Monday, December 07, 2009
Chronicles of ALife (pt II): Doing the Knowledge AKA being aware of WTF I just got my ass into
I got a bus ticket from New Haven, CT to Bankgor, Maine. I have never even HEARD of Bankgor, Maine (ain't that in Thailand). I had decided to work on a cruise line as a Galley Stewart for 3 months. I got to the boat (after 9 fcuking hours on a bus), put my clothes in my room and got right to work. I ain't never been on the water for more than a few days. This was brand new to me.
I started to realize that this trip was going to be about focusing on myself. I was so used to being the focus in other people's lives that it was proving difficult to deal with things that I had to do for myself. I set myself up in a situation where the majority of my day would be centered on working thus there was no place for non-essential things.
What was the 1st emanation? What were my 1st thoughts when I was a child that I wanted to bring into my adulthood? I wanted to write. I wanted to go to the moon. I wanted to dig up dinosaur bones and Egyptian mummies under desert suns.
The sun adds on to self with hydrogen adding to hydrogen through nuclear fusion in order to make the heavier elements and planets.
So in order to get back to my first thoughts I took myself on a journey to clear clutter and just make it happen. Thoughts need to be as pure as possible because they are the building blocks that one needs in order to build buildings. If the foundation is flawed and weak your building is like Atlantis; shit is sunk.
At first when I got down in the men’s quarters I was like…L No! Some ole army barracks, all men living in the same communial room type steez. Not for nothing, I wasn’t trying to be around this much male shit and sweat for 3 months. I was elated when I found out that as Galley Steward I had my own room, own television, and own bathroom. If I wanted to shit butt naked in my room during breaks I could (and maybe I did).
Rat Kings are mythological beasts said to arise when a number of rats become intertwined at the tails, and additionally stuck to each other with blood, dirt, and excrement. Consequently, the animals grow together, joined at the tails, which are often broken. Most known "rat king" examples are formed from black rats (Rattus rattus). The only find involving sawah rats (Rattus rattus brevicaudatus) occurred on March 23, 1918, in Bogor on Java, where a rat king of ten young field rats was found.
Yeah I saw some rats, not on the boat, yet that is another story for later.
The firs week was all observation. I was looking at the whole crew whom I was going to be in close quarters with for 3 months. The first day they threw me right in the kitchen to get it moving. Galley Steward handles everything in the kitchen except cooking so that means; dishwashing, cleaning, handling the inventory/ordering of food. It was on. All day everyday. Sunup to sundown.
The Piri Reis Map is a famous premodern world map created by 16th century Ottoman-Turkish admiral and cartographer Piri Reis. The map shows part of the western coasts of Europe and North Africa with reasonable accuracy, and the coast of Brazil is also easily recognizable. Various Atlantic islands including the Azores and Canary Islands are depicted, as is the mythical island of Antillia. The map is noteworthy for its depiction of a southern landmass that is evidence for early awareness of the existence of Antarctica.
Where the L was I going? What the kcuf was I doing? I realized that we would physically be traveling up and down the eastcoast of North America yet it didn’t answer my own questions as they related to me. Even though I knew that his was something that was most beneficial to me and, in the long run, to those around me it didn’t lesson the blow of going away for a season from familiar problems, those whom I still had issues with and those whom I cared for.
I knew WHAT and WHY I was here yet it didn’t make it any easier at first. I told myself that if I could get through the first week it would all be gravy from here on in. Due to my focus and standards I was referred to as the ‘moral compass’ of the crew. See, I didn’t confuse the my reason with being here for everyone else’s. Some actually just made it a damn soap opera on some ‘who’s zooming who’ stuff or why ain’t X talking to me. LOL. I found it humorous. I was here for the gold and mental clarity.
I learned how to let go of some mental debris (1:14, 5:14, 32:40) my first week there. I got the hang of certain mental exercises that would later serve me well to order my planning (1:40). I learned how to put my body on automatic while I removed clutter. Then I would focus again on the body in a sense ‘rebooting’ the body. Stress would melt away. I got the hang at multi-tasking on a grand scale also. I also learned that I couldn’t live without seeing the sunrise over the salty sea or sun set next to the docks
Black Jacks: African American Seamen in the Age of Sail-Among the more intriguing facts that this fascinating book contains is this statistic: by 1803, nearly 20 percent of seamen's jobs were filled by black men, most of them freemen. Historian Jeffrey Bolster, himself a sailor for a decade, covers the story of black sailors from Africa through mid-1800s America. Working as seamen helped blacks support families and helped facilitate communication among widely dispersed people. There were dangers--free blacks could be kidnapped and sold into slavery, and all black sailors were subject to vicious racism. Yet for all the drawbacks, sailing was a profession black men saw as "an occupation of opportunity"
Licensed master mariner Bolster (history, Univ. of New Hampshire) writes a descriptively rich, engaging narrative of African American seafarers from the 1740s to the 1860s. He recounts how tens of thousands of African American sailors formed an important sector of the maritime labor force, shaped mariner culture and the identity of free black communities, and linked the Atlantic world of the black diaspora. Both free blacks and slaves found opportunity, dignity, and freedom despite harsh working conditions. They were skippers and captains as well as ordinary and able seamen, pilots, and cooks on merchant ships, warships, whalers, and other coastal and deep-sea vessels. Bolster devotes attention to the construction of race in the interactions among black and white sailors on ship, in port, and in the War of 1812 POW camp of Dartmoor (England) Prison.
I had put my self on the sea. I was going to be successful in my undertaking. Yet even at the beginning point I didn’t Knowledge what I was in for.