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Luckily, This Lieutenant Dan Has Legs

, , , , , , | Working | September 1, 2021

I’m in the Royal Canadian Navy. There is a young officer in my unit whom we shall call Lt. Dan. I’m a senior NCO, Petty Officer First Class — for American readers, this is NATO OR-7, not OR-6). I don’t work for Lt. Dan directly, but we cross paths pretty regularly during the day, so we know each other to talk to. He’s a bit on the loud and brash side, but I’ve certainly worked for and with worse.

Lt. Dan’s car is in the shop being worked on, and on Friday, he gets a call around stand-easy saying it’s ready, so out in the smoker, he asks me if I can give him a lift. I don’t have a problem with that since it’s more or less on the way home for me anyway. Traffic is always heavy when the dockyard lets out and even worse on Fridays, and I’m stuck behind someone who wants to turn left across a stream of oncoming traffic. This is when the fun starts.

Lt. Dan: “F*** me, what’s his a**hole’s problem? Give him a honk; get his a** moving.”

Me: “Gotta wait for a break in traffic.”

Lt. Dan: “Well, pull around him, then!”

There’s a bike lane but it’s certainly not car-wide. Besides… it’s a bike lane. With people riding bikes in it.

Me: “No can do, sir.”

Left-turn man gets his break in the traffic, and we move on.

Next, it’s the stop-and-go coming up to the bridge ramp, and Lt. Dan is unhappy because traffic is merging and that means taking turns. He thinks that I should just push through and not let anyone in. On the bridge, every other driver annoys him in some manner, including someone who signals and then changes lanes. I’m getting annoyed with Lt. Dan, and once we clear the toll booth on the far side, I pull over.

Me: “Get out, sir.”

Lt. Dan: “What? Why?”

Me: “You’ve done nothing but b**** about my driving and other drivers and I’ve had enough. We’re about three klicks from the shop; you can walk or take a taxi.”

Lt. Dan: “You can’t just kick me out here; that’s illegal!”

Me: “That’s bull, sir. I’m not a taxi service; I can kick you where I feel like it. I was ready to kick you out in the middle of the bridge, but that would’ve been illegal.”

Lt. Dan: “You want to be charged for insubordination?”

Me: “Not particularly, sir, but you do you. Meanwhile, are you getting out or do I get one of the bridge police to come over?”

He got out with very bad grace and further threats of disciplinary action. I left him there to make his way to his car and thought no more of it.

It turned out that he really was daft enough to pursue it, as I got called into the coxswain’s office on Monday. (For US readers, the coxswain of a Canadian ship is the most senior NCO onboard — what you would call the Command Master Chief.)

The coxswain was already dubious about the story as presented by Lt. Dan, and my side of things pretty much cemented the matter being dropped. Needless to say, Lt. Dan does not get rides from senior NCOs at this unit any longer. The lesson here is to never piss off the chiefs and POs.