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119

119  My first day at the reins

And so begins my slow decent into madness.  When I first signed on board the good ship Mercury, I was billeted (so to speak) in passenger quarters and they were sparse, but nice.  Now I am in the crew quarters and that is another story.  Here is the thing.  I have it really good.  I have a room to myself, I have a porthole, so some measure of natural light comes in, I have a bed that is slightly larger than the twin beds that are bunked up in most of the rooms.  So when I want to complain I have to think that there are guys 4 to a room sharing a bathroom that makes port-o-lets look roomy on deck 2, which is fucking underwater.  I’m not so sure that wouldn’t freak me out, I’m close to the water, my porthole is 8-10 feet above the waterline, but when we are in heavy weather, the sea lapps at my window.

So given how much I have and how good my quarters are by comparison….. let me describe them not with the intention of bitching about them, but just to describe what they are like.

Bed:  slightly larger than twin, but that is because someone sewed on extra mattress along the long side to widen it.  There is a foot’s length of mattress that flaps up and down on the somewhat jury rigged bed frame, rigged to extend it out to support the addition to the mattress.  Don’t get me wrong it is fine, big enough and I slept well my first night.

Closets:  closet is a generous term for where I put my clothes.  It is a, let’s say inexpensive, shell that has been screwed to the wall, which is the back of the closet. It is about as big as a gun safe. The edges of the closet have been taped to the wall for a reason I cannot understand.  They used that off yellow masking tape and judging by how dry  and not sticky it is, I am guessing it has been there for a while.

TV:  My 13” macbook has a bigger screen and the TV remote doesn’t work.

Fridge:  YES!! my room has a dorm fridge….. that doesn’t work.

Desk:  Same kind of thrifty tin as the closet, I suspect that without being screwed into the wall, it would fold into a heap if you look at it funny.

Bathroom:  When you open the door, there is a soupcon of sewer gas and if you leave the door open the gas tends to somewhat color the whole room.  It has all the charm of East German public housing.  The roll of toilet paper is located in a place that, from a seated position, requires yoga to reach.  The shower is about…. imagine a floor that is about a meter square, but with one corner lopped off.  But I can’t decide if the best part of the shower is that the liner for the shower pan has a hole in it and is puffy with old soapy water that squirts on you when you step in it or the fact that it takes about 5 minutes to get any water that you might consider warm enough to shower in.

I do have a very good reading light.

Now…. understand, that I have it good and you get a pretty good picture of ship life.

I’ve got mail.  Jenny sent me a care package.  You send care packages to a shoreside service center and then when the ship docks, they bring the mail onboard and sort it to get it out to the 900 crew members, except that the person who does that is sick and has been declared unfit for duty.  So the package that I have been looking forward to, I get to look forward to for another couple of days.  It is like if at the last minute you told your kid that Santa got sick and so Christmas is going to be on the 27th this year, maybe the 28th.

We have a USPH inspection in port tomorrow, which is some public health arm of the US government that I have never heard of and they come on ships to make sure everything is going according to plan, you know, public health wise.  This ship had a norwalk virus outbreak earlier this year, the crew calls it GI and it is treated like some kind of monster lurking in the bilge.  There is an automated Purell stand about every few feet and when you come back onboard, there are two crewmen standing there with half gallon squirt bottles of Purell, offering you a squirt.  They take GI very seriously on this boat.

All in all it was a pretty frustrating day for a first day on my own.  But I know it will get better.

The good news is, I can get crew internet in my new cabin, the bad news is that I have to prop open the door.

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October 31, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

5 Comments »

  1. While it doesn’t sound ideal by any means, I appreciate your humor about the situation. You can either laugh or cry, right? Hang in there sweetie.

    Comment by Jenny | October 31, 2010 | Reply

    • there is lots of laughing. Like the fact that I got choosen for “port manning” on our Key West day. The day I had choosen for a day off. I must stay on the boat, in case it sinks…. in port or catches on fire so I can guide passengers to their muster stations. Guess my day off is Miami now. Oh well.

      Comment by davidsjones | October 31, 2010 | Reply

  2. Pretend it’s camping? Maybe your numbered entries are for a reason after all.

    Comment by Mom | October 31, 2010 | Reply

    • yes, there is a reason. But I know how these things go. It will get better, humans are very adaptable.

      Comment by davidsjones | October 31, 2010 | Reply

  3. Just when I was starting to envy you…

    Now, how about some acupuncture stories?

    Comment by Susan K. Morrow | October 31, 2010 | Reply


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