It took less than thirty-six hours for a new layer of stupid policy to me laid upon the Submersible Death Trap. As of last night, portable music devices are no longer permitted to be worn at meals. I find this most unwelcome, as I prefer the stylings from my iPod to any sound naturally emanating from crew's mess. But worse than the new rule is its purported justification: to force increased socializing among the crew, to attempt to reverse certain recent personnel trends. You can't force people to talk to one another, outside of that interaction required in the performance of our duties. Taking away a source of personal joy to entice me to engage in entirely undesired conversation only raises the anger level. Some have had the audacity to challenge the logic of this new regulation. Often, the response has been, "are you anti-social?" Such hostility only confirms that the rule is ill-devised. As for me, if I were so asked, I'd have to respond that the record speaks for itself.
Such sentiments are not confined to yours truly; several others are of similar opinion. In particular, BilgeMonkey and BigRed have taken it upon themselves to impose and try to enforce silent meal hours, so as to give the long board selected, peer initiated khaki line the exact opposite of what it desires. As always, don't push the nukes, because they can and will push back. I fully support this endeavor, and if necessary, will chime in with my own justification: "The meal hour is a time of repose, a time to reflect on our duties as we refuel and recharge. Please leave me to reflect in silence."