For he’s the captain of the night Seabus

And a right good captain too.

The captain of the Seabus leaving Lonsdale Quay at midnight on Friday night (as it turned into Saturday morning) and other Translink staff on duty were in no mood to take any nonsense from passengers that evening.

It was all jolly good entertainment. Picture the scene as it unfolded before me, as I describe it as best I can:

The midnight Seabus from Lonsdale Quay is the second last Seabus to leave North Vancouver for the night. There aren’t many passengers at this time. We all board within seconds and settle in. The Seabus remains at the dock for a few minutes more, waiting for its scheduled leaving time.

One passenger decides on his own way to spend those few minutes of idle time before the Seabus closes its doors and takes off. The man (whose face is very flushed) loiters on the gangplank connecting the terminal building with the Seabus and smokes a cigarette.

A Seabus crew member emerges from the crew rooms in the centre of the Seabus and walks to the doorway. There’s no beating round the bush from the crew member in telling Smoking Man to stop, no diplomocy, no forced mildness of Sir, smoking is not allowed here. Right off the bat, it’s a sharp HEY! No smoking! Put it out!

Perhaps cowed by the directness of the discipline, Smoking Man doesn’t attempt to justify his action and immediately throws away his cigarette and begins to apologize. Crew Member isn’t interested and orders Smoking Man Just sit down! When Smoking Man is slow to comply, lingering on the gangplank still saying his sorries, the order becomes even more direct, as if to a pet: Sit down! SIT!

Smoking Man is at least smart enough to do so immediately.

Now it gets even better.

How stupid do you have to be to misbehave after that exchange happens right in front of you?

This isn’t a rhetorical question.

(It wasn’t Smoking Man. Smoking Man falls out of the story after he sat down and kept quiet. Smart move. Good for him.)

There are three young men who literally have front row seats to the whole show; they happen to be sitting right by the door where it all happened. With Crew Member still standing there, one of them pulls out the lifejacket from under his seat and put in on around his neck.

Crew Member turns from Smoking Man to return to his station and spots Lifejacket Guy immediately.

Take that off! Put it back! NOW!

Before Lifejacket Guy can do so, it’s too late for him. The captain has popped his head out of his cabin to see what all the commotion is about and is distinctly Not Pleased.

Get them off the Seabus! I want them off the Seabus!

And disappears back into the cabin.

Now, not surprisingly, Lifejacket Guy and his two friends aren’t as willing to get off the Seabus as Smoking Man was to come in and sit down. They begin apologizing and pleading with Crew Member to be allowed to stay on. Crew Member has the luxury of having authority on his side.

You heard the captain. You have to get off now.

They apologize, bargain, plead, beg, but all their appeals are in vain.

It’s no longer my call; the captain wants you off the Seabus. No, I’m not going to call the captain out again; he’s already made his decision.

When Lifejacket Guy and his friends remain intransigent, Crew Member starts speaking into his radio.

Half a minute later, more Translink staff, including Transit Cop, stride onto the Seabus and gather around the threesome, who, surrounded and outnumbered, finally stand up and walk off the Seabus back into the terminal. One of them makes as if to take a swing at the Translink staff, and is told in no uncertain terms that that would be a Very Bad Idea.

The Seabus immediately shuts its doors and pulls away from the dock (a few minutes late) and the after party in the terminal, if any, disappears from my view.

The End.

The moral of the story? Well, I guess there are several:

  1. No (Smoking) means no (smoking).
  2. If you get yourself in trouble, shutting up and obeying orders is often a good strategy to avoid making things worse for yourself.
  3. A lifejacket is not a toy.

And perhaps more importantly,

  1. Don’t misbehave right in front of an authority figure immediately after he or she has just put the smackdown on someone else.
  2. Don’t annoy the captain of a vessel. It’s never going to come out good for you.

And that’s the story of my Seabus entertainment late Friday night/early Saturday morning.

Then give three cheers and one cheer more / For the hardy Captain at the Seabus door.

3 Comments so far

  1. Ryan Cousineau (unregistered) on August 1st, 2006 @ 8:38 am

    This is not only a shoo-in for the Best of The Month, this may be my favourite post on the metblog ever.

    It has it all: a funny story, about three Overheard-in-Vancouver-worthy quotes, important life lessons, Gilbert and Sullivan, and original filk lyrics.

    I run a tight ship and that never ever slips,
    From Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay,
    Though smoking then and now,
    I occasion’ly allow,
    I never take guff from three!
    -What, never?
    No never!
    -What, never?
    Hardly ever!
    Then give three cheers and one cheer more for the hardy captain at the Seabus door!

  2. Rebecca (unregistered) on August 1st, 2006 @ 11:07 pm

    I’m truly enjoying your posts Keith :)

    …And the whole HMS Pinafore thing reminds me of the Simpsons where they’re living on Terror Lake in the house boat and Bart requests Sideshow Bob recite the entire score… yeah… :p

  3. Jonathon Narvey (unregistered) on August 2nd, 2006 @ 10:21 pm

    Great story.

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