adventure, barbarous coasts, bills, call to the sea, Caribbean, container ships, cruise ships, Customer Service Representative, emails, forbidden seas, Herman Melville, Ishmael, labor, managers, meditation, Moby-Dick, modern world, mystical vibration, passengers, phone calls, romance, sea-captains, shared pain, simple sailors, slaves, universal thump, water, work
Chapter One seems to me especially rich. It serves to pull the reader in with common ideals to Ishmael. Even in today’s modern world of high-tech cruise ships, the call to the sea as a simple sailor plays to one’s heart.
When I’ve cruised in the Caribbean, a most thrilling part to me has been the loss of sight of land. No bills. No phone calls. No emails. It’s as if I might as well be on another planet. On three-masted Windjammer ships, especially, where passengers are able to leave being a passenger behind and participate in the raising and lowering of sails, the call to the sea is complete.
Ishmael calls it “a mystical vibration, when first told that you and your ship [are] now out of sight of land.” He adds, “meditation and water are wedded forever.” I have felt this!
When I labored for a major container ship corporation, in which containers are shipped worldwide by truck, rail and ship, I served as a customer service representative. With emails coming in continuously, phone calls ringing continuously and managers thumping me on the shoulder with urgent requests, no sun set with all the day’s work complete.
Ishmael wisely advises: “Who ain’t a slave? Tell me that . . . however the old sea-captains may order me about—however they may thump and punch me about, I have the satisfaction of knowing that it is all right; that everybody else is one way or other served in much the same way—either in a physical or metaphysical point of view, that is; and so the universal thump is passed round, and all hands should rub each other’s shoulder-blades, and be content.”
When I’ve yearned for a more adventurous and romantic life, I can take to heart Ishmael’s shared pain: “I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote. I love to sail forbidden seas, and land on barbarous coasts.”
After reading the first chapter of Moby-Dick, I am in for the full journey!