Firmly entrenched at the ass end of the second week of classes, I am satisfied with what's gone on so far. Search & Rescue and Cargo Handling & Stowage are finished, and tomorrow will see the end of Emergency Procedures. I've got a quick visit to a doc-in-the-box tomorrow for a benzene screen, one of the chinks in the armor of a tankerman like myself. I have to have blood drawn at least once a year, but I usually seem to go twice, as a nod to the fact that cancer runs through my family like grease through a goose. First, though, is the exam tomorrow to mark the end of the class.
I want to share a really interesting moment that I had in the SAR class. The lecturer was a professional Coast Guard SAR expert with 28 years' experience. He brought us through the whole process, and at the end of his 30-minute talk, when he was describing the real meat of the search process, the actual time spent running the pattern and looking out, there was one moment where he made a comment that proviked a very powerful emotional reaction.
If we arrive on scene at night, and we have to search, we put a spotlight up into the sky, and leave the blue light flashing on the roof. The truth is, it doesn't help us at all, and the blue light is probably a distraction. The fact is, we aren't going to see anything useful until first light, but to a man in the water, the difference between life and death, between giving up and stuggling to stay alive through the night, can come from hope alone. Just seeing that someone wants to find you, that we're there, and we're looking for you, that hope saves lives.
What a thing that is.
On a lighter note, some dink gave me a wicked cold. I look like a wino. With my ruddy complexion, my nose glows in the dark when I get a cold. Also, my nose will peel and get all scaly too. Handsome, huh? I put some moisturizer on my schnozz after dinner tonight, and it stung so bad that my eyes were watering. Honest, my vision got blurry it was so painful.
I miss my ship. In 6 years, I only got a cold one time. Every year when I come to school, I get something.