I never really worked in a harbor before this job – I always towed barges on the ocean and along the coast, which I loved. What I’ve found in the close-quarters setting of a small fleet of boats with not enough distance to go and not enough to do is that people get bored and when they do, their chief source of entertainment is each other. I’ve never seen sailors chew on such vicious gossip before in my life.
It gets back to me now and then that some people like to say, among other things, that I have only come this far because of my father. I find this so hilarious because it’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. First of all, if my father had had his way, I never would have set foot on a tugboat. I’d be working a fancy desk job on Montgomery Street in the city and sleeping in bed at home every night. He tried to talk me out of my dream because he knew that this career can wreak havoc on your heart and mind and personal life. But once he saw I was determined, he supported me (quite gallant of him) and continues to do so. However, he’ll be the first to say he’s far removed from the waterfront now and his need to maintain contacts in the industry became moot a long, long time ago. What I’ve accomplished in the last six years has everything to do with my own grit and the good people who have taught me and given me opportunities. In a way, yes, he is an inspiration to me and I might have chosen to take this path in an attempt to immortalize him for myself, because I love him very much and his legacy is a treasure to me and to my family. But the contacts I used to snag a job had nothing to do with dad.
I’ve learned a valuable lesson from all this, which is not to get angry about the rumors that eventually creep their way into your ear through the maritime rumor grapevine. If you spend your energy worrying about what people are saying, you’ll have nothing left to devote to your work and your own happiness. What you need to remember is that the ones who say bad things about you usually don’t actually know you at all, and if they never give you a chance then they will never know you or what’s really going on in your life. They’ll never know what you’ve been through to get to where you are today, because they don’t want to know. All they want is to make themselves feel better by putting you down, and that doesn’t affect you; it only affects them. What they say about you is not reality. You need to love yourself enough to remember that their negative thoughts do not touch your life.
If you’re reading this, and if you read this then you’ll know who you are, go ahead and have fun talking about me. The things you tell yourselves are not actually the truth. I’m done caring what you think.