I've been home for a week already, hard as that is to accept. Time is fleeting. I, in a fit of smartness, pulled a shoulder muscle almost as soon as I got home, so that changed all my plans. I'm still damn happy to be home, although I've probably been a pantload as far as my attitude goes. I am not good at sitting around. Anyhow, for my last week at home I'm good again, no more chicken wing.
I did manage to renew my CPR card while I was home. This was the first time I took this particular class at Maritime Professional Training and Boy Howdy were they...thorough. There was no pencil whipped 3 1/2 hours and out you go class, we were there for the full 8 hours. Normally I'd be pissed off, as I hate make-work classes, but this was worth it.
MPT is an interesting boat school. I've mentioned them before, because they're heavily geared towards international yacht work, and also because the yachties tend to be very fit, attractive people in optimal health, and the merchant mariners are... not any of those things.
So as I'm renewing and also upgrading my license this year, I had to get a fresh CPR certification. I'm glad I did, too, as I was very rusty when it comes to pretty much everything except for the physical part, the chest compressions, so I'm glad the class was thorough.
The instructors were two retired fire fighters, and in the class there was myself and a dozen yacht crew, 10 of whom were in the process of looking for their first job. These are not even day 1 kids. They are Brand.New. The experienced yachties were a kid with a little 100-ton license and a stewardess, neither of whom were mariners to speak of. All of them were fresh-faced, chirpy young kids that smelled of money, and excited. And then there was me. I was on good behavior, but being the oldest guy in the class by about 30 years (and I'm 48), I actually identified and got along with the instructors great, but was largely ignored by the kids. It all started with the 30-second intro's where we talk about us, our experiences, and why we're there. I'm no master mariner, but I have a nice broad set of experiences, and talking about being an AB and commercial fishermen before these kids were born probably torpedoed any shot at being one of the gang, lol.
What was cool was listening to these kids stories, and the personality mix. There was the obligatory 19 year old expert, the kid with the little license, speaking from his vast experience, and it was humorous and humanizing. Was I that kid, or would I have been that kid under similar circumstances? Ugh, probably. Some sorority girls in spandex looking for a fun job for a few years before setting into adulthood. A girl who graduated high school last month, who spent all her time on the phone and therefore bombed the little test... a little tableau. I stayed quiet, which is not normally me, but the instructors didn't need me to participate, and the kids needed to interact, to engage.
The only time I spoke, and this raised some eyebrows, had been arranged before when I was at lunch with the instructors. This was when the instructor talked about Medical First Aid Provider (the next class in progression if one wants to learn more), and Medical Person-In-Charge, the more serious intro to medicine for officers. "For example, when you are offshore and you lost a shipmate, CPR didn't work, and shoreside tells you to cease; after the official part is over and shoreside notified, what do you have to do? " He gestures to me. "Cap?"
Me, sort of deadpan: "Well, you'll probably be told to strip the clothes off and to wash the body, but you really have to stuff all the openings with cotton and rags, bag them and put them in the fridge, but not near any fish. You don't want the body smelling like tomorrow's lunch when the loved ones come for it and you don't want them to get freezer burn if there's any hope of an open-casket service." The poor kids were so wide-eyed that they looked like Japanese caricatures of Americans. The teacher riffed off of that and the day went on. At the end I was ready to go home for sure, as it had been a long day, but it really humanized the firemen for me, too, seeing them as people who had jobs to do that involved lifesaving, but that the weight of years, of rescues and failed rescues too, all costing them something, but not so much that it took away their desire to continue to serve by teaching.