Friday, February 19, 2021

Glorious Watch Off (The Angry-Sounding Foreigner Edition)

 Well, I set a new personal record for the highest number of ships visited in a 14-day period at 14 ships. Yesterday marked the end of the marathon work session. We pulled into the regional company HQ at 8pm, (but I was already in bed) to stand by until the next load was scheduled. 

 So, when we are between jobs, we will either go to anchor, go to a mooring buoy (a permanent anchor tethered to a floating steel buoy to which one attaches a line and hangs off of, and then other barges go alongside the moored barge and lash themselves to it), or a lay berth (a pier with places to tie up to it, basically). Many lay berths have no shore access for anyone tied up there, but three of ours do allow it. As such, they are in demand, as they are places where people and spares and supplies can be moved back and forth. 

   Well, we got the equivalent of seats behind home plate, as we're alongside my company's regional HQ here in NY. 

    Now, the weather... is awful. Still.  We got a bunch of snow yesterday, and then freezing rain part of the night, and then more snow today. So not much us happening. I got to the local grocery store at 7am to stock up for the rest of this trip, as halfway day for me was earlier this week. So I'm in a good position. And since we had a couple of hours free the other day and I was feeling energetic, I got caught up to date with recordkeeping already. So, today, after stowing my grub and flinging some salt about on deck, I am free. First time since I got here several weeks ago, I'm free AND I have shore access. 

 Well, screw going out, it's awful out there. I'm staying in. 

       When we need food, we have the option of using a company-paid car service to get us to get food. I know most of the drivers, who tend to be Egyptian or Algerian. Today's driver I didn't really know, although I have seen him once or twice. He was listening to (I think) an imam who was really pissed off about something, and not afraid to talk about it. It was in arabic, so I'm assuming. I mean, I can say 'please' and 'thank you' and that's it. However, linguistic cues that hint at emotion apparently are not in my wheelhouse when it comes to other languages. 

        I run into a similar problem at home. My kid used to switch to rapid-fire portagee when he was annoyed at me or worried and wanted to cut me out of a conversation, as my Portuguese is... not great. When speaking about something in really specific detail with his mom, he'll often revert to Portuguese, as well, which is easier for her. Occasionally I've cut into conversations, telling them to calm down and lower their voices, thinking that they were arguing, only to find out that they were talking about something harmless and not negative at all... 

... so, armed with that knowledge, I sat and listened to what might have been an acid-tongued imam pissed off and telling everyone why, or possibly some arabic-speaking dude reading a grocery list. Either way, I found it agitating but also kept my mouth shut. 

 Anyhow, my day is possibly done. I might just go play a video game. 


jerseygirlangie said...

I've been watching the river traffic off of Edgewater these last few days , and my heart goes out to all who have to work on the water in this snowy weather !

Don McCollor said...

(Don McCollor) us Nordic, a raised voice is a sound indicating anger...elsewhere, Mary Kingsland more than a century ago in West Africa noted that they were just having a friendly shout...