I’m sitting outside our backdoor, where my landlords made a half-hearted attempt at laying a patio some thirty-years ago. It’s a pleasant space in the shade behind the house and between the cedars. I’m drinking a glass of wine, which I never, ever do alone, and reading while my dog sits at feet and whimpers now and then because she is bored. I’m trying to finish Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian, and I have been trying to do that for nearly two months now. I can’t seem read more than a page or two at a sitting. I blame the vocabulary. I’m from Maryland. I grew up sailing on the bay. But I am so struggling with the esoteric sailing vocabulary of this book.