishing vest. This wasn’t conducted in a practical or organizational vein. It was largely a waste of time as all that happened was that I emptied one vest and filled another. During the course of the evening I also sorted through the entire contents of my fly tackle bag; discarding nothing, even those items that haven’t been wet since Reagan (or maybe Carter) occupied the White House.
For reasons that don’t need to be addressed here I own several fishing vests. The two I most often use are nearly identical in design except that one is constructed from a stiff, heavy fabric; the other from thin, lightweight stuff. However, my decision to move from one to the other has nothing to do with the weather or season. I have no reason. That would somehow defeat the exercise. I wouldn’t refer to this as a ritual and obsession seems too strong a word. Habit, perhaps. My daughter Sarah, who fishes because it’s apparently wired into her genetic code, finds this behavior perfectly normal; even natural. My daughter Rebecca, who fishes only to appease Dad finds it mildly amusing. My non-fishing wife – an obsessive-compulsive knitter and reader – just smiles knowingly and says nothing.