Posted on: June 14, 2011 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 6
This morning's Dutch Baby looked a little funny.
This morning’s Dutch Baby looked a little funny.
The funny thing is, all my fears about Captain Dashing came true.

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.

Monday’s Menu
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…)

6 People reacted on this

  1. Thanks for adding your touch to our fun sail from Ogdensburg to Clayton, Cole. It wasn’t just the vessel, but the people within, that made the trip so memorable. I will continue to follow your blog. It’s nice to know that I don’t have to join the French Foreign Legion if I ever choose to jump ship from my current life. Tresa

  2. Thanks for sailing with us, Tresa. But I don’t think you need any lessons on reinvention from me. I was really impressed with how you and John were following your hearts! -C

  3. hmm sounds like a delemma. no not everyone it like capt dassing nor would i say he represents any kind of average. what you are seeing is very much the argo style there are many others and this one can be avoided. this said it doesent mean that there are not plently of other unpleasant styles but this one is not so hard to identify and avoid.

  4. I know that in those types of environments there are not a lot of good times/places to talk shop. I know when I consider myself to be “off clock” the last thing I want to do is speak of work, is it possible that this is what happened here?

  5. It’s possible that he just didn’t want to talk shop. But having worked at a small company where work and home life become virtually inseparable, I think you have to be prepared for these moments and take it as it comes. It’s not like he was at the bar with his wife or something – he was there with the crew – and there isn’t a lot we have in common except our work.

    I think if he deserves a hallowed on this one, the reason might be that he was tired. It was an awfully long transit and we were all just on the verge of getting a pretty bad flu bug.

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