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In the April issue of the Abaconian, the newspaper out of the Abacos in the Bahamas, there was a column that got my attention and my gander up. Seems there was an agreement between the Bahamian government and the Japanese and Chinese governments to use a port in North Abaco for whale hunting. I couldn’t believe what I was reading but there it was on the page. I even looked for a disclaimer at the bottom of the page because it was so bizarre and disturbing. I proceeded to write a scathing column for the Triton condemning this barbaric plan. Surprise, April Fools!
So on their website the paper fessed up that this was an April Fools’ day column. Well, thank goodness for one and two, that whole thing was real for me for a few days. I think if I read it on the April 1, I might have been thinking April Fools but I was reading it on April 10 and not thinking April Fools stuff at all.
Ok, but now I needed a whole new column for this issue. I felt I just had to write about how things are just not as they appear sometimes. If you stop and think about it, I think we all have examples of this throughout our lives. One happened to me last year. I was sitting on a boat docked outside a popular waterfront restaurant. It was a weekend day with lots of boats coming in and out for lunch. As I watched a couple in a little center console come in to dock, I was impressed with the woman’s handling of the lines as she hopped off the boat. I was not so impressed with the guy who never got off his butt to help her as she struggled to keep the boat off the dock.
My little captain/instructor voice chirped into myself about the poor effort of this guy at the wheel. So the woman struggled a bit but she got all the lines secured nicely. Then they pulled out the folded wheelchair from the floor of the boat. This guy, who I was mentally chastising 30 seconds before for his apparent laziness, with great strength and agility, maneuvered his full body weight with his hands and arms over the rail and into his chair on the dock.
Immediately it hit me, things are not always as they appear. A lesson learned for sure. A note to self; watch your judgements of others till all the facts are in.
Here’s another one. I recently had a new neighbor move in next door to me, a lovely retired couple that seemed friendly enough. Then one day I was coming out of the post office and I see my new neighbor driving towards me in the parking lot. I smiled and waved and he just ignored me, kind of gave me a weird look. I started thinking ‘what’s with this guy?’
Did I say or do something to offend him? What’s the problem? He just drove off heading for town. I drove straight home and when I arrived, there’s his car in his driveway. It wasn’t him outside the post office. To top it all off, after I turned him into some grumpy old man in my mind, he comes over to me and a couple days before he saw me trying to inflate a basketball. I couldn’t find the little needle to attach to the pump. He holds out his hand with a new inflate needle. He tells me he was at the hardware store and thought of me, so he picked one up for me. Wow, what a nice gesture and again; things are not always as they appear.
I know this can happen if you’re working on a yacht. Sometimes there are just misunderstandings. We don’t fully communicate so we start making things up in our heads. We don’t have all the info, so we improvise. We are sure someone has a problem with us or someone doesn’t care or has a bad attitude. We are so sure and suddenly we are shown we were so wrong.
It’s a good lesson when our made-up thoughts are proven inaccurate. It is good for us to log those lessons and remind ourselves to hold off on our judgement of people and situations till we have the full story. We save ourselves a lot of useless concerns and possibly salvage relationships that were heading in the wrong direction when things were not as they appeared.
Enjoy the voyage.
Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach. Contact him through www.yachtcrewcoach.com at firstname.lastname@example.org.