THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS FROM AN AMERICAN Merchant Mariner
Thursday, March 19, 2009
2 fer Un
I don't live at home just now.
Well, duh, I guess. My ass is parked on a 300-odd foot barge awaiting orders, so I guess I'm being obvious...
But, really, no, this picture is pretty, huh? It's about 30 minutes from where The Boy, Inappropriately Hot Foreign Wife and I live. This island idyll isn't actually an island, but rather, is a nice peninsula conveniently located within commuting distance to Boston. It's also where I grew up. In fact, I can pick out my parents' house almost smack dead in the middle of the picture. Here's the rub, and, ultimately, the reason I have been sleeping poorly these past few nights. This place is home. My parents' house, the neighborhood where I grew up. You know, it's such a quiet place that my parents don't even have a key for the house, as far as I know. My folks are aging. They can't keep up the house anymore. My family has sort of imploded recently, which hasn't helped. We've been being fruitful and multiplying, but external factors have gotten in the way. Now, I have had a dream of purchasing my folks' house for a couple of years now, and we've talked about it, but in this economy, and with my career being at a jumping off point where I need to invest some serious down time to advance further, it just hasn't been in the cards. This past week I've been feeling keenly the need to get my ass in gear if I want to get Home any time soon. My internal clock has been chiming incessantly at about 11pm, every night, and it makes my whole head ring whilst I'm trying to rack out. My new job has potential, but I took it with the mindset that as soon as I got bored, I could jump back to my 'regular' career as a tankerman on ships. Truth be told, if I played my cards right, I could advance into an unlimited-tonnage mate's job by Christmas, and some good bank could come my way. Thing is, there's good bank to be made right here, in the next month or so. More than good bank, really. There isn't the prestige of having a job where I don't get dirt under my nails, though. Sometimes, I get tired of being stinky for a living. This job is more rough-and-ready than a ship, but it's also a more independent atmosphere, a place more suited, probably, to my weirdness.
So, the conundrum. At some point, I'll have to decide to tell my regular employer that I'm not coming back, if that's the way I go. I can stay here and make my own way, and make a decent living, and spend at least part of every month with my family in the house and neighborhood I grew up in, or I can go back to my ship, and continue living, when I am at home, in a transition town, where people and commerce are literally camping on my doorstep. I'll never be the captain of a ship here, though, although I'll be a captain well enough, and that should be enough for any man, but is it enough for me?
I am Paul B, and I spend most of my life at sea. Ships, Science, commercial fishing, marine biology and (mostly) true stories of life among the best and the worst people in the world, the United States Merchant Marines. You'll find it here, maybe. You'll definately find rants, raves and discussion on the process of climbing the hawsepipe into an officer's job on a merchant ship.