(Lee-aal-e-dad-jee) is portagee for 'Loyalty'. The value of which I have tried to pass on to my son.
Growing up, I was aware that the Italians in my area had their own values, their Omertas and there cosas
, their things, which required incredible loyalty. The Irish community, we had loyalty, and threats of violence against those who didn't display it, I suppose. I really was pretty protected. I mean. I spent two years drinking at a bar regularly, always putting $10 into the hat at the end of the night to the same song being sung ('A Nation Once Again") without knowing they were sending the money to the IRA. I thought they were paying the band. Christ.
Loyalty, growing up, meant keeping your word when it came to certain things, especially where you were under pressure to rat to save your skin. "Loyalty to the death, Death before disloyalty." That was not a bad lesson to be taught. Mostly it was good to see who ratted.
I had an odd moment a while back, while chatting with my shoreside supervisor. He's since changed jobs, and I haven't had this same talk with my new port captain, but it's coming. Have you ever had one of those moments where the words that come out of your mouth come directly from your heart and completely bypass your brain? I had that happen. Part of my was standing back, nonplussed at the words coming out of my mouth. Oh, it was all true. I had never thought the thoughts that propelled this particular message out into the world, but on hearing it, it was definitely so.
B and I have been partners on the HQ for 7-8 years now. I can't even remember how many. Along the way, he's become something of an older brother/great friend, one of those people who end up defining the particular arc of your life that they share. Thing is, B and I have that magic distinction of being reliable, hardworking and loyal. It was inevitable that the office will eventually split us up. They can have two first-tier tankermen in two different places if they split us up. There are other equally talented guys I work with. But not many. Every now and again, the office folks have to remind us that one day for the good of the company they'll have to split us up.
So, at the last reminder, I surprised myself by objecting to that idea. OK, I try to be a hardass, but down deep I know I don't want to spend my F You money and lose a great job. I kowtow if I can.
But you know, I've had discontent issues lately. Itchy feet, the kind of itchy feet that plagued me in my 20's and made me give up being a biologist in favor of being a lobsterman. I'm bored, is the problem.
So I surprised myself as much as I did my boss when I said that I'd put in my notice on being reassigned. Now, my boss was very cool. He prompted me to move up, encouraged it. I had a great relationship with him. I have no doubt he could have yelled at me if I screwed up, and it'd have been effective. So it surprised both of us when I said what I said. But thing is, it's the truth.
Loyalty, real loyalty, requires a two way street. B has shown that. We have a great working relationship. We're codependent at this point. We've been holding tryouts here on the HQ for a while, ever since we lost Big O, our old second man. We're having a hard time finding a person to work with us who can do the work well, gives a shit about doing a great job, and is also a nice human being to live with. So far, no takers.That might say more about us than it does about the job.
Still, in saying what I said, I cut a line in the sand, even if I happen to think it's a valid one. I really would quit rather than not work with B anymore.
In this day and age, where it's SO easy for oil transfers taking place on the water to go south, someone has to ride the handsome when a job goes bad. I have someone who has my back. No way I'd risk operating without him at this point.