Sunday, November 23, 2008

unemployed and homeless

so. i lost my job.


the season is over, the boats are shrink-wrapped, the spars are safe, the hangovers are receding, and everyone has scattered to the four corners of the globe.

well, everyone has scattered. some just scattered to other houses in Baltimore. others have flown to the west coast and beyond to Australia, a few are moving to new york, and one brave soul is moving to Maine. I'm going to have thanksgiving with my family before I come up with any more definitive plans than "move to New York, try again."

its all fine. i'm going to try and wash the taney out of my clothes for the next couple of days.

well, its not fine fine. i have just completely lost all of the friends i'd spent the past year bonding with. i feel that my likelihood of encountering any of them again hovers around a 12% chance.

The Lady Maryland's cook was picked up by his family on Saturday, and it blew all of us away to hear him called Grandpa. Their captain and mine have bought a Rover and plan to sail it from Myrtle Beach to Buffalo once the canals re-open in spring, and i might get a call to help on the transit. LM's first mate has bought a ketch and plans to sail it from Maryland to Maine soon, while her second mate has some rather Kerouac-esque goals in mind. Almost everyone has warm, homeward-bound feelings right now and hopes to re-connect with their estranged land-based families. I wish them the best, and happy holidays.

I'm not alone out of my crew when I express the sentiment that i'm not entirely sure where i'm going from here, or for how long, or why. We rode this gig like a runaway train until it suddenly stopped, flinging us off the roof onto our now bruised behinds, dizzy and perplexed.

Again...any suggestions for graduate study? Something cool i don't know about? Journalism looks like fun, but where is it going to get me that a BA in theatre hasn't? Radio broadcast also looks like...HEAPS of fun, but with competition and the fact that i've barely adjusted a knob on a stereo receiver i have a funny feeling i'm not an ideal candidate for admission. Alas. maybe i'll sign up for some welding classes in January, or try for some freelance theatre gigs with my sister. Or try and get a deckhand gig on the Lettie G. Howard. I don't know anymore. Doesn't anyone just...know what i'm supposed to do?

Aha! I'll take up religion.

tee hee hee hee hee

Actually, I discovered with my haircut (or lack thereof), if i wear an Under Armour black mock turtleneck thermal garment, i look like a priest. Its pretty funny. well, i thought it was funny. other people might say the more appropriate word is "offensive" given the context.

So technically i'm not homeless--i'm in a house now. An It doesn't list to starboard at low tide, it doesn't creak in high wind, it doesn't make that wonderful sloshing noise and rock me gently to just sits here bravely atop a scenic overlook with the bay beautiful but powerless down below.

On the whole, my housing situation's cool factor has warmed a few degrees. Oh well.

I'm handling it well, i think. At the beginning of last week it didn't occur to me how much i was going to miss my Taney mates and their little noises and behaviors to which I'd grown so accustomed. Seeing the light go on through the holes in the wall, hearing barely-suppressed music through someone else's headphones, hearing the sighing, the swearing, the snoring, the shaving, the shouting...when I left yesterday morning there was complete and utter silence. To say I exited in a hurry would be an understatement. I freakin' ran.

So there you have it. The boats are in exactly the same condition as when I arrived last year--a few things have improved, but a few others have degraded and need maintenance. The pier is vacant, the kids are gone, the crabs have been released and a light film of dust has already begun to settle. I am again looking for work, housing, and friends.

Did 2008 actually happen?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


wordle makes my life out to sound pretty damn cool.
thanks Kim.

yesterday marked the end of the LCF shipboard department's
sailing season. As of today, all of the boats are down-
rigged and half have frames erected for winter coverings.
Its all very sad, very cold, and very hard work. I spent
today at the top of Sigsbee's mast taking down blocks and
lines--I'd imagine that's the last time i'll ever be up
there. Weird. The sails are stowed, the spars are stored,
and we have 3 days left of employment.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Save the Day!...light

While I'm not a huge advocate of daylight savings' time, I am happy to fall back every year. After two or three weeks of waking up in the dark, it is wonderful to have at least a little more time of waking up to sunshine before that, too, disappears in preparation for winter. Ah, temperate zones.

So my absentee ballot application was mailed to the wrong address, bounced, and came back to the voter registration office. I got in touch with them and they sent out a new one...and it arrived today, November 3. (for anyone unfamiliar with the absentee voting system, you are first mailed a ballot application, which you fill out and return, and upon receipt of a perfectly filled out application, the actual absentee ballot is mailed, which you then fill out and mail back. its asinine, it wastes paper, it wastes time, and i put in for it with plenty of time to take care of everything, and South Carolina screwed up.) Thanks, SC. you've fucked me again. Way to withhold constitutional rights.

So, I had a great week in Philadelphia. The kids were awesome to work with, we made and ate some delicious food, i discovered new bars and new beers, i slept in a real bed, and, what fabulous timing--the Phillies won the world series while we were in town! It was fun to watch the revelry in the streets after that--that was until they started lighting things on fire and looting. Didn't quite grasp how "hooray we won" translates into "hey, lets break shit!" but oh well, i've never been a Phanatic.

I also discovered one of those awesome bookshops in the old part of town--called the Book Trader, it had scores of volumes stacked right to the ceiling, confusing, tight, twisty, irregular aisles, funny lighting, that old-book smell, a huge upstairs, and the best shopkeepers i've yet met. I bought six classics i've been needing to read for about eleven dollars and practically skipped home. (by "practically" i mean "i skipped home.")

On the slow, difficult transit up I took a number of photos of the bridges we went under in the C&D Canal (chesapeake & Delaware). as soon as I retrieve my camera from Sigsbee i'll be sure to share a few. It was a very pretty, if laborious, trip up--the current was strong against us the whole way, it was freezing, and the wind was directly on our quarter, which meant the main wanted to jibe the whole freakin day. Most of the time we held it off or allowed it to jibe safely, but steering was a relentless battle against the wind. A positive upshot of the current was that when we finally did get into Philadelphia, the entire exterior of the boat had been cleaned of algae. Who'd a thunk it.

The transit back was quick and easy by contrast. Whereas on the way up we averaged about 3.7 knots, the way back we averaged 9.3 and made it in 14 hours. Instead of two days. The wind was still on our quarter, but the current was helping at an amazing clip (that same amazing clip we were fighting before) and practically threw us into Baltimore. The buoys, anchored against the onslaught of water, looked like they were motoring past as the waves broke around them. I'd never thought to personify a buoy before, but it was pretty funny.

I finished James Michener's Chesapeake! I knocked out the last 500 pages in about 4 days. I was sad to see Rosalind's Revenge go. Say what you will about the power of the seas and the perpetual motion of nature that maintains the universe's constancy... Dammit, I Liked that house!

I'm currently about halfway through The Kite Runner, which I borrowed from a crewmate after I ran out of pages. While transits can be tough, there's also rather a lot of down-time when you're not on the wheel. While I'm not enjoying the story per se, it is excellently written so far.