Davy Jones’ Locker

Sometimes, with people, when you call them bad, they act bad.

8:30am. Lu was busy with school. Delph wasn’t up yet. Jack was – but he was working. Lu told me she was hungry for breakfast – and Jack overheard.

‘I’ll make her breakfast,’ he said, ‘let me just finish this email.’

With this, he disappeared into the front cabin. You know when someone has something to do but they pile more work on themselves and then kind of explode when the workload builds? Uh-huh.

Lu asked him again for food when he came back into the saloon a few minutes later. She was in the middle of English class. Had done two Biology classes already.

I could see that Jack was still writing an email. So I said from the handy position of the galley, ‘I can make breakfast if you’re busy.’ He looked busy.

Then Lu said – oh crazy, beautiful girl, something along the lines of, ‘Since you said you would make it, Dad, but you haven’t yet.’

Oh dear. This was the oxygen to Jack’s stressed-out flame. I knew Lu didn’t intend it as criticism per se. More observation. Not necessary to say aloud, but she is still a kid and she hadn’t realised his stress levels were building – until that moment.

Oh you lockdowners. I may (read: would) have balked at telling this tale out loud before. But so many people must be in the same boat right now. Real boat, metaphorical boat. It’s still a boat when the drama begins. You can’t escape – unless you jump ship.

Because my crazy, beautiful daughter got yelled at – and because she got told she was bad, she then acted bad. This is an unfortunate behavioural trait. The brawl began. And because she said mean things, got physical towards her dad and slammed some doors, Jack kept calling her bad. Which made her worse. I don’t know why some people do this. Lu does it. Delph doesn’t. I should probably stick a yet on the end of that sentence, for my own hubris. Delph doesn’t do it – yet. Phew.

So fellow lockdowners, boat dwellers, and people in confined spaces, we also know the worst thing for a productive day is a barney like this. It was supposed to be a Maths day again. Another bunch of homeworks due.

Instead, Lu picked up one of the most precious things on Quest – and in her anger, she tossed it overboard. It was the amber-coloured glass bottle we found in Barbados three years ago. The bottle sits upstairs on the cockpit table – and also acts as an excellent paperweight. Dammit, as I’m writing this, I realise we should have kept it inside. Wouldn’t have happened then.

The bottle went plop and disappeared in the water. I went diving to look for it. Found another larger bottle at almost 40m deep, but not our bottle. Our bottle is inscribed Royal German Spa. Dated to the mid-1800s. From Brighton, England. For an unspecified period of time, our precious find has gone back to Davy Jones’ locker.

At least after that, my kid stopped being bad. And maybe, just maybe the crew of Quest will stop calling each other bad. Because a. They’re not. And b. If you do, then some of them will act like they are.

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