Working in a profession that requires your full attention day after day and year after year easily leads to the death of spontaneity. This occurred to me today, when my husband (on his one summer vacation day thus far) decided we should visit one of the U.S. Navy ships that are in town this week. This wasn’t my first choice of fun things to do, but what I appreciated was that it represented something unplanned, and everything I have done, even during my first month of freedom, has been planned. This was not on my calendar. What a concept!
The visit turned out to be quite enjoyable. We toured a transport ship, the USS Green Bay. The most engaging aspects of our shipboard wanderings were not the funky smells, the narrow walkways or hundreds of metal compartments everywhere holding who knows what. Although I admit, the tiny sleeping spaces and the hospital and ICU areas were pretty interesting. But the best part was talking to the sailors and marines on board. We met an African American respiratory therapy tech., a Latino go-to guy who worked on the flight deck and was trained to fight fires there, and a 19-20ish-looking female navigator, who gets to work on the bridge with her maps and GPS, as well as a modern version of an ancient navigation tool — the sextant — should the GPS fail. We also talked to a marine who was responsible for repairing engines in the helicopters on the flight deck. Everyone we met was a superb spokesperson for the Navy. (Yeah, I know they got the order to be the most welcoming, charming hosts they could be, but still…) As we left, we noticed a willowy brunette with a holster on her hip, who looked like she could have chosen modeling over the military, and who was in the role of approving arrivals and departures of personnel from the ship.
I left thinking that our military was in good hands.
I think I’ll try to do something unplanned next week, too. But wait, while I’m thinking of it, I’d better get it on my calendar, while there are still a few open spots.