Tempest-tossed

Years ago I saw an episode of Deadliest Catch in which the Time Bandit was passing another vessel through rough seas. Captain Johnathan Hillstrand happened to be looking when one of the men from the other ship was washed overboard. The Bering Sea is brutally cold and violent, and once overboard, one only has a few moments to live in the best conditions.

Captain Hillstrand leaped into action, and with several passes, steered his ship over to the drowning man. With great difficulty the crew managed to get a line out to him and pull him onto their ship. They didn’t know him, or the other ship, but they knew what it was to be on the unforgiving sea, and they moved without hesitation. With the man safely on board, Captain Hillstrand rushed below deck. They embraced, and both wept freely.

Today in a parking lot outside a mid-priced Mexican restaurant I saw a man drop his iPhone face down. I stepped away from my party and toward him, and said, “Did it crack?” “No,” he said, “not a scratch.” We didn’t know each other, but we knew what it was to drop a phone and hope it hadn’t cracked. We embraced, and wept freely.