The Captain of Industry


My husband, the Captain of Industry, makes a good cup of tea.    I like that phrase, Captain of Industry, although it isn’t mine, it belongs to my friend Priscilla, but I digress.


My husband was a Captain of Industry until quite recently, and now he clutters up the kitchen – where he is learning how to belong  -  with his caps and his keys and makes very good breakfasts and cups of tea.     He is rather at a loose end since he stopped striding the corridors of power in the corporate world, which he did with huge success, excellence and courage for forty years, and managed to avoid the knives and the coups and still maintain his integrity.    He worked hard to provide our family with the best of everything and he retired with respect and dignity at age 62.


I have noticed that aside from the frenetic activity he is inclined to on his computer and on his boat, the physical demands he places upon himself in the garden and the gym, his community work and the delight we experience in each other and our many travels – there are gaps in the seams of his life.    For example – and understand, and I do not intend to  be picky - here is a man practiced in dealing with the rich and sometimes famous, conducting deals of mega millions, giving orders, travelling up the pointy end, and generally being accustomed to power with its many responsibilities and privileges.


Now there is just me and the dog and no corridors of power and his status has suddenly upended.   Now he is in territory that has been traditionally mine, and he is uncomfortable.   He wants to be the boss here too, and why not, that is whom he has always been – yet he treads carefully, respectful of disrupting routine and my space, wanting to participate and not knowing how.   I am no help at all, as I do not respond well to orders, or even ‘the tone’.    Our dog is next in the chain of command unfortunately, and as we walk along the beach, he orders “Come!” and “Wait” and “Drop that!”    All to no avail; the dog is cheerfully unaffected by his commands, and runs off to find dead fish to eat and regurgitate later and rolls in putrid leftover bait and poop.   I can feel his frustration, and all but hear, does anybody listen to me anymore?   I turn my face to the sea, as I am laughing, not unkindly.   Or am I?


It’s early days yet and we both have a lot to learn about each other after nearly fifty years.   I am happy to be the First Mate and I love him to bits, my Captain of Industry.   


Sandra Groom

February 2012