Thursday, August 5, 2021

Ganked, or My Turn In the Barrel

 Yesterday promised to be a good day. 

 The HQ is out at our favorite anchorage here in NY, with a cargo fixed for this weekend, giving us a few days off-hire, and an opportunity to turn our eyes inward for some maintenance. 

    Weather was nice, a bit overcast, and not too hot. I was up at 0445, as is my wont, and after breakfast, I pulled out a 5gal bucket of deck paint, a gallon can of nonskid additive, and some painting tools, and figured I'd get to rolling paint around 0700. I knocked out a few procedural things in the meanwhile, specifically the  NPDES inspection, an EPA-mandated weekly walkthrough where we look for sources and potential sources of things that could put oil in the water. As nothing changed in the last week, I took a little extra time to really look over the hydraulic hoses on our capstans and deck cranes where the potential for UV damage can make the outside layer of the hoses brittle. Nothing yet. The hoses are only about a year old, having been renewed after the last shipyard period. Oh, fun fact, I got Ganked last year (definition to follow) and put on the current HQ for a few days, whereupon on the very first job a hydraulic hose INSIDE the base of one of the deck cranes blew out, dumping 80 or so gallons of hydraulic oil into the crane's interior, which oozed out and had to be collected and cleaned up, as well as repaired. While it was pouring rain. It was a whole thing, and my 2nd man had just come back to work after a hip replacement, and was in real pain still, and refused to not help, making things more stressful, seeing a very nice and earnest person putting himself through agony. It sort of gave me a set against the then-future HQ, but actually worked out well, a systemic defect in the crane being found and fixed after the cleanup. 

 So, when 'Something'  (anything really, but the office never gets specific) happens, and a Qualified (read: has a heart beat and/or is not dead) tankerman is not available on board, the office will occasionally choose someone situated nearby whose week they wish to ruin and pull them off of their own assignment, and will give them 30-60 minutes to get their shit together and move them to another vessel for a few days. This is sometimes called being Ganked. 

 I've been ganked 3 times in the past year, and have been increasingly cunty about it. Now, I don't have the magical ability to say no, as generally, short of  *clutches pearls*  calling someone in  from home, there aren't always willing and smiling faces available, and, you know, being a tankerman and all is what I do. Do I feel picked on? Fuck yes. A combination of availability, bad luck and not being a bad tankerman conspires against me, as well as not having enough Fuck You Money to dare them to fire me for saying no.  I came close this time. I have a very good relationship with my shoreside boss, though, and I know he needed to put meat in the seat, and I didn't want to insult him. But fuck me, it's not easy.

        I'm not a kid anymore. In fact, I forgot to bring my glasses with me here, and it's been a problem. 

        I don't like change. I like being alone, and working with my shipmates who know my ways like I know theirs, and I'm not someone who beings the A game when my wa gets disrupted. What does that make me? Other than a whiny bitch, I mean. I don't feel good about myself, being so perturbed by helping out elsewhere, but there it is. Sure, there's a part of me that wonders about fairness, as I don't know anyone with a permanent assignment who gets ganked as much as I do. I'm sure they exist, I just don't know who. But I do know that fuckups and aggressively angry people don't get ganked. I have joked in the past that I either need to start caring less about the quality of my work or pick fights with everyone.  And yet I realize I sound like a bit of a bitch here, or a prima donna. Maybe I am, or maybe I'm just a grumpy asocial coot who can't sleep and can't function optimally without a sense of permanence of place. Realistically, if I was more tolerant of impermanence, I'd be chasing the  higher salaries that some other companies offer. 

 And really, I don't mind working at all. The work part is fine. I can turn valves, type and sniff toxic fumes all day.  The increased risk of being unfamiliar with the workplace and the stress of being on a strange deck an in a strange bed is unpleasant. Being less than 15 feet away from a stranger the entire time is far more stressful. There's nowhere to go other than the bathroom for privacy. I can't talk to my wife in private, and must rely on the discretion of the other guy not to listen, as he hopes for the same in me. Close Quarters ain't innit. 

 Anyways, I'll hopefully be back aboard the HQ tomorrow, whereupon B, who has been keeping up the home front and likely playing video games in his underwear in the galley, will make fun of me for being grumpy and oversensitive. 

 This shit isn't getting easier as I age. On my personal wish list, being left alone more is currently #1 with a bullet. 

 #2 is still being reincarnated as Sofia Vergara's bicycle seat, so there is that, anyhow. 

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