Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Some depart, I remain

Starting to feel less generally oppressed here in Piney Point. I have a routine, with quiet time and sufficient sleep. Still plenty of things to complain about, but honestly I have fallen into a pattern not terribly different from home. I wake up at 6:35, and from 7:15 to 16:30 I am working and learning. After that I have my library job, but honestly I would be in here anyway, since this is the only place that has internet access and air conditioning (though the AC went out this week and the building became heavy and oppressive), so it is basically free time with occasional duties. I hope dearly to get out of this place and into a life with vastly superior routines, but there is tremendous comfort in having been able to become comfortable.

Too bad it goes away next week.

Gave blood for the first time today. I have always avoided it, mostly on the grounds that it would require effort on my part but also thanks to a crippling fear of needles. The Red Cross came to the base today, and I got shamed into it by a fellow who said "I don't like needles either, but I am going to do it and save a life". Said fellow didn't show up, but I sure did, and had a decidedly adverse reaction. I came in with a book (one of the ones my father was kind enough to send up here this week) with the hopes that the book could keep my mind off the pain and anxiety of the needle.

The needle, which is huge, went in with a sharp pain, and stayed in painfully. Then, and very quickly, numbness set in in the arms and legs, and I started drifting into sleep until I got shouted at. My breathing became very labored, requiring substantial effort to draw each breath and I began sweating profusely. When the lady came up and asked if I was ok, I had every intention of saying that I was, but without any input on my part my mouth said that I was not. And then it kept going. I babbled incoherently just to stay awake, which only made me have to breath harder. Throughout the whole thing, there was a damn needle stuck in my arm. The nurse must have gone through seven or eight cold cloths on my head, and I warmed the ice pack she put under my neck noticeably.

Then I finished, and once the numbness subsided enough that I could stand I got some cookies and got better so fast I could scarcely believe it. I had expected, given my fear of needles, that I would act like a huge pussy, but I astounded even myself with my weakness.

Oh well. I expect to have visited enough foreign countries the next time the blood drive rolls around that I won't be eligible to give anymore.

The last month has been filled with departures. The class two classes above me all left on their ships, except for my fellow library monitor. Poor fellow was waiting in uncertainty for almost a month, but he finally got his orders yesterday to ship out today to Seattle for an oil tanker that goes from Alaska to wherever the most profitable terminal on the West Coast is at the time. This is widely agreed to be a good job, and when he walked into night lunch yesterday he was greeted with spontaneous applause.

The other fellow who had been on idle, meaning he had completed three months of bullshit and was ready to ship out, got caught with five others (three men, three women) in a sex scandal that ended with someone having a positive pregnancy test. All six were kicked out, including one of our two laziest people. A win for rules and a win for bad people getting what was coming to them, but a huge loss for the rest of us, stuck in a substantial crackdown on every little thing and massive rule changes that have been coming nearly daily from on high. Being jerked around finally got to me this week and I was driven to write a three page letter to administration, which was resoundingly ignored.

Today was another round of good news and good news. On one hand, the class above us got their shipping orders today. They finish their last exam on Friday and, assuming they pass, are all going to Norwegian Cruise Line's "Pride of America" that sails around Hawaii. This is commonly regarded as the worst of the commonly assigned jobs, but isn't that bad at all. And the will avoid the specter of idle time which eats away at your confidence and the amount of time remaining in your credentials.

On the other hand, the other laziest person in class got kicked out today for a pattern of laziness and incompetence, the last straw being the falsification of his watch records in an attempt to hide the fact that he sleeps through watch. He was an embarrassment to the union and the class, and we are all glad to see him go. And, I took his empty locker after he cleaned it out, so now I have two lockers, one for clothes and one for everything else! Win!

The second round of galley starts Monday, so don't expect too many posts until I get out. It is going to suck substantially more since A) the stupid and arbitrary policy changes mean I am losing my library monitor position this weekend to a third phase student, B) afternoon nap time is being replaced by afternoon class time through which we are most definitely not allowed to sleep and C) the lazy person who left was the other guy who worked in the dishwashing pit, and as unreliable as he was he at least showed up occasionally. Holding down the pit all alone in a galley that has even fewer and more exhausted hands than it did last time is going to be tremendously unpleasant. I am practicing my Zen exercises well in advance this time.

Some people seem to think that this blog is now my personal private bitching chamber, which it absolutely is, but are also laboring under the false impression that the things I write here are secret. There is nothing that appears on these pages that I would not or do not speak aloud to the faces of those involved. Ethics is really hard, and in lieu of a well developed ethical system, I have opted to instead judge my actions based on a shame principle (making sure concurrently that I am keeping tabs of what is and is not appropriate to be ashamed of). Basically, if I wouldn't tell a relevant party about the things I am doing, then those things are not things I should do. Conversely, I refused to be ashamed when I have done nothing wrong.

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