Eve said I shouldn’t have written them down. By uttering them, I made it so. But that can’t be. Our personalities, who we are, and how we act toward each other, was written into our DNA long before I wrote my post on May 21st, “Tomorrow, Everything Will Change.”
The day he arrived, perhaps minutes before, Captain Flash said something about talking to him about keeping the management style status quo, about not trying to change things. That should have been my first clue that the management style was probably going to change.
A day off yesterday was well-needed, and since we got to land and a warmer climate, I’ve been running every day. These two things combined have given me some distance on the whole situation. Reading this passage in Moby Dick yesterday gave me pause: “What of it, if some old hunks of a sea captain orders me to get a broom and sweep down the decks? What does that indignity amount to, weighed, I mean, in the scales of the New Testament? … Who ain’t a slave?”
Of course. If I had only read it sooner. Captain Dashing, too, is a slave to someone or something – perhaps the ideal of order itself can enslave you. And so the oppressive feeling I’ve had since Lunenburg is something he surely feels, too, sometimes. As Melville says, “and so the universal thump is passed around.”
Not a Tall Ship Sailor
At The Place the other night, the one decent bar in this town, the owner was asking us if these were the lives we lived, going from one boat to another. Eve said yes. I said this was just a passing thing for me. A one time deal. “This is her second boat,” Eve told the woman.
But really. I think I’ve realized that this is not my world. That the ideal I thought I’d found, in which I had control over my own realm in the galley, was a “slump” as they say in Swedish – an anomaly; possibly not real; and likely not the norm. Most captains are probably like Captain Dashing, and most boats are probably run the way he runs ours. For a while, I happened on a place I could be fully me, fully in charge of my own world. Now I just have to be thankful for that time, and try to start my own business around what I loved about it.
“You never liked taking orders,” my mother said. And she’s right. If I know one thing about myself, it’s that I do not like to be bossed around. I like to be in control of my world or at least use argumentation to justify my position. I don’t like to be overruled by someone just because they are in a more senior position.
I’ve done so much writing about this industry needing to take a cue from modern management books/research, but I don’t think they would want to employ such techniques even if they knew about them. They would say that the way they’ve been doing it for years is the only way that works. (Strangely enough, when we were rolling out this stuff to the construction managers at my last job, they said the same thing.)
Let the backstory begin
I realize I’m getting ahead of myself. That you, dear reader, have no idea what I’m talking about. So may I direct you back to May 27 (“Transit, Day 3, and Arrival in Lunenburg”). This was the date that Captain Dashing scolded me at the bar.
Everyone else was assigned a day off there, but I could choose, they said at muster. Well, I was focused on getting dinner out and hadn’t really thought about it… until we were at the bar. I decided to suggest that I take both mornings off instead of a whole day – so I could sleep in and skip breakfasts. This is the easiest meal for them to do without me, and if I was in pain or conversely, had the energy to go running, it would be the best time for me to have off. I thought I was making them an excellent offer. “This is not the place to bring this up,” Captain Dashing said pointedly. “You can think about it and tell me back at the boat,” I said. Obviously, if I was going to sleep in the next morning, there wasn’t a lot of other time to talk about it. Captain Flash seemed to get that, so we talked about it for a moment. Captain Dashing, who’d turned away, overheard us and looked over his shoulder to say again, “The bar is not the place to bring up this sort of thing.”
I had not been scolded like that since … perhaps childhood? It irked the hell out of me. I didn’t put the incident in the blog at the time since I know Captain Dashing has fans out there, and I wasn’t sure how they would take it. The important thing now is that I know why I took it the way I did. I’ve processed it, run the data, and that’s what you’re getting from me today. (Reference the Melville quote above.)
So. Now it’s time, if you’re still with me, and want to know the ups and downs that got me to my current state of insight (other than just opening Moby Dick), click your browser a few times on the dates after Lunenburg. While you do that, I’m going to go shape some bread loaves out of that dough I got rising.
Dutch Baby, cold pizza and leftover banana bread
Falafels in pitas with tatziki and tahini sauce
Seafood pasta with homemade french bread and a tossed salad
Brownies from a box… sometimes ya just gotta do it (like when the stove goes out…)