Bridge

On the bridge of his cruise ship, the Captain glances out the windows. The ship is leaving port and part of departure protocol is to examine the hull to ensure the dock didn’t damage the ship. He grabs the bridge of his glasses to remove them and raises his pair of binoculars  and peers through them.

The first thing he sees through the lenses are a few old ladies playing Bridge on the deck. He shifts his gaze outward and examines the hull. He commands the Yeoman-Purser to record that he observed no damage to the ship from the dock.

The Captain lowers the binoculars and rubs the bridge of his nose to help alleviate the eye strain. He replaces them to sweep the area in front of his ship. He carefully examines a bridge his ship must sail under. He’d normally be looking for any sign of corrosion that could cause debris to fall as they pass. This time, he’s looking for something far more sinister… Protesters.

He recalled the last cruise and how one of his wealthier passengers had an accident while eating. Her bridges came loose while eating a jawbreaker and the dentures went down her windpipe. She had to be rushed to a local hospital to extract the foreign object from her esophagus.

The Captain had to bridge the conversation between the cruise-line’s legal department and the passenger’s family. He apologized for the inconvenience, but the ship cannot remain at the port while she recovers. They need to decide if all or part of the family will remain at port. The cruise line would be happy to assist them with finding lodging and passage back home.

Once they reached their destination, the bridge crew was surprised to see reporters and protesters were picketing the entrance to the port’s embarkation building. Apparently, the family was furious their vacation was ruined and posted on every social media platform about how the cruise line is marooning them in a foreign country.

After completing extra paperwork…

After performing the usual cruise checklists…

After conducting several interviews and pep-up meetings…

After 3 days at port, his ship is embarking on a new cruise.

The Captain snaps back to reality, and returns to the bridge of his ship. He feels a rush of shame for that brief distraction, and lowers the binoculars only to see the First Officer looking at him with concern. He was examining the bridge for the same hazard.

A knowing glance bridges their understanding of the situation. Speaking in unison, they both bark at the Communications Officer. They smile at each other and the Captain continues with his order to hail the port authority for confirmation that the bridge is clear of pedestrian traffic.

They stand on the bridge of the ship as it sails closer and closer to the bridge. The captain rubs the bridge of his nose before putting his glasses back on again. He’s about to order the engines to stop when the Port Authority radios back to guarantee the bridge is clear and being patrolled by local police.

The Captain tells the helms-woman, “steady as she goes.”

A relieved smile warms her face as she removes her hand from the lever controlling the ships speed. As she acknowledges his command, he walks to the front of the bridge and gazes out a window. The Captain looks down and sees his new passengers queue up to reenact the iconic “Titanic scene” at the bow of his ship.

He never tires of seeing this, and the innocent display refreshes him.

Smiling, he turns away and gazes at his bridge crew. He can see that all are glad to be leaving the last cruise behind. They are starting a new journey with fresh passengers who’re eager to be wowed at the ship’s exemplary service.

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