Wednesday, June 19, 2013

A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea

I am an avid reader, if you haven't gathered that from the umpteen number of times I've mentioned finishing a book. Recently, my best friend Rose recommended I read "A Captain's Duty" written by Captain Richard Phillips and thank goodness she did. It's an incredible story and reading his first hand account of being held captive by Somali Pirates is riveting.

A 30 year vet, Captain Phillips was a merchant mariner who had completed multiple trips through the Gulf of Aden, but it wasn't until 2009 that he experienced his first, and last, run in with pirates. I'll be the first to say that I'm very rarely a non-fiction reader. I can do biographies when I know the person or have a fondness for the subject matter, but I had never heard of Captain Phillips or had a love for the sea. But, Rose told me it was amazing and I listened to her, so now I'm telling you to do the same.

The biggest thing I took from this book was that you truly don't know who you are or what you're capable of. Phillips mentions over and over again how he wanted his whole ordeal to be over, even if it meant death. To give up and give in, but at the lowest of those moments, he thought of his family and knew he had to push through it. Not that he could push through it, but that he would regardless.

Throughout the book, the reader is shown how incredibly selfless this man is. He became a merchant mariner to see the world, then through his years and experience, earned the position of Captain. He understood what the title and the pay meant, and did all he could to protect his crew and keep them safe, including sacrificing himself.

Ultimately, A Captain's Duty is a book I couldn't put down. I loved the suspense, wondering how he was going to handle the different situations, and being able to completely visualize what Richard Phillips was experiencing as each hour passed, even though I've never been on a cargo ship like his. I loved that he included what was happening to his family and his wife while he was held captive, what they were experiencing and feeling. But, in my opinion, the best part about this book is how it can resonate with anyone (and I say this as a 25 year old female who has been on one cruise) and leave an impression. Here I am, a week later, still thinking about this book and his experiences and how, though I will most likely never be in a situation that demands me to offer myself to Somali pirates, I hope should I ever have to, I could exhibit half the composure and bravery that this man was forced to exude.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

After revisiting the wonders of Happy Endings: Season One (seriously check it out, even though the show has been cancelled), I was inspired to analyze the two break up styles utilized by everyone, including yours truly and even the writers of that phenomenal show.

If you're reading this, odds are you've been in a relationship or dated someone. And if that's the case, you've experienced what I refer to as The Conversation, or the infamous Petering Out. When it comes to dating, or the end of dating someone, there are only two ways to end things (see above). Obviously The Conversation forces the person to fess up and be honest with the other person, which for some people is great. Petering Out is the road more often traveled when things were kept pretty light and casual, the eventual fading out of the other person's life. The span between calls, hang outs, and texts grows until they finally stop. No potentially awkward conversation or confrontation, just easing out of it.

The question is, which is better?

Obviously, certain situations demand specifics. You say you've been in a relationship for a year? I swear, if you try to Peter Out I will find you and slap you. You better be writing that speech and be prepared to sit down and converse. You've only been on a few dates? Absolutely let that slide; the other will get over it.

But what about that murky in between? It never got that serious but lasted for a bit, you got pretty close. Or what if you run in the same circle of friends? You know you'll see the other person again, so which route do you take? Do you chance petering out even though you're inevitably going to talk again or do you give them the speech and hope it negates any future awkwardness?

In the span of writing this, I've gone back and forth on which I prefer more times than I've used question marks (go back and count them, it's a lot). I'm a fan of The Conversation because, even though it could be uncomfortable (is there ever a situation like this in which it's not?), both parties know that nothing more is going to happen. It's done, kaput, finito. You could also make it quick and rip that band-aid off; "I don't think we should see each other anymore" or the classic "This just isn't going to happen, but you're great!" click. Perhaps the best way to approach the conversation is looking at it from a timeline - avoid awkward face to face rejection and do it on the phone if you've gone out on a handful of dates. Otherwise, it's probably progressed enough that you should do it face to face.

As more time has elapsed, I think Petering Out is what you reserve for the casual encounters that could have amounted to something but one of you, or both of you, aren't wanting to take it there. Or maybe you realize the other person is not your cuppa tea and since it was never that serious, you decide to just let it slowly fall through the cracks. I think I'd save this card for the interactions in the I-met-you-randomly-and-will-never-see-you-after-this category and move on.

Note: I have recently been informed of Ghosting, in which one person simply vanishes from the radar. A few dates in and boom, silence. I think I almost like the idea of Ghosting more than Petering Out, only because, unless a rock is smarter than you, you realize the silence from the person who once responded is due to them not being interested. But if you're going to do that, you might as well have The Conversation and get it over with. Otherwise, it's guaranteed to be awkward the next time you run into each other post-Ghost.