Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Oh Captain, My Captain

As it is known throughout the shipping and marine industry, the captain is always the last one off the ship and when worse comes to worse, he even goes down with the ship.  Oh Captain, My Captain is a poem written by the late Walt Whitman. It is about the Captain lying dead on the deck as his ship returns to the dock one last time.

In life we are each our own Captain. We guide things along, see to it that our vessel is seaworthy and our crew competent. Their safety is in our hands as long as we are on the water.  We try to keep things on an even keel, pray for smooth sailing and when the storms hit- we look to the horizon for the sun and land, hoping the journey will soon be over. When the ship finally docks in safe harbors, we breathe a sigh of relief. But at some point we feel the itch to hit the seas again, turning the wheel and heading for open waters...

But there are ships out there that shouldn't be. Ships with defects, faults or flaws if you will. It's only a matter of time before they sink. What of their Captain's? Do they not see the weakness in the hull? Do they not hear the skip in the rhythm of the engine? Do they fathom the depths of the unforgiving dark waters they sail?  Do they know they are but biding their time, not wisely?

The day will come that the seas are rough, the weather doesn't ever seem to break and the bitter cold is unforgiving. The brutality of the lifestyle will finally take it's toll.  Sometimes the Captain will still push on. Driving headlong into the onslaught, expecting more, pulling every shred of strength he can get from what is already used up, worn and with nothing left.  The empty hulk of steel, heartless as she may be, pushes on. Often giving more than she's got, but still she pushes on.   

The ship will either sink or be decommissioned into dry dock, stripped of any and all usable parts, pride and the last remains of her dignity. Either way she is dismissed from service. After all she has given her Captain, she is no longer a passing thought.  Her stoic and relentless nature has been cast away, much like the crew as they stand at the islands edge.

Day after day they stare hopefully out to sea for a sign of their awaiting rescue.  Day after day, she lays at the bottom of the ocean, aching for the ability to take them home once last time.  Sitting at the helm in her wheelhouse, in what has become the watery grave they shall share, is her Captain.

Oh Captain, My Captain.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What was that like?

Relationships often start off with feelings of excitement and giddiness. We look at someone and suddenly we start planning our future together with them.  They do things we find irresistible and the floodgates of swooning open up... WIDE!

Sometimes this lasts a month or so, for others it may last a few months or a year, but eventually the metal parts lose their shine and the silver starts to tarnish. Even gold and platinum get dirty and the luster begins to lack. 

Couples either adjust, tough it out or throw in the towel. Is it possible to manage a 'recovery' and bring things back around to what they were before? Not likely when feelings have been sacrificed, one side has been taken advantage of and there is no remorse to be found in the land of the living... 

When the partners are equal, things happen naturally. There is little to no effort involved with doing things to please the other. They listen, they know, they trust and they understand. Often things are shared without a word being spoken.  Having that connection with someone else is a blessed feeling.

There are no arguments, no debates, no rash discussions, no scoreboards and nothing done for the purpose of irritating the other person, just because you know it will. There is no trying to boost someone up while knocking them down at the same time. No 'stealing their thunder' or trying to take credit for things you had little or no part of accomplishing.  There is no 'recreational' alcohol, drug or medication use to numb the experience of the other persons mere presence. 

I have had the privilege of a few blessed unions in life. No jealousy, no intimidation tactics, no stalking followed by prying line of questions that would make an MI-5 background check pale in comparison. I have also had relationships where I was placed on a pedestal and adored, fawned over and eventually smothered.  Calling it off? Some people may while others would relish in being constantly lavished with gifts.  If it suits your fancy, enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ebb and flow

Some of us like consistency in life. We like order, routines and things to be planned out well in advance in order for it all to go smoothly. Others crave spontaneity. Bolting for far away places on a wing and a prayer.   Either side has to accept there will be things that cross over.

For those wanting the 'constant' things in life, stuff will happen that interrupts the schedule of daily plans. Stuff breaks, traffic accidents cause jams, people get sick and you need to direct your attention to resolving these matters before you can go back to your 'normal' routines. 

The spontaneous group has to realize there are specific deadlines in life that are to be met- rent or mortgage, car payments or at the very least utilities and car insurance bills need to be paid. Routine maintenance on your vehicle needs to be done, annual medical and dental checkups, but other than that, you are free to do as you please.

Some of the consistant people are so rigid in their schedules there is no room to budge to add or change anything. It just doesn't happen in their world. They may even forget to allow time in between things and seem to run from one thing to another.

Some of the spontanious crowd- the only thing consistent about them is the nomadic and often transient way of life they seem to lead. They are often blown about by the winds of constant change and nothing is ever set in stone, of course until they are laid beneath one.

So just as the tides come in and go out, we have to maintain some amount of flexibility while still meeting our deadlines and following some kind of a schedule. It's a consistent give and take.  When dealing with others- this consistency is almost never consistent.