"You might meet women who sail, but you sure won't meet no ladies."
The vessel is inbound for Bahrain. I'm off watch and sound asleep. The Captain and Third Mate can't get ahold of Port Control to gain entrance to the buoyed channel. They've called and called - they've tried every channel they can think of - nothing. I get a knock on my door. 'Mate, we need you on the bridge!'. I scurry up to the bridge in my jammies. The Captain looks at me and says, 'I'm really sorry to wake you up but, we need you to call Port Control...'. I look at him blankly and grab the Mic. 'Bahrain Port Control, Bahrain Port Control, the is the Good Vessel Lollipop.' 'Ahhh...yesss!!!!! Good Vessel Lollipop!!!! Good Morning, Good Morning!' 'Yes, Good Morning Sir, We'd like permission to enter the buoyed channel.' 'Ah yes, no problem, no problem!'. I had the Mic back to the Captain. He looks a little miffed and says, 'Thanks Megan. You can go back to bed.'. At the end of the trip they had a shirt made for me that said: you give good radio.
I rarely change my sheets at work. One time, I ate chocolate chip cookies in bed and smeared chocolate chips into my sheets on accident. It looked like baaad things had happened. I still didn't change them. On this last go around, I just spent three months on the same sheets.
I'm in Fujairah. We've been anchored for a bit. Spot market for tankers - Fujairah is popular waiting ground. I've caught a launch in for some time at the Seaman's Center. I have had a few too many Diet 7Ups. It's time to head back towards the launch. I may have 'escaped' my shipmates watchful eyes. There may have been things shouted like, 'you're not the boss of me!'. There is a flotilla of Dhows. I hop on one and immediately scurry below deck. I wake up the first sailor I see...and ask him to make me something to eat. He is looking at me like I am craaaazy (and well....I guess that's fair). I realize I'm maybe in the wrong place so I try again. I run back to the main deck level and hop from one Dhow onto the next. I scurry below deck. I wake up the sailors who are all laying together around a stove. 'Hi! Do you guys want to have dinner?!' They're rubbing sleep out of their eyes. I must have been the weirdest thing they'd seen in awhile. 'Miss Megan! Miss Megan!' I look up the ladder and there is a little Filipino man. I've never seen him before in my life. 'Miss Megan you must come with me!' He seemed so sincere that I start my way up the ladder and am on the deck of the Dhow with him. 'Miss Megan, we have to goooo!!!' He grabs my hand and pulls me from the Second Dhow onto a Third and then we hop back onto a different pier. 'Miss Megan, these men are very, VERY dangerous!'. I'm nodding like I understand. 'Miss Megan, you have to be VERY careful!' He walks me back to the launch. He exchanges rapid fire Tagalog with the launch operator and then the launch operator comes over and grabs my hand. I look at my new friend and say, 'I have no idea how you know my name is Megan but, thank you Manong.'.
It's my first ship. I left home knowing that I'd be at sea for Christmas. I decide I have to take gifts with me. I go old school and make cinnamon and glue ornaments. They smell so good I figured people could use them as air fresheners. I roll out the cinnamon and glue dough and cut out different sized stars and throw them in the oven to harden. I've pre-poked holes and I string ribbon through them. I take the time to package them in little gift bags. I label each one for the specific individual. I pack them all safely in a shoe box and throw them in my sea bag. On Christmas Eve I sneak out and hang a gift bag on everyone's door. Christmas morning I'm sitting at the galley table. I'm just waiting for someone to say thank you for their present...and nothing. After a bit I hear one AB say to another, 'Man, I don't know who left those cookies but that shit was fuuuucked uuuup....'.
I'm at the Farmers Market with my Mom and we run into old friends. She starts catching them up on life and says, '...and who knew Megan would end up a Sailor?! Doesn't she look like a pre-school teacher?!'. This wasn't the first time she had said this. We walk away from the friends and I look at her and say, 'if you ever tell someone I look like a pre-school teacher again I am going to freak. the. fuck. out.'.
I walk into the cargo control room. The Bosun is sitting there with the Pumpman and the Chief Mate. Things look serious. I'm feeling nervous. The Bosun says, 'Magpie. We need to tell you something.'. Now, I'm freaked. The Pumpman looks like someone has died. The Bosun, clearly the designated bearer of bad news says, '...you have the most annoying voice on the radio....now don't worry! Your voice isn't annoying in real life! Buuut, on the radio, can you try to lower your voice an octave?' I don't say a word. The Pumpman pipes up, 'Seriously, it's like a screech. One octave. Pleeeassee...'. I now have a radio voice.
I'm on my first tugboat. I'm getting to know a new Captain. A week into our trip he looks at me and says, 'uuuummm....you're kind of alpha....'.
It's twilight. I'm on the bridge. It has been the longest watch ever. I stood a six hour watch in the Persian Gulf. Non. Stop. Traffic. I finally call the Captain to assist me with traffic. I have a traffic situation that's making me nervous We normally do sanitary prior to daylight however; I have had one AB in hand-steering almost the whole watch - the other has had his face in the windows with binoculars. I haven't made a fresh pot of coffee. There was some sugar spilled at the coffee station through the night. The Captain comes up to the bridge - sees the mess at the coffee station and freezes. Then he flies forward. He takes his hand and sweeps everything to the floor. The coffee. The creamer. The sugar packs. The carafe. He whips around and yells, 'Megan! Clean this shit up!' and storms off the bridge. I turn around and say to my AB, 'hard right'. I slow the vessel with the turn, let the two ships pass each other, complete my round turn and meet the third ship while getting over taken. The bridge is silent. My AB finally says, 'Mate, that was totally fucked up.'.
I'm at work this past go around. A dude from another boat says, 'I like your sweater'. I look down and say, 'Thanks! It's a good work sweater and pajama sweater.' I realize that I haven't been differentiating between the two...and that I've been wearing it to bed and work...for three days... I look back up and say, 'I think I've had this sweater on for three days.'. Dude says, 'You are a tow boater!'. I felt kind of proud.
Someone sent me this prompt: You might meet women who sail, but you sure won't meet no ladies. I thought he wanted me to write about it but, instead he called it a prompt....or a psychopomp for the blog. A Woman Who Sails or a Lady? Is there even a difference?