Wednesday, December 21, 2016

It's All About The Wake-Up

There is a cinematography trick where the camera zooms in on something in the foreground while the background zooms out- it’s called the “dolly zoom” or the “vertigo effect.”

The sensation created by this camera effect is also the exact same sensation I feel when figuring out when I will reach completion of my contract aboard this ship: The closer I get to the end of my incarceration the further out that date gets pushed by delays.

It was originally the 28th of December.  Then the 29th.  Then the 30th.  Now it’s the 3rd of January.  I have been saying “12 days and a wake up!” for a week, now.  It’s become a running joke.  On Sunday I overheard the 3/M say “We go in on Tuesday- that’s 5 days and a wake up.”

We anchored in Pakistani waters for four days before coming into the port of Karachi.  Now that we’re here, it looks like we’ll be here until late Friday night, at which point we’ll shift to another dock a mile downriver for an unknown duration.

Every morning the 4x8 sailor on security watch calls out his relief- the 8x12 sailor, the mate-on-watch’s relief, myself, and the daymen at 0700.  Similar to last time here, I get a wake up call at precisely the time my alarm goes off (this sailor is very good with his calls).

Unlike last time in this port, however, the outgoing A.M. tide is at maximum velocity at approximately 0700 (it was at approx. 0500 last time).  Coincidentally, this is the same time that my alarm clock goes off and the phone rings for my wake-up call, and when the City of Karachi opens the floodgates at the sewage “plant” and flushes the accumulate of 30 million toilets into the river.

This river.  The one the ship is in.  

At breakfast I announced to the crowded mess hall that every morning in Karachi is a shitty morning. Have I mentioned how wildly popular I am aboard this ship?

And, like last voyage, I have jammed a box of dryer sheets into my air conditioning vent so that my quarters smell like a laundry in a river of crap instead of just a sailor’s quarters in a river of crap.

When I mentioned this to the old man, he said he learned you can repel gnats by rubbing your clothes, hands, and face with Bounce™ dryer sheets… something I must try in lieu of drowning the little bastards in Skin So Soft™ next time I am in the South.

The project of the day has been chipping the cofferdam deck above the Old Man’s room and below the bridge wing.  I played the song of my people to all who would listen with three spud guns and a “lawnmower” on plate steel.  I have been given dirty looks by a few of my harshest critics- not everyone appreciates true talent.

I will play my song again tomorrow and listen to it played back to me in the echos from the ships on the other side of the river.

And that’s what I got.  Punch drunk, worn out, and unfazed by anything.  There is no world outside this bubble of grease, stack gas, bunker fumes, surly sailors, and the daily toxic soup of chemicals that make up this ship except the one at the other end of this keyboard.

I hit “enter” and it travels around the world in less than a second, to you.

More Cargo in Karachi

Advanced Tetris

Port of Karachi

Pakistani Fishing Boat