In Professional News: I wrote a (sad, sorry!!!!) short story about ice and birds and the end of the world and the lovely people at The Sunday Morning Transport were nice enough to publish it. You can read it here (it’s paywalled, but you can sign up for a free trial subscription here.)
A sailing festival goes like this: up at 8am for coffee start the cleaning at 8:30 (main saloon deck saloon toilets the laundry is always running during this time the nautical crew does the deck wash) welcome drinks poured at 9:30 out on deck with your little tray smiling vacantly Hallo! Herzlich wilkommen an bord! This one is o-saft and this one is sekt no that’s water not vodka ha ha aren’t you funny never heard that one before ha ha!!! another round yes of course!!! cast off at 10 run the empty glasses to the kitchen dishes dishes out with more drinks run the buffet dishes to the deck saloon (NOT across the deck!!!! go below through the cabins which means carry the buffet down one flight of stairs along the cabin corridor up one flight of stairs without falling down any stairs with a full tray of, I don’t know, remoulade very hot from the oven when the ship is heeling which is all the time) meal bell rings maybe five minutes of breathing time while the guests line up for buffet then out with more drinks back with all the buffet dishes out with more drinks wash all the dishes out with more drinks wash all the dishes mooring again at 15:00 all the guests off the boat Goodbye! Goodbye! Thank you very much come again! start the cleaning (main saloon deck saloon toilets the laundry is always running during this time the nautical crew does the deck wash) maybe if you are lucky half an hour comatose on deck then welcome drinks poured at 17:30 out on deck with your little tray smiling vacantly the whole thing all over again except this time the guests are likely to be much drunker maybe if you are lucky ten minutes to shovel whatever the guests haven’t eaten off the buffet down your gullet in the wheelhouse mooring again at 23:00 Goodbye! Goodbye! Thank you very much come again! clean at least the toilets so you don’t have to do it in the morning pass out up at 8am do the whole thing again.
Hansesail is not so tough, only four days in a row of this. Some of the festivals last ten. You have to understand that people who do this work for their real job do this from March to October seven days a week no full days off I’m not exaggerating. Festivals then week-long trips then festivals then two-week-long trips then festivals (the laundry is always running during this time).
If you are a sort of freelance toilet-cleaner/dishwasher/drinks-bringer it’s not so bad, because you only have to be exhausted to the point of psychosis for a handful of days in a row instead of months. But sometimes you will be so stupid from tiredness you will make mistakes that annoy both yourself and, much worse, your coworkers, like continually putting the drinks glasses away wet (SORRY KATHA) or using the wrong cleaner on the bathroom mirrors so your coworkers have to do them over again (SORRY KATHA). Sometimes you will knock over half the tray of welcome drink on yourself and, covered in champagne at 9am in the early stages of a sixteen-hour day, you will think Baby jesus in heaven what am I doing here I am 43 years old and being paid $4.50 an hour ——— !!!!!
And sometimes you will come up on the aft deck for a glasses round running running running six gin tonics for old guys next to wheelhouse four beers for checked shirt by rail one alster for weird guy with glasses yes of course no problem be right back with that—
—and stop, stop! Stop! and look around you at the huge golden sun swimming in fire at the edge of the blue world and the horizon alive with sails and the salt wind in your face and you will think Baby jesus in heaven what am I doing here how did I end up with the luckiest life in the human universe———! !!!!
Fig. 22. The view from rapture.
And sometimes the ship will sail from Rostock to Bremerhaven 72 hours no guests—tuck yourself up in the wheelhouse heat-dozy writing in your notebook, fall asleep on deck under the hot humid blue-bowl sky of August—sails up no responsibilities no phone signal not a single thought in your ratty old head—until the wind changes and you have to get up and help take down the sails again.
Or you’ll come out on deck again with your yoga mat at twilight during the long dreamy passage through the canal that carries the ship from the Baltic to the North Sea. Sit quiet and alone in the lowering dark piled high with lightning-flicker stormclouds, thinking of buoys and grief. Here is the buoy, moving in deep water. The buoy is subject to the weather, to the waves rolling through the sea, to the tides, to the wakes of sailing-ships and container ships and the massive ferries that cross the Baltic. But the buoy is tethered to the sea-floor, anchored in the weight of the earth, connected to what is solid by thread-fine line invisible from the surface.
These days, maybe we are all of us afloat in sorrow. Let us not forget the delicate lines linking us, unbreakably, to hope.
Fig. 24. The view from deck nap.
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Just brilliant 😅💚
I found you and I am so happy!!! Xoxo, Melissa