So, with delays and detentions keeping our job board in a semi-permanent state of "Standing By," there has been time to do some housekeeping here on board my home away from home. I've been painting like a mad bastard, running around like a one-armed paperhanger. I've burned through buckets of red paint, making this tub shiny and pretty again. International Paint's red color matches that of a baboon's ass when it gets faded. Jamie, my co-worker, has been painting the Tighty Whitey, the little teeny tiny bunkhouse/office/galley that we share. The Tighty is actually quite nice inside, so we've embarked on a quest to make the exterior look less like a Pakastani hospice.
Anyhow, as I mentioned in the past few posts, I spent a few weeks recently aboard a more aged barge, and through the magic of $5,000 in paint and pancake makeup, I made that old barge shine like a photoshopped headshot at an escort agency.
With apologies to 'lady gaga' whoever he, or possibly she, or he/she is. You get the idea.
Oh incidentally, the phrase "Ay, caramba!" in portuguese, apparently means "Ow, my eyes!" It's like that phrase was made for this picture.
So, with the extra downtime born of having to wait for a flag-of-convenience tanker that apparently couldn't pass a basic Coast Guard safety inspection, we took advantage and docked at the company's main yard and performed some necessary maintenance, and, in between those jobs, I got out my paintin' kit and went to town.
Yesterday I was working at my usual pace (fast and efficient, courtesy of my days as an Ordinary Seaman), and the VP of this company, one of the largest tug companies in the US, apparently walked by, put two and two together, and figured out that I was the guy who spit-shined the other newly painted barge last tour, and was going at it again on my own barge...
The VP passed word to my port captain that he liked the cut of my jib, and that word was passed to me.
How did I take it? Politely and happily, I accepted the compliment and chatted with my port captain. All the while, though, my inner asshole was working.
I'm no good at taking compliments, I'll say that. I know how to do it, and I try really hard to be gracious about it, and I think I do a good job at being a nice guy, but down deep, I feel like I'm being patronized, especially when I'm not.
So, while some other folks were making a pleasing fuss that I attracted attention to myself courtesy of my Mark-One New England Work Ethic, I had to fight not to shout "Do you know that 10 years ago I was a fucking scientist? This is Paint! I can spread it out fast! Thank You! "
What a jerk I am when my audience is contained between my ears and my hair.
And it's not that I'm a snob, or that I'm pining for a different life... I just want to go home, and I'm a little crazy just now, and I miss my family, and I'm no good at taking complements from people who actually notice that I'm working hard. All the same, it's nice to be noticed for something other than the inability of my pants to stay in the vicinity of my waistline.
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