So we had a cargo fixed for tomorrow, but it got pushed back a few days. There's a lot of tank vessels anchored up around NY harbor, including us and now, some friends who have rafted up alongside us.
Big Chocolate and Co. are lashed to our port side, and while he has several cargoes fixed for the next few days, tonight we get to hang out. It's been... a long time since this happened.
Back in the primitive past, say, prior to 5 years ago. It was normal for us to have long stretches of time (3-4 days) between cargoes. That was just how things were. As a result, there was a lot of social activity between tugs and barges that were in the same vicinity. I've had dinner or fed Big Chocolate perhaps 40-50 times in the 11 years I've known him. We're friends, part of a core group of tankerman within our company that can trust and lean on others knowing they're going to be there.
In the last 5 years, I've maybe sat down at the table with Big Chocolate perhaps 4 times. Once a year at best. The breakneck, inhospitable pace that is our normal now doesn't leave time for socialization, and we are far more poor for it.
But that's a gripe for another time. For now, tonight we can visit. While all of us want there to be more ship traffic moving in and out of NY, for the job security, at the least we can spend time with friends while the world goes through puberty or whatever.
Shame he went vegan and I'm on a diet, but at least we can catch up. I almost feel like a mariner again, and not a gas station attendant.