With just a few days remaining before I go home, today was the first opportunity we've had in a bit to get a boat to bring us ashore and, for me at least, to stock up on bulky items like chicken, meat, bottled water and soda, shit tickets and paper towels, that sort of thing. Coming back to work is always a drag anyhow (the process sometimes referred to as the 'bag drag'), and doing so with 150lbs of food and drink that has to be humped from the cab to the office, then the office to the pier, then the pier to a tug or launch that may or may not be rafted up alongside another so you end up doing a hug n' lug across a couple of boats, then onto my ride, sail out to wherever the HQ might be at that moment (80% of the time it's at least an hour's steam away), then pass the bags up to the deck of the HQ on a heaving line, then up the ladder I go, get the bags into the house, then put my grub away, make up my bunk, change out of the clothes, etc etc before I can catch a nap and start working a few hours later.
This is pretty much tankerman routine. My partners and I all have been burned in the past with other shipmates who skimped on food, or bought too little and ate too much, etc, so we buy our own and my company pays us a grub stipend (That covers about 60-70% of food costs for one in New York, but with purchase power in numbers, tugboats can do pretty well by combining grub allowances for 5, usually sufficient, barely, to cover costs. And that's fine).
This is not me complaining (except about the actual amount of the stipend, which some use as justification for living on hot dogs and cereal), it's just to illustrate that carrying our ass to work, along with luggage and a half dozen 60lb bags of grub is annoying, and thus, the stocking up we did today is an opportunity for which I am grateful. When I come back in a few weeks, I will be carrying a gym bag, a computer bag, and probably 2 grocery bags of green stuff.
The cost of doing this is lost sleep. I got off watch at 0530 this morning, having been up since 1400 the day before, and the tug came for us at 0830 this morning, so I got about 2 1/2 hours sleep. Fortunately we were able to shop at man speed, so I was back aboard and in bed by noon and slept another 4 1/2 hours solidly.
Given the insanity of our broken-hearted world these days, I very much still am mindful of what a gift it is to be able to have my world at the moment be a matter of basic needs an no extraneous noise. It being Sunday, there wasn't even traffic to speak of in our quiet little part of Red Hook in Brooklyn, so going to the grocery store wasn't the usual feeling of an army convoy leaving the green zone. It was mild.
In some ways this is part of the compensation package for my job, for me at least. I do get some days where I don't have to give a fuck about the zeitgeist. Granted, my partner of 12+ years out here, B, knows enough to know that I was pretty low-energy with a bit of sleep debt, so we didn't talk much except when we did, if you get me. After I woke up tonight for watch we had plenty of time to complain to each other about the dumpster fire that is the outside world.