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Location: TUCSON, Arizona, United States

Saturday, October 13, 2007

When Duty Calls

Thursday, October 11, 2007 08:16
USS Cole - 33°54N 031°15W

Rain at sea. Storm clusters are visible to port and starboard when I come onto the bridge wing this morning. Overnight the ship has turned onto 270° at 33°N instead of the 30° planned a few days ago. Now we have about 40° of latitude to traverse, which will bring us off the U.S. coast for the couple of days of drills that will consume Monday and Tuesday next week. When I come in off the quarterdeck after shaving—now that I’ve run out of the pressurized cream I’ve taken to finding a spot on the weatherdecks to use the electric razor—Palmer meets me in the 1 deck p-way and volunteers brightly, “Five days and counting.” It’s pleasant to find her adopting a more comradely demeanor, ever since the impromptu conversation last week about teaching careers. I’m counting the days now, too.

The short makeup session with one of my Intro students yesterday was a pleasant surprise. He’d reflected on the range of philosophers we’ve read to advance his personal thesis about the “principle questions” addressed by philosophy: the problem of death, the question of meaning, and the possibility of an afterlife. I didn’t dissuade or correct him. It was fun to watch him attempting a philosophical exercise of his own. Unfortunately our conversation was cut short by his being called to duty on his station in CWC, command and weapons control.


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