Questioning Rule Guidelines

After dragging myself to the gym and performing my fitness ritual alone once again, I started to wonder about Shawn. Something was fishy and it wasn’t the smoked salmon. The word was that he was sick. Sick enough to quarantine him for days?

Overnight, they introduced hand disinfectant stations all over the ship. We were not just encouraged but it was demanded that we use them. Then a small army of cleaners with facemasks and gloves came through to deep clean of the facilities.

The gym was pretty dead as they provided no replacement so there were no classes or even a staff presence. Already a couple people had been hurt falling off machines and such. We thought it was irresponsible to just yank someone and not provide a substitute. A few of us gabbed between sets speculating what had happened to our beloved trainer from Australia. He has a lot of charisma and is big heart shines through his gruff commands to “work harder!” There was clearly something missing and it wasn’t just the music.

I admit, it was trying to get myself to go workout when there wasn’t anyone else to be accountable to. Over the next few days, people frequented the gym less and less. The few diehards left finally conspired to get to the bottom of the mystery of the missing fitness dude.

I made it my mission to do some serious detective work. Everyone loves a good mystery, if not scandal. After talking to many crew and passengers, I had narrowed it down to three possible theories.

1. Shawn has the Swine Flu. It just so happened that the Royal Caribbean issued a public warning to all passengers the morning Shawn went missing. The looming health crisis blasting all over the news and on notices all over the ship was putting a lot of people in fear mode. If anyone would contract it, it would be someone who would have had close physical contact with an infected. Someone like a fitness instructor.

2. Shawn burnt out and was taking time off. He had been conducting more than five classes a day and he was privately training the crew too. We all noticed he had developed a bit of a cough and was losing his voice. This was the story most crew recited when asked and seemed most likely.

3. Shawn got fired. There was a rumor that someone had seen him being escorted off the ship. If this is the case, it would lead into a whole world of new questions. Because it all happened so suddenly and those who should know seemed to be uncomfortable with any questioning, this seemed like a viable option.

Finally, one of the dancers spilled the beans and told me that the talented yet stubborn young Shawn had been forced to “resign”. He had in fact been escorted off the ship back in Spain as per Steiner‘s policy. Apparently, he had been pushing the boundaries for some time and some small protocol mishap had broken the camels back.

Working on a cruise ship seems not to be for everyone. I toyed with the idea for a while but the strict regimented routine would probably kill me. Surely it would stifle my creative growth. It seems there is not a lot of room to move, literally and figuratively. Why would I live in a self-imposed zoo?

There are those personality types that have trouble conforming and make it habit to question things. I was brought up to be one of those people. I have learned that things are not always as they seem. It feels strange for me to “fit in” as I never have. I used to contest authority as a habit but being in a constant state of struggle is exhausting. These days I choose my battles.

Sometimes, my natural instinct contradicts the norm or what is expected. I had a nightmare once that I was close to death and one moment revealed the nature of all my regrets. It was the worst feeling to think I had lived my whole life according to someone else‘s guidebook. I don’t think I could live with myself if I went against my gut and just followed blindly.

Still, there are some laws that make sense but then there are many that are outdated or just plain ridiculous. If there was a red light in the middle of nowhere and yours was the only car in sight, would you stop?

I guess there are three kinds of people in this world. Those who obey. Those who use their brains. And those who stop briefly until they realize how silly it is. Once they get past the initial fear of being “caught”, they creep through the light and spend the next five minutes questioning their morals.

Although I am never glad to hear of another’s misfortune, sometimes I can see its for the best. I was glad to hear that Shawn had left the ship. He has the type of character that will inspire many and his gift seems wasted in such a limited environment. The whole situation struck a uncomfortably familiar chord with me and I remember occurrences from my life in which I could relate. I suppose these examples are good motivation for me to make sure that I never fall back into that default pattern again.

Grateful for defying programming.

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