Saturday, January 16, 2010

meow meow

When I say meow meow, it's not a complement. It's said quietly, but not sotto voce. Just matter or fact, rapid fire, deadpan. Meow meow you're being a... well, animal that meows.

What I don't do is push people to hurry out here. I don't understand why in the name of the seven mad gods of the sea anyone would think it's acceptable to pressure someone to GO FASTER when working with oil. Really.
Watching a young guy working today with a middle-aged deckhand, the usual greenhorn and Sea Daddy pairing (increases the odds of the greenhorn living long enough to learn a little, in theory). I listen to the youngster complaining under his breath:

"Fat old fuck, telling me how to do my job... I know how to (mumble mumble)."

Me: "Hey, watch your footing."

Old salt: (Shouting from 50-75 feet forward). "Try to get a line around that bitt for a back spring!"

Greenhorn: "Yeah yeah..."

Me: "(quietly) Hey, don't throw that line yet..."
Old salt: "Wait! Don't throw the line yet!"

Greenhorn: "I can hit it."

Me: "What did I just say to you, exactly?"

This is me being unpleasant. This is also me being safe. The young idiot was about to attempt to throw a line as hard as he could... while standing with a bight of line around his ankle. However, being somewhat heated after listening to this asshat, I don't think to explain myself. A teaching moment. lost, I guess. The old guy, being an old sailor, and therefore a survivor, does a better job of shedding light on the situation.
"Look there at your shit-stomper, yung'un."
The kid looks down, shakes his foot, clearing it, and heaves the line mightily... I mean, he really puts some ass into it. It falls short of the bitt.
The old salt gathers up the now-soaking wet (and therefore twice as heavy) line, and explains exactly how he's turning his wrist WITH the lay of the line, until just here, where it's folded back, and making two small loops you just... he flicks his wrist lightly in a sidearm motion, and the line sails above the bitt, stalling out just overhead, and opening the spliced eye at the end of the line perfectly, the tossed line falls onto the bitt with a wet slap, perfectly.
The old timer doesn't gloat. He just looks at the kid, and tells him that four times out of five it doesn't fall that smoothly, but when you look at HOW it didn't work, it'll show you how to improve your second attempt.
The kid looks dully at the old timer. Personally, I don't think he's listening. It doesn't matter, really. When the pair return to their tugboat, the old timer goes first. It proves to be too much for the kid, who makes snide comments that I pretend not to hear. I am holding the ladder for the two men, being polite. When the kid gets onto the ladder, I give a small sideways nudge to the ladder with the slab of my palm. It skitters across the steel,just an inch or two, and the kid freezes in place, in the ladderm looking up at me intently, alarmed, to be reassured that I'm holding the ladder safe. I am.
I am looking down at him looking up at me, and it's too much to resist. Just as he gets off the ladder, pale now, I make eye contact.
"Meow meow."

No comments: