Tuesday, 12 July 2016

10.1 Shetland and Ireland and other cool British stuff...

Sitno >>155<<

Southampton, turnaround, breakfast. Off day, so had four croissonts, apple juice and Nutella (since I didn't really have any lunch or any dinner yesterday, just a fruit salad for supper and some chocolate and tonic when I was too hungry to fall asleep :p) Reading a little bit of Wild, because miss hiking. Keep thinking which avenue of approach to take to convince the General to do the Appalachian or PCT or Santiago de Compostella walkabouts with me... I don't really care which one, as long as I can spend a few months walking and staring at green.. Though I would maybe kind of prefer for it to be warm... And without grizzlies. 
Compostella it is, then. :D
I just realised that Larry the Officer Mess Keeper calls SLSB 'sir'.
'How are you this mornig, sir?'
On a much happier subject, I also realised that the reason why the General isn't too keen on bringing my family to the port in autumn, to see my ship and me, has nothing to do with logistics or weather. 
He simply does not want to share me..
This just made me learn there is another level of which one can be in love with their husband. I stared at myself in the bathroom mirror, looking much smaller now, I mean a lot thinner, thinking what could I possibly do for our date to make me the utmost attractive... Dye my hair golden blonde? Wear a playfull, long summer dress? Heels? A beautiful hat? He probably won't recognize me, or even like me in the long run, since it is the gritty bubbly trooper he married, but for that one date? I desperately want to seduce him, want him to gawk when heb meets this extraordinary woman he's only been corresponding and Skyping with for so long. You know? You don't often get a second chance at a first impression. 

That said, there are a lot of peroxyde blondes on this ship - and only one flaming redhead.
..Off to photograph the shopwindow display of the Ikea kitchen he's been renovating for me.. 

Got it, got the kitchen. Will sketch and measure and count everything, including the Pantone code for the color.. Am leaning towards Pine Green or Artichoke.. Called mum and dad, who miss me too much and really need to learn about Skype, otherwise we'll leave most of my salary to the phone company. Dad always gets tearful when I am describing the magnificent cities I travel to and he is proud of my viewpoints and a sense of taking it all in, my inherited veganon's soul... Mum's just proud she can use ShipLocator and GoogleMaps and Instagram.

Embarcation went through. Odd crowd, though. In retrospect I shouldn't have said that to the visiting Land Manager, when he asked how is the embarcation going. I said: "Pathetic. Miserable, cheap, rude people. The usual, then." I should have remembered he doesn't care about honesty. Only people that matter are the likes of SLSB, who regardless of how hard the job is, how many people are nasty or all-inclusive, know how to get money out of them. And that's not me.

One of the female pax tried to hit a small room stewardess, thinking it was me. (I invite the lot to pose for SLSB taking the shots and when my roomie was doing the video footage and the stewardess was inviting the people inside, the woman swung at her.) 

Am looking forward to this cruise, especially the north. With a little luck it will be bleak and drizzly, same as it was in the time of Vikings :D

Sitno >>154<<

Ate too much last night, spent a lot of time in the bathroom as consequence. Cleared a whole new level of Vegetables Vs. zombies, as the English call my favorite toilet-time game. It's a sea day today, so am not gonna eat anything and drink only a little. Learnt that is the surest way not to get queasy at the of worst times: first formal tonight. Should be interesting. But there are going to be a lot of ports this cruise. I have to ask how SLSB wants me to take the pics, as we continue to get complaints of my pushyness... I already cannot think of a way to be less intrusive. So what do I do? Diminish the rollcount and just take couples? People still come to see them the next day and say 'oh, that's not half bad that is. I'll have it...' Hm. 
Well, he's the boss, let him make that call. 


Poor burnt down sister ship, it just isn't its season. They have less than a week to fix their wiring if they are to embark on their Arctic, most profitable of cruises, with three millions worth of pre-sold seats. And it doesn't look good. They were planning on dry-docking it for a month to elevate its rating to five stars in November, which considering the clientelle seems highly unlikely. Our LandManager, having failed to persuade anyone else to come to this ship, is lending us their photo manager and their videographer come next turnaround, or so I'm told. That'll be, what, the third or fourth option by now? He is sending a newbie there instead, an unusual executive decision. And remember the jeweler from a couple of months ago, who was all wise and telling us how to make money? I overheard the shop department talking how they are getting the jeweler who hasn't made any decent money in eons (if you ask her it was everybody else's fault) and we ourselves haven't made target in a while. That is also everybody else's fault. There are indeed funny pax this cruise, and I don't mean in a giggly way. A man attempted to provoke first, then humiliate me in front of his parents, which were too old to truly understand what was happening. They were embarassed later and bought the ohotos. I apologized for the inconvenience of having tried to photograph them, thanked them and moved on. He was the kind of person who would abuse a woman in front of his family and then say something like: 'I can get you fired if I want.' Yes, sir, I know. You and everyone else. 

While I stood outside the restaurant, waiting for the second sitting to end, the old doctor came out, swearing like only a Croatian man can swear and which cannot even be translated into English with enough juice to it. Something like: Fuck these cunts, eh, my gold? (My gold is a way of calling someone my darling in Croatian, but simultaneously calling them your child.) We looked at one another and couldn't decide if this is a crying or laughing matter. I cannot tell if the world has always been like this or is it getting worse. I think it has always been like this, I was just a little small at first, and only noticed things close to the floor..
Over a meal, the doctor and another excursions woman from Croacia were discussing the shithole that Sri Lanka is. Not compared to India, compared to India it's paradise, The Beach and all that, but the doctor said that when he was there, they tried to sell him a three year old girl for 5000 dollars. Not in the adoptive sense. They scouted for excursion locations and came upon a small camp where people came at them with machettes. They said that if people come on ships to this shores by day, it may be okay. But there were people who came after sundown. Three people. They are still here, in those little piles behind the sheds in the ground. Problem being that people come to these villages to snatch people for organ harvesting. So, no to Sri Lanka for a decade or so. The doctor said how the scouting party he was a part of explained how they have to go make pancakes on the ship and will be right back.. You can imagine the speed of which they raised the anchor...

The captain is making his utmost effort to be talked about across the ship. On turnaround day he pushed a pram all around the ship, from the mess to the gangway decks so that everyone could see his baby and all the women were going 'ooh, what an adorable baby booooyy!..' He took photos with the dancers and today, while I was portraying a woman in her formal gown, he jumped in on the shoot, grabbed her and demanded I take them together. Now I have a bunch of photos of a very large man smelling of cigarettes embracing a very uncomfortable looking (good looking) woman in her fifties, who did her best to smile and generally failed. Old ladies, who tend to swoon over tall men in fancy uniforms, asked me if I would like to be on a photo embraced by the captain as well. 
I conjure the same expression I make an efford to put on when someone mentiones royalty. Did you know prince that and that was there and there that day?.. 
No, I did not know that. Do you know that when I first arrived for a couple of days I had nothing but lettuce for lunch?

I couldn't sleep tonight, even if I wanted to, as there is a party going on in the Crew Dayroom. There is pretty much a party going on in Crew Dayroom every night. It is no wonder why people on ships like these drink every night. I tried going to the gym until 1am in hopes they'll grow tired until, but they're still blasting. I bumped into the current Chief on my way down the steps to deck 1, who laughed it's too crowded for him. He was optimistically in his formal uniform. He clearly hasn't gone to many crew parties before. But at least they're playing 80's disco and rock, which isn't so bad. I grew up on that music. I'll just shower and grab a book and read until either them or I pass out. 

Sitno >>153<< hmmmm....

Been an unusually good morning... I mean it's nine, the day hasn't really had time to find anyone to fuck me over yet, but that considering, it's been a really nice day so far. It's even clearing up, stopped drizzling and big white puffy clouds are letting through some azure sky and sunshine. Seaguls and ravens are circling a cool looking Scottish town. Dundee. While shooting gangway, one of the deck cadets explained that we have an osmosis machine on board - a machine that is turning sea water into fresh water as we move! .. I did not know that! That shit is awesome! Supposedly subs use it as well, so there goes my favorite irony: to die of thirst on a submarine... 

I ate two breakfasts, my usual oatmeal and apple at seven and at half past nine my first French toast (puffy and with cinnamon, my goodness...) and a tiny sandwich with a lot of wallnuts and pineapple on the side .. Also drank like a camel, as I hardly drank anything yesterday and spent an hour sweating in the gym. Was too tired in the gym, though, my heart wasn't in it. I just moved from one bizarre aparatus to the next, hoping to get my body somewhat less petrified and my joints any-what lubricated. Which I did, I feel better now.
SLSB is on to me. He noticed that when I photograph people with one light turned off, I do that purposefully... I did so to Rog last night, a guy who works here and is kind of nice to everyone... Rog is okay. Was hoping to get a good photo of him. Normally we are never to format the card before the next day, but, you guessed it, when I picked up the card, it was completely wiped out. That's tricky, considering he may still need the photos of the first formal should the computer fail again. But I am sure he would find a way to blame me.. SLSB cannot abide the concept of anyone taking portraits without the intention of charging for them. It upsets him like the idea of peaceful existance upset Achilles. Minus the stuff of legend stuff. SLSB is as nameless and smallminded as can be. I've spent every day with that man for three months and I still cannot for the life of me remember his last name. In three months he has only spoken to me once. 
Out of curiosity, passed the gallery this morning and all of my yesterday's photos were... Freaking perfect. Every single one. Perfectly framed. Perfectly lit. Perfectly toned. Skin tones: flawless. Accidental tilts: gone. Composition: ideal. Backgrounds... picturesque.
I stood in the hallway blinking at them dumbfounded. The Crazy Russian Safety Officer Guy came by and looked at what I am looking at. I said: "They are excellent, every single one. He has never developed them well before, he always makes sure they are awful. I used the exact same settings as every time. Can you see? They're GOOD. It's scary."
"Ah, I see. Yoo have some tenshion in yoor deepartment."
"Every department has stuff going on."
"Yis. I also had some things go on this morning."
"Happens, unavoidably. Wanna go to the gym and have a fist fight?"
"That akchually sounds like good idea."

We had a cool Chemicals Safety Ed yesterday. He talks fast and in a heavy accent, but as a fellow Slav I can understand him perfectly and he's funny.
"What happenz if yoo mix acids and alcalis, eh? How yoo go home? Hm? How? Best case scenareeo is fire. Worst case, how yoo go home? In a box. What happenz if you drop *something something in a pool of something? Usee common senz. How yoo go home?"
Everybody: In a box.
"What happenz if you (mix something something with something) .. How yoo go home?"
Everybody: In a box.
"What happens if you smoke in the room where we have grease cutters? How yoo go home?"
"In a box."
"No. In ashtray."

Decided to use my free, limbo time (had to shoot at eight and will have to shoot again at twelve.. You know, so there is no virtual chance of me going to town to Skype..) to try my luck with the tailor. I walked down with my size 20 skirt which I never wore, to beg for a size 14, or 16 or 12. He was actually in a good mood. He looked at me and said 'U size 12, no?' And tossed me a 14 and a 12, which I managed to get in quite easily, though it is rather tight if I sit down and drink half a gallon of my watered down coffee. No worries. Give me another week. Now all I have to figure out is how to get my size 14 shirt around my size 14 torso and size 24 breasts.  
On minus side, one of my ears feels slightly heavy, hurting if I put in the iPod earphone, and my port side (left) thumb hurts. Standing in freezing and windy cold for a few hours will do that to you. I always worry something will get inflamed, some tendon or some small bone. The ears I don't worry about, I can work with oily ears. But an inflamation of a metacarpal from having spent two hours photographing and eight hours selling the pics, that would be a bitch.

Okay. Had my fourth coffee. I am prepared for the day to get worse at any moment. Ready and armed. The idea pf osmosis machine just made my morning, so let's see what direction the blow will come.

Ha! Ha ha. Yes. A blow came indeed. Of course it did. 
For a moment there, the world got even better. My shoppie bossom buddie and I offed to explore, it was sunny and warm and beautiful. We loved the town. Everyone spoke in the most sexy Scottish accent and the street bums played the pipes while begging for coins. I got THIS close to buying a two foot BB-8 toy for 40 pounds. But I know myself, so I only had ten in my wallet. But next we went into a comic book store and after I made all kinds of crazy noises at the new titles (”I've been completely out of Reality for three months! Look at all this stuff! I don't even know if Gaiman finished his fucking latest Sandman or not, and look at all the new Saga! Nailbiter! Wytches! Still at the volume 1! And what is this?! Beauty? Holy fuck, this shit looks amazing!..." I also started breathing heavily over anime posters, mainly pretty much everything to do with Attack on Titan. (Why hello there, Levi, it's nice to see you again.. Haven't had sexy thoughts about you for a long while..)
The delightful young thing behind the counter, who turned out to be the owner of the store, came to life listening to me and totally explained all the good stuff of the Horror genre. We established I have just enough money for a single volume and she decided that should be Revival, since I have not read that before. Seriously, though, if I brought my whole salary along, this is where I would leave it. We exchanged our contacts and Podcast recommendations and I left high as a kite on soumateship.

Then it came, the blow. I found wifi and opened my email and in it a letter from the LandManager. Here, I'll copy-paste it:
I feel compelled to say how disappointed I was with your comments when I introduced you to our new Video Operator for Black Watch on Wednesday.
I have always offered you support, listened to your concerns and given you regular opportunities to talk to me.
Your comments and use of expletives are both unwelcome and unnecessary in that situation.
If you wish to vent your frustrations to me in future, please do so in private.

That felt like being punched in the gut, even though I pretty much knew why he was lashing out: I think I may have spooked the newbie he was training. He couldn't afford to lose anyone anymore and he was going to throw another one to the wolves and I might have gotten in the way of that a little bit. I wrote back I should have mayhap kept my grace and not tried to help, coming off as robust and too direct for an English taste, even if I only wanted her to understand the first month is the worst and if she feels like there is something wrong with her for feeling awful, it isn't and it passes. 

It still felt like having the rug pulled out from under me, now finally abandoned also by the LandManager, whom I felt gratitude towards until now, and compassion for he has a lot on his plate. That's over. But I called the General and suddenly the acidic tears that kept boiling from my tired eyes hit all the right chain links and the chains on me began giving. The General said: just come home. I said I want to make another grand to pay for his Detective's exam. He said: ye, okay, if you want, but as soon as you do that, just come home.

Bognor was the size of a pug when I marched cheerfully, begining to feel finally liberated, back to the ship. 
The countdown to the end of my sentence is now going to alter a little bit. I'll count it somewhat differently for a little while. 

Sitno >>152<< or >>75<< or <>1000-140<>

I took half of an anti-depression pill (I ownly have the one, so didn't want to waste all of it) today, because I couldn't stop crying during gangway and didn't want to do anything rash or stupid if I reached the end of my fuse. It was painfully cold, windy and cloudy, and the people continued to treat me horribly. It really hurts to try and do your job while an endless procession of rich old strangers spits insults at you:
"Sir, may I take your photo?"
"No, get lost."
"Hello, madam, would you like me to take your photo?"
"Oh, you're not getting my money."
"Good morning sir, madam, will you stand together for a nice photo?"
"Not you again. Can't you find a proper job?"...

After a hundred people say such things to you on such a day, you can't really stopy crying anymore. The Crazy Russian Safety Officer came by and he has this way of standing with his face really close to yours, with large dangerous green eyes and those Arnold Vosloo features. He kept wiping the tears off my cheeks, but like they were something bothering him, not like he actually wanted to be gentle. I mean he was, he was making an effort to save me from caving in, he just did it in a way a cookie thumper would. I said to him: "This job is SOULCRUSHING. I stand for hours in the wind, in the rain, treated like bird shit, and then I stand for six hours more in the gallery"... , trying to sell them to people who call them 'disgusting' 'terrible' 'awful' and 'we're not impresed. I wouldn't pay you sixty pence for these, yet alone six pounds.'... And I make 800 pounds a month. For what? 

Like the Seascape guy a few months, he told me that I signed a contract and now I need to arrange myself to commit to it, to live up to it and not think like a quitter. Because yes, I was frightfully close - one more argument close, in fact - to quitting today. I just want to go home. 
But I promised myself not to make any giving-in decisions on rainy days, before I had coffee and before the new manager arrives. 
Oh, don't know if I mentioned: that third option, from the burnt down sister ship, who was supposed to replace the guy who was replacing the guy who was replacing SLSB, he denied, too. We are now getting possibily no.4. 

I turned around to look at the Ingvergordon dock, full of spare parts for the oil rigs, and there was Bognor, the size of a mountain. But sleeping. Hermes did his best to help by stopping the winds and we have a whole new shipment of chocolates at the bar, so a whole new array of gastric gems I haven't sampled before... 

You wouldn't believe me if I told you I am posting this from a Seaman's mission which is INSIDE a church WHILE someone is playing the organ. Unreal. 

The church folk also gave me a hand knitted wooly cap. They were handing them out to the lot. But it came very useful, because this place is FREEZING. I took a Bryson from their free-to-take shelves, went to the first art market, bought a beautiful photo of the green lights which can at times be visible around here, went to the second art market and bought a sterling silver pendant of a tree, then went to their tiny museum of local naval and medical history, where they gave me a list of rules for schoolteachers, such as having to wear AT LEAST two pettycoats and never loiter in places such as ice-cream parlors, yet alone never ever dying their hair... 
Guess the rules haven't changed all that much since. We have a rule list similar. Our underwear has to be appropriate so as not to deviate from the uniform (solved that problem nicely, unless I have to climb into another life boat), our hair must be a natural color, we have to be groomed (i.e. shaved to the gills), we cannot walk around with a drink in our hands, we cannot sit down to watch a show or at the Observatory deck... 
I went to the afternoon tea serving at the buffet and started reading The Revival, which is as spooky and gruesome as I need it to be... That feeling, when I look up from the pages, my bone marrow creeped out of it's frame, and realize I am actually having coffee and cake in a room full of people I don't care very much about ... Those are the good literary stuff moments. 
Course it's not true, either. I do care for these people. I cry over these people. Every cruise I choose a favorite and this cruise it's an old lady with a mind of a child that I cry at the very thought of. She would spend ten minutes showing me the photo of her with the captain, so proud. So proud. Because I took the time to admire it, she would come back for another fifteen minutes of showing me a photo she took of the sunset. She is so cheerfull, so happy, her wit is so pure and simple, I am humbled to my knees with shame of dreading them. I want to know more people like that. I want to BE more people like that. 
I have to be better than that. I need more strenght. The pill I took, that makes me feel like I have a soft warm baloon tied to the back of chest and it's lifting me out of the gutter, but it is not saving me from the rest of my spirit seeping through my fingers like wet sand. 
I need to be stronger.
I need to stop sinking.
The cavern of my chest cannot be filled with empty villages in the rain and bitter strangers whose stories I am deaf to purposefully, awere all they do is lash out... 
Wake up, heart, come on. You'll be seeing me again very soon, so cheer up. Come on. Cheer up. Go out into the rain and take a photo of a behemoth oil rig. It took them ages to build it this close to your ship, just for you. 

Sitno >>?<<

No, fuck it. SLSB repremanded me for coming in a minute too late. He saw me taking photos of the pipers band as the ship was leaving the quey. How dare I. .. Not two, not three. A minute. He said: from now on you come to work fifteen minutes before the hour.

Fuck this shit. I can't breathe like this. And the best part, when I said I am resigning, he said: "But why? I am leaving. You will not have problems after anymore..." 
Yes, thank you for admiting, but my soul is caving in. 

He refused to let me use the net to contact the LandManager, so I sought out the Hotel Manager and I asked him to print me out a resignation papers. Two pens failed me while I was filling out the form. Sorry, Triton, I know you will miss me. But this job was soulcrushing. 

I will be back. Unless they strand me out of spite, I still have two months to work anyway. But I will be back. Possibly as a librarian.