Monday, September 21, 2009


I like to think I'm a pretty positive person. When it comes down to it, though, I realize I'm a closet cynic. My instinctive reaction to many things is to look for someone to blame when something goes wrong, or wonder when the hammer is going to drop when something is going well.

In some ways, I think this helps me to be good at risk analysis. I'm an eternal worry-wart. I worry about bad things happening...ALL the time. During docking and undocking evolutions, is that line gonna part because the tug is pulling too fast/too hard? During boat launching detail, does everyone have their rings and watches off, so a finger or hand doesn't get ripped off by a running line? During boardings, is the boarding team gonna be able to get the initial safety inspection done before the boat sinks out from underneath them or some fuely water in the bilge flashes off into a fire? Are we following the checklist during a Machinery Space Fire drill to make sure we don't miss something important like a complete muster check before lighting off halon? Are watchstanders getting enough rest so they're sharp on duty or watch and able to respond swiftly and appropriately to an emergency?

I know where the worry-wart part comes grandmother would break out the chicken soup and tissues at the first sneeze or sniffly nose. She was a nurse and she always told my sister and me not to swing too high on the backyard tree swing and not to eat too many sugar snap peas from the garden because we'd ruin our dinner. That one makes me laugh now.

So, I'll keep my worry-wart tendencies.

But I'd like to change my perspective about blame. The world is not out to get me, nor is it made up of incompetent fools who sole job is to waste my time and get in my way. And I don't have all the answers...not even a few of them. The drivers on Ala Wai Blvd don't intentionally take up two parking spaces by not being efficient with pulling up a little closer to the car in front of them, wasting enough spaces to park three Minis over the course of a block. There are bigger things at work with drydocks and contracts and lawyers and budgets than my little pea-brain can fathom from my limited perspective. Believing the worst of a situation should NOT be my default position.

The tab on my Yogi tea earlier on the week said, "An attitude of gratitude brings opportunities." It's my new mantra, "an attitude of gratitude." "Gratitude" is not quite the right sentiment; it's more like humility, awareness, acceptance, but that doesn't rhyme with attitude, so I'll stick with "gratitude. I said it in my head when our plan to refloat got delayed by a couple hours when a fishing boat (a FISHING BOAT!!--'cause they're under such a stringent time schedule...grrrr) bumped us from our original schedule. And it helped. It didn't entirely stop the nasty thoughts about the weinie-sizing competition going on between folks at the shipyard, but it definitely calmed me enough to be rational about considering alternatives. Obviously, I've still got a ways to go with shifting my perspective.

So here's to a better attitude, a brighter outlook, a little more positivity.

I do reserve the right to cuss when I can't find a parking space, though.


Dad said...

In no particular order of what you wrote, Grandma started and had lots of practice on Nancy and me before you guys ever came along - don't swing too high, don't eat too many peas, stop eating all of those cherries (black heart), those green apples will give you a tummy ache (more like a screaming case of the shits), put your shoes on, etc. So when she told those things to you, she had had a lot of practice. At least you didn't have to go out get your own switch like when I squirted Nancy with a water pistol on Easter Sunday in her white starched dress or put worms down her neck just for the heck of it. If the switch wasn't big enough - go back and get one that means something - man O man those privit hedges really stung!

Just a Girl said...

Thanks for the email, Dad. I hope you don't mind that I edited it a little. But the sentiment was heart-feltedly (??) received.

Sassenach said...

I am a hopeful pessimist: Hope for the best; plan for the worst. That way, (most) surprises will be happy ones.