More bitches, I mean, chicks– on tugs

Picture a tugboat. You’ll have to use your imagination as I’ve been admonished to never divulge any of the captain’s specific information. For some reason–I’m sure I don’t know why–he thinks that if anyone connected him to Enchanted Seashells, it would be VERY embarassing. In the world of the Merchant Marine, that is.  For that reason, you need to conjure up a tugboat’s shape. I hope this little picture is helpful in a generic way.  As far as tugboats go, the one the captain’s on is a pretty big one at 127 feet long, 36 feet wide.  In general, tugs are NOT five-star luxury floating hotels. Living, sleeping, eating places are stark, cramped,  functional, and devoid of all the comforts of home, (including seashell embellishment, well, unless I was on one.)  The crew usually rooms together; only the captain has a private space unless it’s a smaller crew. I wrote a post a while back Chicks on Tugs, and now it’s happened again.

On this assignment, there are nine crew members– TWO OF WHOM ARE FEMALES. I am yelling that. THERE ARE TWO CHICKS ON THE FREAKIN’ BOAT! At most land-based jobs (if memory serves–it’s been a while),  there are separate bathrooms for men and women, and at the end of the day or a shift, everyone departs to their respective homes (or local watering hole), their individual lives, and return the next day. On a boat, the crew is thrust together 24/7. And yes, I chose the word “thrust” with all possible definitions that word evokes. The boat becomes their workplace AND their home for the length of each assignment.  They eat together in the galley, watch TV together, sleep near each other, and share a bathroom, even do laundry together and smell touch see silky little undergarments. (None that belong to the captain, I should clarify.) When he told me there were TWO WOMEN ON THE BOAT, I asked him what happens when they menstruate and get all PMS-y although I actually said time of the month ‘cos it’s a subject he finds particularly icky and not a regular topic in our “two peas in a pod” conversations.

Then I started peppering him with all kinds of questions: “Are they cute?” Are they lesbians?””Do they work out and do they have good bodies?” “What about their butts?” Are they firm and tight?” “Why are you looking?” “Are they blonde?” “Are they flirting with you?” “Have they ‘accidentally’ allowed their towel to fall when they emerged from the bathroom after taking a shower?  “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know you were there…” “Do they rub up against you in the wheelhouse?” “Do you think you might love them more than me?”  Quantum leaps and bounds. Yes, I go there. I’m not shy. I have no filter. We have an understanding. He is the rational one and I’m the one who’d go all Lorena Bobbit on his ass.

The thing is, he doesn’t have a whole lot of privacy, so it’s impossible to really respond to my interrogation. He has to be politically correct but I think it must put undue strain on the male crew members that have to work that much harder to accommodate a female crew. I’m a total feminist, but tug and barge work is super physical and demanding and I don’t think the women I’ve seen who work around this industry are really capable to handle it–handling lines, tow ropes, wire, winches. It’s not fun and it’s dangerous. But that’s just my opinion. He says there are lots of women who are as competent as any man. It’s just not my cup of tea-or martini-or glass of champs.

I’m waiting for the captain’s daily telephone call and New Girl is getting ready to start. My car is dripping some red stuff that looks like blood and something’s making an annoying chirping sound every thirty seconds somewhere in the house and I can’t figure out where it’s coming from and now I think it’s that stupid Spirit Squirrel come back to haunt me or else someone’s trying to sabotage my mental health, ‘cos if I have to hear that sound for one more day, I’m gonna burn the house down.

By the way, was anyone else disappointed by Gossip Girl last night? It was so booorrrinnng.