Fearing today might be my last day on the boat, I decided to go out with a bang. Cardamom and date bread pudding for breakfast, a perfectly executed carbonara for lunch with four loaves of homemade bread and Beef Rendang with cucumber salad for dinner.
Every time I’ve been fired (three times now), I’ve had the feeling that it was for the best. The first time I was fired was from a summer job I had as a server at a hotel in Northern Germany. When I asked the owner why I had to pack my bags, she said that no 19-year-old had any business telling the cook how long to boil the soft-boiled eggs. But I knew the real reason. A week before I noticed that the summer crew’s tips were disappearing. When I inquired about it, I was told that all the money was collected and dispersed at Christmas. I did not hide the fact that I found this practice unfair.
I was fired a second time by a lawyer who had asked me to photocopy some documents, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t close the lid of the copier and keep the page from moving at the same time so all the pages were slightly crooked. I cried all the way home that day. I think I was twenty-one at the time.
Now, here I am at 36, fired a third time. As with the first two instances, I am fairly certain that I had brought it on myself. But I am also fairly certain that a good boss would have found a solution.
Somehow they got word of my discontent and yesterday they approached me about it. They said that the rest of the season was going to be really tough if I couldn’t change my attitude toward them. I said I needed 24 hours to think it over. This morning I came to this conclusion: I love this work. I wanted to try and find a way to keep the job. So I asked myself what I would need to do that, and realized that although it would be difficult, the first step would be for the Queen and Captain Might and I to sit down and get to know each other. Most of my discontent stemmed from the fact that they didn’t seem to take any interest in me as a human being. If we could put the past offenses behind us and start fresh by spending some time together… well, that would be a start. When I asked them this morning, they agreed. But I could tell by noon that they were not keen to go out with me.
Halfway through my Beef Rendang, they pulled me aside and said that it was just not going to work. They said they had heard that I was applying for new jobs while they were enjoying their Thanksgiving dinner (not true) and that there was more news of my discontent circling amongst the crew. Later I learned that they had actually already appointed two crew members to take over my responsibilities several days prior. There had never really been any chance of fixing things.
I am really going to miss the crew and the boat and my work, which I love to a crazy extent. Early on I was even thinking about re-investing my wages in their school… Yeah… Uh… No.