I’m not a fan of television. I’m more of a looking-for-the-mouse person. But I do have a soft spot for Justified.

I don’t know if it’s because I grew up with cowboy films and find this modern take on the genre entrancing, or because of the depth and colour of the characters, or because of the way they speak in a wonderfully archaic and convoluted bastardisation of the mother tongue. I’ve netflixed the whole thing more than once, and no doubt will again.

There’s a scene in an early episode where Raylan Gibbons asks “You ever hear the saying ‘Meet an asshole in the morning, you met an asshole. Meet assholes all day, you’re the asshole’?”

I’ve had an asshole-filled day.

It’s a new week with a new schedule. The academy has had some issues to work around this weekend, so where we’d normally (heh, ‘normally’, like I’ve been here more than a week) expect next week’s schedule to be posted on Friday afternoon, it’s just arrived on Sunday morning. What makes this a pain in the arse is that we just found out we have a crew rotation. My crew’s chef for the week is switching boats with another fast-track candidate.

We have weekend duty…erm…officers, I guess? For example, I’m the duty skipper for this week. There are some tasks that I’m responsible for completing to make sure the boat’s ready for the week’s sailing, such as managing the boat’s victualing budget and organising the rota for cooking and cleaning. On Friday at 4pm someone else will become duty skipper, and then they’ll be playing Dad for the boat next week.

Chef and bosun are also rotating roles with weekend responsibilities. The chef role covers making sure we have food for the week, including planning the week’s menu and organising a shopping trip on Sunday (which I’ll then pay for out of the victualing pot) so the boat is ready to cast off 9am Monday morning.

Now, we’ve been lucky so far. Amy has worked as the cook on a boat before, and she actually knows what she’s doing. That’s been great for me; I got to learn how menu planning should be done from another student, and although I think I could have muddled through it myself, it would have been shit in comparison. I’d have us eating pasta for every meal, instead of the avocado toast with lemon and sesame seeds we have lined up for lunch tomorrow.

Here’s where it gets messy. Amy and I are significantly older than the rest of the students. The other 3 are young ‘uns; you could mash 2 of them together and they’d still be younger than me. There are a lot of basic life skills that they just haven’t had time to acquire and practice yet, and unfortunately, those skills make a big difference when you’re trying to be a team in a small boat. Rotate Amy’s skillset out of the boat, bring in another young person, and suddenly it feels like I’m the only grown-up. We’re collectively responsible for the boat. We have a chef-shaped gap in the crew and immediately nobody steps up to fill it.

What I’ve found most frustrating today is the lack of connection between “Something needs to happen”, “Somebody needs to make it happen” and “I’m somebody” on our boat. Our chef is gone. There’s nobody putting food on the boat this week. Somebody needs to do that or we don’t eat. I’m somebody.

So I just ate it in a frustrated / angry / “seriously guys, wtf” way. Amy had already done most of the work, so I took her menu, turned it into a shopping list, inventoried the cupboards and dragged the guys out to Eroski to get the boat provisioned. I’m being both Skipper and Chef, and I’m going to have to run the kitchen this week because I’m the only one who knows how the ingredients we bought fit into the week’s menu.

What makes me the asshole here is that I got frustrated and angry with the crew for not stepping up, and then took it out on them. I got angry with Chris because he wanted to eat something that I had tagged to use in the week’s menu. I got angry with everyone because they don’t clean up after themselves. I got angry with the new guy just because he’s new, dammit, and he’s not Us.

What I should have done was step up and be somebody. Helped the crew learn the skills they haven’t had time to learn yet. And then made sure Chris had something for lunch, and added a replacement for that ingredient to the shopping list. And talk to Thomas and made sure he knows he’s welcome in joining our crew.

And then have a long chat with everyone about how squirting Febreze into the head is not quite the same thing as cleaning it.