Thursday, June 11, 2015

"I know everything! I am everything!"

 I really fucked with my dispatcher today.

    I'm getting moved around more than a pedophile priest in Boston circa 1990.

 (Too soon? Fuck off, I was an alterboy in Boston in the 80's. I have seen. some. shit. man.

 Actually, no, I didn't. My church growing up never had a predator pass through. Dodged a bullet).

But, yeah, I'm the Harbor Whore this month.

 Last week I was on the Career Killer. Other guy on there was cool as hell, and we got along great, but it was... not fun at all to work.

   This week I'm on the Mighty 31, the less-than-grand-dame of our bunker fleet. Old-school boom-and-stay rig, shorter and beamier than our usual bunker barges, plus it's got a trunk deck, which means that tying up is done on a 3-foot wide deck that runs around the perimeter of the barge, so you pretty much live in constant fear of going swimming when handling lines. But she's old, and has two old-school Detroit Diesels for pump engines, which means that it's the most reliable thing on the water in New York, but the engines are so loud that you can hear them start from far off... like in the future, maybe. You can probably hear me light them off if you poke your head out the window, if you're anywhere in the northeast.

   Detroit Diesel engines are pretty much the apex of 20th-century engineering, and the 671/871 style is half a century old, and there has never been a more reliable engine built. I know a guy in Boston whose boat sunk, got raised up the next day, and he washed out the engine with a garden hose, opened it up and fogged it with WD40, filled up the crankcase and fired it right off. Last I heard, it hadn't been rebuilt in at least 50,000 hours of running since the sinking.
   Detroits throw a little oil, though, I'll say that. You draw a picture of one, next day there'll be a puddle of 15w40 under the picture.

  So, the barge du jour is almost identical to the Career Killer, but a little more intelligently built, as it was built by my employers, who do know a thing or two about buying nice things, or did, anyhow, until the US Government's interference in the past few years have made newly constructed vessels less safe and harder to operate. But this barge is old-school, a generation before the pinnacle of combined safety/reliability/ergonomics that is the millenium-era built vessels like my own beloved HQ.

    Now, my company's New York bunker dispatcher is a liaison between the oil companies and vessel staff like me. He's the guy who hands out work, yet despite this I like him.
   I've answered the phone on three different vessels in the past week. So I see his number pop up in the caller ID yesterday when the phone rings.  I rattle off a greeting, and hear a pause. I know EXACTLY what's happening. Guy's looking at his phone trying to figure out who he called, because I answer the phone no matter where and who he's been calling this week, pretty much.

 I wait the two seconds for him to figure out that I'm whoring around again, and then get a 'Jesus, you're everywhere?"

 "My ass is International."

 Gotta get some laughs where I can. 5 more days and I return to the HQ, and the familiarity there, and 4 weeks later, I can go home.


1 comment:

jon spencer said...

There is a reason that they call them "Screaming Jimmy's".