Sunday, June 22, 2014

Politics; Union Style

So the horrible event that consumed what was meant to be my first relaxing weekend after a very difficult month turned out not to be so horrible, just dull, villainous, and time consuming. A MD State Assembly candidate, Connie Dejuliis, is apparently important enough to load 20 people on a bus to drive 3 hours to a northern suburb of Baltimore both Saturday and Sunday to put door hangers on people's houses. Pleasant walks through boring neighborhoods in pairs bookended by three hours of music and reading in the back of a bus, plus free pizza. Not what I would have chosen, but far better than scrubbing pots.

When we met the candidate she said, "You all know why you are here, right?" and I suppressed a groan, expecting some pro-worker pro-democracy nonsense. Her actual answer to this rhetorical question was, "Because have been friends with Mike Sacco [the SIU president] for a long time, and I take care of people that take care of me". Having actually seen it, I am not sure I prefer honesty in a politician as much as I thought I did.

In any case, I have returned and officially begun my second month (actually, my second of three four week periods). My uniform has changed from "galley blues", a T-shirt and jeans, to "Prison blues", a button up shirt and jeans. I have gotten the full spectrum of privileges, which basically means my free time is free, so long as I stay on base. I come to you live from my own laptop, which my father sent up, from the little lighthouse park that is the only place with quality internet.

This second month is widely agreed to be the easiest. The main task will be classes on lifeboating, water survival, and firefighting, with practical experience in all three areas. Aside from that, everyone is assigned an indoor and outdoor "detail", common areas we are responsible for keeping clean twice a day (takes about 20 minutes each time). This leaves plenty of time for studying, of which I intend to do basically none of, plus two hours in the library to which I can take this very laptop (and probably do the exact same things I was doing on the much older and slower library desktop).

The port and downtown skyline of Baltimore is very pretty, not because it is very big but because it is all right next to each other at the very end of the Chesapeake. Posting should slow down as life becomes routine and falls closer to a normal existence.

I finally have my schedule sorted for the next few months-- I leave phase 1 in mid-August, but cannot leave the base until I go straight to my ship. If that doesn't take too long, I should get off the phase 2 ship and finally go home somewhere between mid-November and mid-December, meaning I will probably be in Carolina for Christmas. Classes will start up again at the earliest in January, and every eight weeks after if that one is full.

1 comment:

  1. Jeb,
    I love love love following your blog. To me it seems like an excitingly boring adventure! I am proud of you for doing all the work it takes to be a merchant marine. I think the life boat and fire classes sound exciting. I know you will do well. Remember how far we swim out at the beach? I think that will come in handy, or you can just think of me and laugh that you are thinking of me while treading water for long periods of time. Haha!
    Dr. Fonseca's (that I work for) father was a merchant marine based out of Mass. He has enjoyed reading your blog. He is sure that it is massivly different, but he said his dad was brilliant like you, so enjoys reading your piont of view.
    So proud of you!
    Be safe!
    Can't wait to see you around Christmas time!
    Love, Sarah

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