I tried to write from Juneau today on my one hour off, but found that my keyboard was broken. I couldn't write a thing EXCEPT FOR LIKE THIS. Anyhow, I sneaked into the ship's office and publishing what I can- notes I've taken throughout this week, week 3 at sea.
Today at dinner the assistant engineer unpeeled a mostly raw hardboiled egg and stormed out of the dining room. To date, this is his second storming out of the dining room episode. He’s a big guy with a Mohawk but he’s very sensitive and he takes the terrible food personally.
Dave Horner is back on the ship for a week. Dave is another engineer and they asked him to come back because the ship is in such disrepair. I begged for him to come back because we became close friends instantly in ship yard. He’s got one of the guest rooms, which means two real beds and a window and a space where guaranteed nowhere is going to find me.
I have Dave for a week and whenever I see him on the ship I feel like I’ve won the lottery. Last night I brought mango juice up to his room and he had bought watermelon in town and these little packs of gummy fruit, so we ate fruit till we felt sick and then we sat on the beds- you can’t sit up on the beds in crew quarters so even sitting was exciting- and told stories till 10pm, which is the latest I’ve stayed up on the ship, ever.
Bumbee left yesterday for another ship for six weeks . He walked away in a handsome pea coat, looking just like a sailor. I ran after him on the fantail of the boat, tripped on a taut line and fell across the entire fantail and landed with my body half out of the ship. He used to leave me notes all over the ship, stuffed into my radio and coat pockets. After he left, I found my waterbottle I’d misplaced but found I couldn’t drink out of it. Bumbee had rolled up a note into a plastic back, rolled it up tightly and stuffed it into the straw.
We like to pretend that we have a choice about everything. “This was a good restaurant.” We’ll say after dinner. “Want to meet here tomorrow?”
“You know, that sound great. There are a few other places I’ve been meaning to check out, but I really like this place. Same time?”
In the evening I’ll say to Dave, “Do you want to go out tonight? Maybe grab a drink, see a movie?”
And Dave says, “You know, we’ve just been going out so much lately. What say we just stay in and watch a movie?”
Two days ago I was nearly crying to Bumbee and Scott and told them I was going to quit. And Scott, who is a former police officer who used to train Iraqi police officers in Iraq, talked me down so patiently and gently you would have thought he was a saint.
The crew and their infinite patience! The stewards who make this special effort to bring me things- cookies, food, stuff. They steal it from the kitchen and slip it into my pocket. I’ve grown to love them immensely. When I got to Juneau I went looking for things to give to them. Buy bags of cookies to bring to the stewards when they are polishing silverwear at ten o’clock. You start looking for nice things to do for one another and those things become your sole purpose for being on the ship.
After 12.5 hours on your feet with all these strangers asking me questions I don’t know, by the end I feel like I will burst out into tears at any moment. It doesn’t matter how much I love anybody.