merchant mariner families

...a highly unusual, sometimes maddening,
but mostly comical way of life.

May 28, 2013

the nautie mermate

   Just this past year, I was poking around the internet, looking for merchant mariner blogs when I came upon one written by a Chief Mate who just happened to be a woman.  'What is this sweet piece of heaven?'  ran through my head more than once as I gobbled up her words in a matter of hours.  For every piece I read, my husband's world opened up to me in a totally different way.  It was as if she translated his feelings, stories, and experiences into 'woman speak' and I finally got just why he loved his job so much.  (For that one favor I will be forever grateful.  Thank you.)
   I contacted Megan the Nautie Mermate a few months ago in the hopes that she would grant my request of an interview, which she did, and I'm just so pleased to share it with all of you.  She's witty, quirky, thoughtful, gracious, and someone I hope to meet very, very soon.  Make sure to check out her blog, simply click on the links below each pic you'll see, when you're done reading the interview!

Megan the Nautie Mermate

CM:  Alright, Nautie, how long have you been shipping?

Nautie:  Well, I graduated in 2005, so about 8 years.

CM:  And what got you into this?

Nautie:  I grew up in Hawaii and all I knew was that somehow I wanted to work on the water.  I looked into Marine Biology, but ended up stumbling across Maine Maritime Academy in my search for colleges and knew it was perfect for me.  Becoming a merchant mariner was a great way to get a trade, have a steady job, and work on the water! 

CM:  Anyone in your family involved in shipping?

Nautie:  No...sailing tends to be a family trade (I have many shipmates who have family members that sail), but that's majorly not my story, I'm the only one!

CM:  Speaking of family, what's yours like back home?

Nautie:  I come from a big family that hates me shipping out...they wish I was home and available all the time.    

CM:  So how do they, and you, deal with your absences?

Things in a Mason Jar
Nautie:  The short answer is I miss out on a lot and it's harder on them than it is on me.  However, to be quite honest, since I started the blog people are dealing with my absences much more gracefully.  I was having a hard time staying in touch with everyone because I couldn't write enough e mails every day!  But with the blog, I can write a bit every day for everyone.  It's also been great to give them a little snapshot of my life.  They can see the photos of the vessel, of the cargo, of my mini garden, of my mason get the idea.
Little bit of Green

CM:  Any special someone in the picture?

Nautie:  No...the bummer about being a Lady Sailor is that finding that person can prove quite challenging.  I know it's hard for Gentlemen Sailors, too.  I think often about how I'm missing out on starting a family of my own, but I'm just not ready to go ashore yet!  I can't imagine what the dynamic would be if I had a significant other waiting for me at home, 100 days would feel like a really, really long time!

CM:  So settling down is a thing you've considered?

Nautie:  Of course!  But one of the things I think about is this...the lack of a family life while sailing is the biggest difference between the men and women out here, meaning I know a lot of other Lady Sailors and very few of them have left a significant other or a child at home.  I'm not sure I'd be comfortable leaving a child at home and heading to sea for three months, but at the end of the day, you do what you do when you need to do it!

CM:  Are you ruling it out for now?

Nautie:  Honestly, I think that settling down while still sailing may be nigh on impossible.  Sometimes I think, 'If I could just meet a great engineer', then we'd be in different departments, but he'd still get the sailor in me.  And other times I think I'd better quit sailing and find a match maker or I might end up a crazy cat lady in my old age!  

CM:  Well that fear certainly isn't exclusive to women of the sea, I can attest to that!

Nautie:  You're right, but if you know any single sailors, or dudes who could handle a Lady Sailor, give me a call!

CM:  Alright now, let's get down to the job!  Tell me a little bit about what you do.

Nautie:  Well, I'm currently sailing as a Chief Officer on a Heavy Lift Ship.  It's awesome!  It's 'old-school shipping' at its finest.  We are literally a tramp vessel meaning, we have no schedule...we just go where there is cargo, like generators, gas turbines, wooden crates full of equipment and goods.  It's great because we're always seeing new types of cargo. 

CM:  And what exactly do you do on the ship?

Nautie:  The generic answer is that I run the deck.  My primary focus is managing the deck gang, as well as the maintenance schedule of the vessel, and caring for the cargo.  I report directly to the captain and with his help I coordinate any major projects, port stays, or regulatory requirements.

CM:  How long are you out there for?

Nautie:  I've basically done three months on and three months off, but it's changed pretty drastically now that I'm on a tramp vessel because on the way home, we might divert for cargo extending the trip significantly.  I'd say in general I average about 100 days onboard.

CM:  Do you get to get off the ship in port?

Nautie:  When I was a junior officer I was a total shore hound!  I was ashore as soon as I was off watch.  I didn’t care if it meant I was awake for 24 hours straight.  If we were in Russia I was not going to miss it!  Now that I’m the Chief Officer I basically don’t get ashore ever.  I just did a 103 day trip with not one minute ashore….other than taking photos of the camels on the dock in Djibouti.

CM:  So tell me what you love about this job.

The Hole Digger----a MUST READ!
Nautie:  I love the people I meet along the way...interesting shipmates, surly port authorities, friendly stevedores.  I love sunrises on my morning watch, I've participated in some crazy shoreside shenanigans, and I've become capable and independent in a way that I never would have otherwise.  It's been an adventure...that's the greatest thing.

CM:  What's been your favorite place to travel to?

Nautie: I think my most unique experience was in Georgia (as in the country).  I spent two nights there before I could fly out.  One night in Poti and one night in Batumi.  The ships agent took me under his wing and gave me a full tour of the country side.  We stopped at roadside stands and bought tangerines and bamboo mugs, took photos in front of snowy mountains, got the car stuck in the was amazing.  Georgia had a huge gap in living conditions.  Poti was struggling and Batumi was thriving.  I firmly believe that it’s incredibly important to see how the rest of the world lives.  Nothing will make you more grateful, more compassionate or more open minded.  Poti, Georgia really sticks out as a place that I never would have traveled on my own but, was an incredible experience that changed me a bit.  

CM:  What's the strangest thing you've seen?

Nautie: Tough one!  I have to say, this past rotation I fed the camels at the livestock pier in Djibouti and also chatted for a bit with the sailors on the ‘camel ship’ that was going to be transporting the camels from Djibouti to Saudi Arabia.  I can’t say it was really strange per say but, it was for sure a little surreal.

Djibouti, Djibouti

CM:  Strangest thing you've eaten?

Nautie:  In Russia...cow tongue with pomegranate seeds!  Unusual pairing, no?

CM:  Uh...yeah.  And now for a left turn.  How do you feel working in an industry dominated by men?

Nautie: Oh boy.  I could go on and on about this.  In a nutshell, I have had very good experiences.  I know that my attitude and, my demeanor will affect those around me so, I attempt to be the best shipmate I can be.  I think that most Gentlemen Sailors are happy to sail with a good shipmate.  How’s that for a diplomatic answer?! 

CM:  Have you had to make any adjustments being a woman?

Nautie:  I think what I've learned over the years is that it's a balancing act.  I've fine tuned my ability to be professional, yet caring.  It's good to have fun, but ultimately the crew will follow your example, so it's important to work hard and then play hard.  

CM:  And how about dealing with men from other countries?

Nautie: I think it’s only fair to allow a ‘break in period’ after they meet me.  I truly understand that in specific ports and specific regions of the world I am far, far out of their realm of experience.  Again, as long as I remain professional and courteous I have very few problems.  That being said….I get STARED at sometimes!  But if anything I probably get treated better than the men.  Sometimes, I know I’m being treated differently, I just remind myself that however awkward it feels it won’t last forever….eventually, we’ll leave port!
CM:  So pull this all together for me?  Do you think it takes a certain kind of person to do this job?

Nautie:  Yes...first of all, you have to do things like Get Rid Of That Mad-On!  You can’t hold a grudge at sea.  You just can’t.  If you do – you shouldn’t! And Suck Up And Be Nice!  Are you hot?  So is the dude standing next to you?  Are you tired?  So is everyone around you?  Are you homesick?  Who isn’t?  Sometimes, when it sucks, and you feel grumpy you need to reign it in….everyone is grumpy…be nice!

But on a more serious note, I also think you need to want an adventure, want to get your hands dirty.  You enjoy solving a problem.  You enjoy a quiet morning on the bridge.  I think you need to realize that attitude is the difference between adventure and ordeal.

CM:  That's beautiful, Megan.  A perfect ending and I'm going to steal that quote!  Thank you so much for your time and honesty, it's much appreciated.  Meow!

For more Merchant Mariner blogs, look in the right hand column under Shipmasters.  There are a few from PG to R-rated, your choice (they're sailors after all, right).

Copyright 2013 Callie's Mariner

May 22, 2013

top 12, baby!

   I'm not much for top 10 lists, mainly because I don't like being restricted to a certain number of items.  So here's my take on said lists but with 11 instead of the obligatory 10 and if I feel like it, I might add some more later.  And if you feel like it, please feel free to add your own must-haves in the comment section below. 
    Callie's Top 12 Must-Haves for Merchant Mariner Living

Number 12:  A good mechanic.

Most everything that will go wrong with your vehicles will happen, almost certainly, when your mariner is gone.  So unless you feel like taking an auto mechanic's course at your local community college, finding a good mechanic is essential.  What a huge weight it will take off of your shoulders and the mariner in your life.  Beyond switching out wiper blades I'm useless, so I'm glad to have my father and father-in-law on hand, as well as a good mechanic.  Every little bit helps!

Number 11:  A complete understanding of household bills and how they will be paid in his or her absence.

Surprises aren't good, and let's face it, when The Merchant Mariner is out to sea, you're in charge!  More knowledge of the financial situation and plan in the house means less stress and anxiety.  And in event of something tragic, you won't have to spend time figuring out passwords for online banking, bills, or even sort out what needs to be paid and when.   

Number 10:  The emergency number for the ship or company your mariner works for. 

You have to be able to contact them in an emergency in some form or other, so having the ship or company's number handy is key and will save you a lot of valuable time and trouble in these type of circumstances.

Number 9:  An over inflated ego.

Wendy the Welder was AMAZING!
What do I mean by that?  "I'm the most amazing person on this planet because I  (fill in the blank)"  It's statements and feelings like this that might just get you through some of the tougher times while your mariner is out to sea.  Instead of feeling sorry for yourself because the washing machine exploded all over the floor, you can appreciate the fact that you're a pretty incredible person for taking care of it on your own...BECAUSE YOU ARE!!!!!!!!!  As Tonya George (a mariner wife) once said, "We are an elite group!"  Remember that.  Not everyone would be as successful as you are at this life. 

Number 8:  Power of Attorney

This is so helpful for times that your mariner is out to sea and you 'd like, for example, to sell a car in both of your names.  However, you have to carefully research which type you need for particular circumstances as a blanket power of attorney may not work when you want it to.  
Dave Mountford (a mariner) and his wife, Jamie ran into such circumstances..."We had a real legit Power of Attorney written up by a lawyer and when Jamie sold our house the bank wouldn't accept it. They wanted us to use their own 'in house' Power of Attorney." 
Number 7:  An Experienced Accountant

Over the years, it really helped to have an accountant experienced in dealing with merchant mariners at tax time.  It was completely worth the money as Beady and I likely would've divorced had we 
done the taxes together one more time!    

Number 6:  A healthy vice!

Dirt the Skirt, Ladies!
Whether it's "rough-housing" with your local baseball team, watching 8 episodes in a row of Downton Abbey, or digging ditches in Third World Countries, DO IT UP!  It's so important to do your own thing, be your own best friend, you know?  Although I really enjoy hanging out with Beady when he's home, I love the fact that I have my own "stuff", things I do that don't involve him, that are just about me.  It helps to keep me grounded and not to get sucked into being just Beady's wife.  I was a super someone before I met him and I'm sure as heck not going to change that just because I fell in love!  
We're great together and we're great apart.   

Number 5:  A good babysitter.

This is perhaps the one of the more important must-haves.  Why?  So you can be successful at number 6, that's why.  You need "Me Time", everyone does, which is why it's so essential to treat yourself to a break once in a while.  SeaWife, a mariner's wife and friend of mine, is a full-time stay-at-home mom who uses a babysitter at least once a week to recharge and not be mom or somebody's wife for a few hours.  
A definite must-have. 

Number 4:  A well of patience.

No explanation necessary.

Number 3:  A 'mariner spouse or partner' friend.

It's a truly wonderful thing to be able to vent to someone who knows exactly what you're going through.  Why?  Because they won't say stupid things like "Maybe you shouldn't have gotten involved with a mariner."  Instead they'll say things like, "YOU'RE SO AMAZING AND YOUR MARINER IS SO FRICKIN' LUCKY TO HAVE YOU!"  And if you don't have one, you do now...write me ANYTIME you need to vent, I'm happy to hear it and will completely understand and not call the police when you say you're going to kill your mariner when he gets home because a tree decided to fall right across your driveway and you had to put your overalls on, strap the baby to your back, and attack that tree with a chainsaw just so you weren't trapped for the next 4 months! 

Number 2:  Big time familiarity with your local Home Depot, Lowes, Ace Hardware.  

Between my father-in-law and Home Depot, I have gotten a crash course in Fix-It knowledge around the house as I'd only ever lived in apartments before Beady and I met.  It's so nice to be able to go into these stores and remedy an issue that might normally have taken months to resolve in waiting for Beady to return.  Now I can't fix everything, but I can certainly attend to any number of things I would have left to Hubby had he held a land job.  It's very empowering!

Number 1:  A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!

To me, this is THE most important 'must have' to have.  You are going to experience a number of 'I can't believe this is happening to me right now!' moments when your mariner is gone.  Sorry, it just goes with the territory.  How you react in each situation will be a good indication as to how fast you resolve it.  Now I'm not saying you're not going to get angry because sometimes you will, that's only natural, you're a human being for crying out loud and life can be really unfair.  But if you can see it, at some point, for the ridiculousness that it is, you'll be so much better off and the next time something like it happens, you won't get as angry.  I can't tell you how many times I've just sat down on the ground and laughed at how ludicrous a particular situation was.  Having to deal with a destructive skylight leak never happens on its own, oh no, things like that always occur when you have to put your most beloved pet to sleep and the furnace starts making a high pitched ringing sound while putting off smoke.  These are the times I always look up and say, "Really?"  But the fact that I can laugh at it sometimes immediately, sometimes a week later, makes life so much easier because I'm not a victim of my circumstances.  I'm a strong person who can handle a lot, if need be, since life is life and more importantly, life is really funny from time to leaky time! 

Copyright 2013 Callie's Mariner

May 14, 2013


  A little disclaimer here, if you don't want any additional reasons to worry about your mariner while they're out to sea, please don't read any further as this post is specifically about a few of those dangers.  

   About two years into my relationship with Beady, we happened to be at the Kittery Trading Post in Maine (it's a store much like Cabela's and LL Bean) searching for a particular type of knife Beady needed to replace the one he'd lost.  I really didn't think much of it, hadn't payed too much attention to the errand until we arrived there and started looking around.  Here's how the conversation went:

Me:  So, what do you need this knife for?

Beady:  To replace the one I lost on the ship.

Me:  What?  How do you lose a knife on a ship?  Aren't there only so many places it could be?

Beady:  (A little hesitation in his voice now.) kind of fell off the ship.

Me:  Why would you put it down somewhere that it could fall off the side?  Come on!

Beady:  I didn't, it just fell. (He quickly turned away and moved around the knife counter pretending to be interested in a particular one.)

Me:  Okay, that doesn't even make any sense.  What aren't you telling me?  Where were you when this happened?

Beady:  I was painting. 

Me:  Yeah?  So?  Since when does painting the ship entail risk of losing one's possessions?  (Sarcasm, my go to emotion.)  What...were you hanging off the side of the ship or something?

Beady:  (Moving further away from me.) What?  Did you say something?

Me:  Oh my God!  YOU WERE HANGING OFF THE SIDE OF THE SHIP?!!!  (Heads turning now.)

Beady:  It's not a big deal...really.  It's maintenance, we do it all the time.  And it just slipped out of my shirt pocket, I should've secured it, it was my fault.

Me:  (Breathing fast now.)  It slipped out of your shirt pocket?  What...were you upside down or something?  How could it possibly fall out of your shirt pocket?

Beady:  (Silence, head down.  Really, really interested in a particular knife.)



   Needless to say, the rest of the conversation took place outside of the Kittery Trading Post, as we were extremely close to the gun and taser section and some of the customers surrounding us, specifically the men, were looking a little too Bruce Willis to me.  I didn't need some wanna be action hero taking me down simply because I raised my voice to a man that hangs off the side of a ship upside down to paint.  I didn't have time to explain this to them, and I don't even think they'd sympathize.  They all had an 'I literally just got through menopause with my wife and I'm not taking crap from any other woman' look on their fatigued faces, they certainly weren't going to ask any questions before they tasered me.  
    Beady and I eventually moved through this, but it brought all of the horrible shipping stories I'd heard over the years right to the front of my brain for the next couple of weeks.  A friend's husband telling of a shipmate who neglected to secure himself to the deck as they were tossing garbage off of the ship.  He became caught in the piece of equipment and went over the side with it, there was nothing they could do to help him.  Ridiculously huge waves and other scenarios that involve bad sailing weather, stupid, stupid pirates, lines snapping and drastically changing the course of a mariner's life, as well as their families, and way too many episodes of Deadliest Catch.  But the one that just hangs there, will never go away, is a family friend, Nick.  I loved Nick.  He was a mariner that shipped with Big Daddy Mitchell from time to time, was married to the beautiful Faye, and drove a white Jeep that I absolutely loved riding in every time I saw him.  Nick had shaggy black hair, 70's style, a moustache, and the crinkliest smiling eyes I'd ever seen.  It was an absolute pleasure to be around him and I always looked forward to seeing him as he was my favorite of Daddy's mariner friends.  I can't remember when I found out, or how, but one day I learned that Nick had gone to sea and hadn't come back.  It was only in the last few years that I really spoke about it with Daddy and he told me what he believed happened or at least what he'd been told.  Nick had been on night duty, walking the ship, when they think he passed through a space where he was simply swept off by a wave.  They didn't even realize he was gone until his relief came and couldn't locate him.  I think of Nick every time I say goodbye to Beady, so it's extremely hard to just let him go as I want to wrap him up in my arms and keep him safe with me always, but I know that's impossible.  
     So this is what I do, this is what keeps the memory of Nick at bay and all of the other worries concerning Beady's time at sea...I DO NOT think about it.  If it starts to creep in, I dump it because I've found that it serves me absolutely no purpose and I also follow a few other rules, along with Beady's help.

The kind of weather I imagine him to have!
1.  Beady is forbidden to tell me about any bad weather they're traveling through.  I don't want to hear about crazy swells and the rolling of the ship.  The less I know about that, the better, as they're professionals who know how to navigate that kind of nonsense and my potential worry about the situation would do nothing to aid in its conclusion. 
2.  My husband has given me a general description of what he does on the ship.  I do not want to hear about specific things he might do like HANG OVER THE SIDE OF A SHIP to check something out in good or bad weather.  You get my meaning, yes?  
3.  If I'm at a party, or somewhere with my husband's friends, and talk moves around to one of those stories about a most unfortunate mariner, I simply leave the room.  I just don't need the added anxiety.  They can talk about it amongst themselves as I'm sure it's good for them, a way to perhaps quell their own fears, if they have any.  I just don't need to be a part of that.  
4.  (Not applicable anymore, but was once a necessity.) Under no circumstances, is he to tell me when he's passing through pirate territory, although I'm absolutely, thoroughly familiar with where all of those are.  His best friend's ship was nearly boarded by a few, that's close enough to home for me!  

    So this is what helps me get around these thoughts, through the stories, and away from the bad memories, that and the idea that I'll deal with 'it' if it even happens.  And in the interim, I'll enjoy like heck all of the time I get to spend with Beady when he's home since life is very short and extremely precious no matter what your husband or wife does for a living.  
    By the way, if you ask Beady about this particular topic, he simply shrugs his shoulders and says, "No big deal, it's just my job."  And I'm guessing, though he would never admit it, that he feels much safer on a ship with 50 foot swells and a legion of pirate ships following him than he does living here with me! 

Copyright 2013 Callie's Mariner


May 07, 2013

beady & hyde...the rising

  A little while ago, I posted a question on Callie's facebook page asking if there was anything you'd like to hear about in particular.  I received a few comments, but one of them stuck out, actually screamed at me, as I'd been working on a piece along the same lines.  The suggestion was from Dave Mountford, a mariner, who wrote that he'd like to hear about the "trouble" other mariners might have in transitioning from the ship to land.  For instance, apparently Dave insists that every hose, extension cord, or line in their house be coiled clockwise. I can just imagine what the word insist entails, so my sympathies to his wife and children as I completely understand.  He also mentioned that he consistently tries to drive the car home from the airport at 6 knots, which Google tells me is nearly 7mph.  Nice, Dave, real nice.  I hope for your family's sake that you only live 1/2 mile away, otherwise you should really take a bus home on your first day back.     
  So Dave's comment got me thinking about Beady at home and Beady at sea, the contrast between my husband and the Chief Mate.  I'm sure lots of people speculate at one time or another as to how their mate is at work, no pun intended, truly.  Are they nice, well-liked?  How about proficient, are they any good at what they do?  Is he a jerk to work for?  But my biggest inquiry has to be 'What does he do out there, how does he live?'  And that's where this idea of transition comes into play as I've gotten glimpses of the Chief Mate over the years and I just can't tell whether I like him or not. 

Grandmother's watch, rarely worn...
     Like Dave, Beady sets all of our clocks to a 24 hour format which doesn't really bother me as Big Daddy Mitchell did the same and I was in the military for quite a while.  However, my husband makes an elaborate production, each time he comes home, of setting all the clocks to the same exact time, down to the second.  I'm not sure what standard he's using to perform this ritual, but it's quite a ceremony that even involves resetting the car's clock, all the while tsk-tsking me as I was the cretin who let time run haphazardly.  Additionally, I've stopped wearing watches all together as he constantly corrects me when I answer someones inquiry of the time.  "No, that's not right," he says while showing his watch to the questioner and simultaneously shaking his head in disappointment of me.
   Lashing is also a huge event in our household and I've come to dread those moments when we have to move big pieces of furniture from here to there in his father's truck.  I'm not certain where he keeps all of his lashing equipment in our house because when he pulls it all out to begin the job of securing, I'm always amazed at the fact that the amount of material he brings doesn't need its own room for storage.  And forget about going anywhere soon as it takes him a good hour to finish lashing.  Most of the time I just go back in the house and watch TV until he's done even though he inevitably complains that I wasn't out there to help him.  Why would I do that?  The long shoremen, professionals who lash cars and equipment down for him on the ship, don't always make him happy when they're done with the job, how could I even come close to pleasing him?
   And this one's my absolute favorite.  Apparently, on the ship alarms go off all the time and are subsequently addressed.  So Beady is like Pavlov's dog when he hears one off of the ship.  Anywhere we go, if an alarm is sounding at any level, he finds it very difficult to concentrate on what we may be talking about or anything else for that matter.  He becomes obsessed, agitated even with the alarm until someone shuts it off.  But this is the best part of it, at home I often run the dryer at night when we head to bed.  It's got an annoying buzzer that goes off when it's done, which I rarely notice even when I'm asleep.  Not Beady, which is why I love it if I'm awake when it goes off while he's sleeping.  As soon as the buzzer sounds, Beady rolls off the bed into a squatting position, all from a deep sleep, and scans the bedroom with enormous, feral eyes, this goes on for a good 30 seconds.  I usually just watch him (while I'm laughing hysterically) as he orients to time and place.  The first couple of times he did it, I nearly peed the bed, I mean it's like he works for the CIA.   
   Yet, in the laundry list of quirks he brings home with him, there are only about three that really concern me, irritate me, confuse me and they all have to do with traveling.  I'm only going to tell you about one of them today for time's sake, but don't worry, we'll make it a trilogy so you can be assured I'll fill you in on the rest at some point.  Here goes...Beady is an excellent flyer, the one flight attendants wish they had a cabin full of.  Why, you ask?  What makes him so special?  Well, to begin with, when we get to our seats I'm more concerned with sitting down and getting out of the way; I figure, these are our seats, I'll just sit down so everyone else can get by and get situated, we can sort out the details later.  Oh no, not Beady.  If I sit in the wrong seat (his seat), he'll announce to the plane, "You're sitting in my seat," and stare at me until I move, as if I'm a stranger, not his wife.  All the while a long line of passengers glare at me like I'm some sort of airplane criminal trampling on the rights of God-fearing citizens like 'You're Sitting in My Seat' man.  

    Next comes the lecture, and I mean lecture.  Every time, without fail, Beady gets comfortable in his seat and takes out the tri-fold brochure the flight attendants will use to give us all a safety briefing.  He reads it thoroughly, looks throughout the cabin for emergency exits, rows, etc, then assesses the passengers located near and around these exits for strengths and weaknesses.  Then he turns to who he perceives as the biggest weakness on the plane, me, and begins a 5 minute dissertation on emergency procedure which includes how he will get me off of the plane as if I have no arms, legs, or even the will to live.  "I'm just telling you right now, be prepared!  I'll most likely throw you over my shoulder and disembark through the wing exit.  People don't move in an emergency, so I'll make sure you get off alive!"  Sometimes, I think this attitude he has about flying is endearing, other times I want stick my finger up his nose when he's getting to the John Wayne portion of the lecture.  
    I've tried several times in the past, unsuccessfully, to dodge this part of the flight.  I'm already nervous enough as it is about flying and really don't want to have a conversation concerning all of the catastrophic scenarios that could occur while we're 30,000 feet in the air.  I mean, I listen to the flights attendants, honestly I do.  They have a lovely way of speaking about such disasters as if they're a mere nuisance, nothing to worry my pretty little head about, and sometimes they even manage to make these calamities seem inviting.  That's their job, they're really good at it, so I truly feel as if  Beady's 'Air Transportation Inservice' is completely unnecessary and a bit melodramatic for this particular civilian.   
   I'm pretty sure in all of these instances, it's the Chief Mate Beady is channeling , I'm such a lucky girl.  So that person, the one who leaps off of the bed and crouches like a well-trained ninja, or the incarnation of Policy and Procedures Guy seated next to me on every plane I take, is the one I imagine to be working at sea in Beady's absence.  And though he gets on my nerves from time to time, I'm so grateful that he only makes an appearance once in a while at our home as I couldn't imagine full-on Chief Mate, 70 days straight, 24 hours a day.  I think I might coil the garden hose counter-clockwise around his neck and lash him to an incorrectly set grandfather clock if that were the case.   

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