We got about 4" of snow yesterday here at the Afloat Global HQ/Sanatorium for Those Afflicted With Channel Fever. It was absolutely a fine reminder of why I moved to south FL.
I woke up at midnight to find that the young tankerman who is filling in here for Big O had shoveled the entire deck perimeter, the working areas around the crane and main pumps, and also shoveled pathways to our tank tops and ullage ports. Altogether he cleared about an acre's worth of deck.
It really pays to have a 22 year old Marine out here sometimes. I wasn't dreading doing my part, per se, but it's really nice to not have to. I'm very grateful and impressed with the kid's performance. He came here half-trained by an absolutely rotten tankerman, but the kid's sharp as a knife, so I've only had to show him some of the basics- calculating a load, how to blend 2 disparate cargoes to make up a blended load at the correct volume, and the legal issues that we deal with in terms of compliance. He spent a year or two on board my employer's oldest, most rotten tug, since gone to scrap, so he knows marlinespike seamanship and safety already.
All that and he busted his balls while my lazy ass was sleeping.
I wish I were a more patient man, and could train some of these green tankermen, but I'd grow tired of washing the blood off my coveralls and hiding the bodies. It's not just the horror of having to explain cargo handling, but having someone underfoot and constantly needing attention and teaching. I can do that shit for a bit, but an hour or two, and I need to be left the hell alone, and we live at close quarters already here at the HQ, and I get distressed and stressed at spending 90% of my waking hours with a strange man in my personal space. It's supremely stressful for a basically introverted guy like me. I just don't like talking that much and it takes time and effort and a lot of luck to find shipmates with whom one can share a comfortable silence. I think that's part of the affinity that our current permanent crew has. We can talk for hours, or not talk for hours, but when that changes, and one or both of us wants to gab or to be left the hell alone, it's an easy transition- no hard feelings, no discomfort. That kind of rapport is rare and precious.
FWIW, the new tankerman that's on here this week can share a comfortable silence, but it can be strained, with both of us aware of it. He comes from a similar enough background to me that we had good rapport right out of the gate.
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