Wednesday, December 22, 2010

low battery at sea

So, a few twists and turns, and I am sitting comfortably in my new home-away-from-home here in bee-ee-ay-yutiful New York Habah.
First off, it was a near thing, my coming to work. I made all the preparations, including an unscheduled doctor visit for a short-lived but raging fever that thankfully responded very quickly to antibiotics. So, despite a certain fear of having to bang in this close to Christmas, I was able to get a clean bill o' health and drive down to NY.
Driving through the city isn't so bad at 1am. That's the absolute best way to get into Brooklyn, in my opinion, should one need to drive into Brooklyn. I had planned on bunking on a barge for about two weeks until my permanent assignment opened up. I unpacked my truck, humped groceries and 200lbs of diet soda (well, it felt like that) up a ladder and stowed my 4-weeks worth of grub before going to bed, still washed out a bit from the whole being sick thing 2 days before.
Well, 5 hours later, somewhat refreshed, I was told to transfer all my goods to my permanent barge, and now, here I am. The soda, chow, frozen meat, clothing and toiletries were all repacked and unpacked, and we sailed as I was carrying the last bag aboard.

So, of course, I missed a few things in my hurried repacking. My watch cap, for one, which bodes ill for my oversized ears, which, for all their lift-producing capability (rivaling that of a Piper Cub), do tend to get frostbitten, and already have a permanent air like a wilted potato chip.

More importantly, though (to me), is the fact that I can't find the charger for my cell phone. Whether it's sitting at home or simply on the barge I slept on, this got me thinking about how dependent I've become on modern communication equipment to stay in touch. I started my sailing career in time to experience the long lines at the dock's pay phone, where I'd call my mom and girlfriends maybe once a month at most, and be grateful for the experience. These days, I talk to my wife twice a day, and am still calling my mom maybe once a week or so. My cell phone is my lifeline, and while I'm still trying to figure out where the hell the knife drawer is in the galley, my laptop and wireless modem are up and running already.
Social media, e-mail, text messages, blog updates and phone calls are all something that the coastwise mariner can take for granted now. Today, facing the prospect of having no cell phone, I feel the loss quite sharply.


Borepatch said...

Paul, I hope it's a Merry Christmas anyway.

doubletrouble said...

Before I run out of Christmas, have a merry one; best wishes for a safe & prosperous new year as well.

Anonymous said...

Merry Xmas dude!

Deep Water Sailor said...

I remember when I was a cadet having to ride a bike up the dock and through the refineries of Texas City to find a solitary telephone pole with two pay phones attached. Naturally another chemical tanker was docked and there were a half dozen Filipinos waiting in front of me intent on using up every last minute of their phone cards calling home.

Having internet at work for the last year has been absolutely incredible. As I do all my banking, bill paying and communicating on line now going without it would cause me some major heartburn. I just can't see not being able to take a picture and upload it from my iPhone right to face book any time any where in the world now. How quickly we become accustomed to technologies conveniences.