As I mentioned in my last post, I spent a week filling in for an absent barge captain in the middle of last month. My surroundings weren't bad at all, just... different; suffice to say I was very happy to return home.
Now, my wife would take exception to me calling my current whereabouts Home, but in many ways, it is- my true home is some 200+ miles north of where my ass is planted at the moment; that is my home o' the heart, as Patrick O'Brien would call it. Here, aboard, however, this place is my home too.
The day after I came back here, I was offered a captain's slot aboard my company's newest barge- a comfortable beauty less than 6 months old; the Cadillac of my employer's fleet of manned barges, and crewed by some thoroughly great guys. With only 2 seconds' hesitation, I said no. This place is home.
There's a world of difference in accommodations between a ship and a barge; a barge is a 5-star dorm room, at best. My barge's accommodations are nothing extraordinary. However, they're comfortable and comforting; a small crew and the ability to handpick permanent crew makes for good living. Living with like-minded guys for a month at a time, it's possible to keep clean carpets so that one can wear socks in the galley and hang a sweatshirt on the back of a chair, but the level of cleanliness doesn't dip below par; I could have my mother over for dinner without shame.
I make no bones about it, however. For the majority of my time, this place is home- not my ideal home, and there's a distinct absence of beautiful and sweet-smelling wives with enchanting foreign accents, but I spent 66%+ of my time here. Spartan conditions would be a disservice, as would a sterile, undecorated environment. As sailors, as men, we often accept less-than-ideal when it comes to accommodations. A 'Wal-Mart' mentality, as Deep Water Writing puts it. When there's an option, however, why not make one's home-away-from-home a place of comfort? Too many men don't bother, I guess, preferring to live out of their seabag when there's a perfectly good wardrobe in the bunkroom. There's a whole treatise could be written on why sailors choose to live with no comforts, even when the comforts are freely available.
There’s some twisted people out there. Thank God.
11 minutes ago