Wednesday, December 16, 2015

So, this is very much related to my experience on Niagara and how I now evaluate mates.

What can I say, mates are an unfortunate
Fact of boat life.

I’ve worked with many
And in large part,
They are absolute shit.

Imagine the worst boss you
Have ever had.
Now imagine that at the end of the
Workday he drives your car home
And sleeps in your house.
You see the problem here.

You are never quite free of the mate on a boat.

Mates divide neatly into
Two categories of incompetence
And poor leadership.

One.) Academy Brats, mostly recipients of
Small vessel operations degrees from a plethora
Of maritime academies.
They know how to steer a boat (mostly)
But have no grasp of what is entailed in
Working on the deck of a boat (entirely)
Academy brats are the more innocuous
Variety as their inability to properly tie
A square knot is amusing (here’s looking at
You Maine Maritime) and they are slightly
More personable than hawse pipers.
Last hitch I discovered that one of our
Academy brats thought you could store jugs
Of orange juice in the pantry unrefrigerated.
You can’t make this shit up folks.

Two.) Hawse Pipers, I.E. Mates who worked their way up
From deckhand positions.
They know how to steer a boat (mostly)
And have a solid grasp of what is entailed
In working on deck (Mostly)
Hawse Pipers can be, and often are, as illiterate and
Ignorant as deckhands, meaning that they have all the
Personality and charm of a wet fart fired into my morning
Coffee, another turd elevated to a position of power.
What could go wrong? How are these people in charge of me?
They spend the majority of their time telling deckhands
How much better they were on deck in their day
And how much worse they had it.
The nautical equivalent of your dads “I walked uphill
Both ways to school, and it was always winter, and I had
Only bread bags for shoes.” And, Just like dad’s story,
It’s all bullshit.
One of our hawse pipe mates in particular loves to talk
About how we deckhands these days don’t have any
Pride in anything we do anymore.
He must weigh three hundred pounds, I find that ironic.
The man turned what could have been a perfectly tuned
Ferrari into the smoking aftermath of a demolition derby.
And still you comment on how we don’t have pride in anything.

You destroyed the physical vessel in which your worthless
Spirit must reside for all of your days on this earth.
Don’t you dare presume to speak to me on pride.
My name literally means it, and compared to you my body
Shows it.

In six years working on boats
I’ve known only two good mates.
Authoritative, fair, personable, kind,
Reasonable, compassionate, competent, and professional.
Through these traits and their refusal to project their bad treatment
As deckhands onto to their crew they showed me what to be when
I become a mate.

Someday we will break the cycle.

P.S. It's not that hard to become one of you.