The school of seamanship is not like an ordinary school. It features a bar, cigarette machines, and graduation after only three weeks. It is for people wishing to extend their seafaring knowledge, upgrade as its called, and it is also for people like me, about to make a drastic change in their life, sailing Hawaii and working for a most unprofittable cruise line.
After gradutaion, one would imagine it is time to leave the institution. Nothing doing, a Merchant Mariners Document is needed to work aboard U.S. flagged ships. Most of us apply in the first week, and most of us will find ourselves waiting many weeks after graduation. During this time, the school of seamanship becomes a school of dicking around, and we find amazing ways to pass the time. We fly kites, we blow bubbles, we steal cereal only to steal it, we sleep until nine and then watch Sesame Street.
If you smoke, you'll probably smoke at least an additional ten cigarettes each day. If you dont, you may well take it up, as it is a prominent social activity here.
Some people drink, but thats dangerous. A BAC over .04 will get you sent home.
And some of us will turn to romance, or casual sex as a means of passing the time.
I wasn't trying to find anyone at the school, nor am i now, in Hawaii. I simply wished for going to sea away from everything I know, all of eighteen years old, and hopefully doing a little self discovery. And make a shitload of money and live in fucking Hawaii, man!
Of course, someone came my way. She was in my class, and two years older than me, and pretty as hell, but until graduation we didnt talk so much. We're both rather quiet, but me much more so than her. But our friends overlapped, and we found ourselves together in a dorm one night, with everyone else, watching some movie. I hardly said anything, but the next day, she told me when I did say something, it meant something (and that made me more like Ross than Chandler whether i liked it or not, but nevermind)and that i could make her laugh. And we found another common interest, clove cigarettes. I had a carton of them mailed to me, and i gave her a couple. Then, right before we went to the same room to watch a movie that night, we went to my room so I could...hmm, I totally forgot, get some mints or something.
I lit a clove in there, and we shared it. It remeinded my of another node of mine, about sharing cloves, and I showed it to her. Its pretty fucked up, I warned her. She loved it. She wrote too.
The next night, she wanted to watch the sunset with me. We did. I didnt try anything.
Then, excuses to hang out ran out, and i saw less and less of her, and kind of slunk back into the me I'd thought I left back in New York. Then I heard she was leaving, so I wrote her a note because it was now or never. It said she was very pretty and I love every word she says.
And it was in Spanish, because I didn't have the balls to write it in English. I handed her it with the advice she may wish to wait awhile before it is translated.
It was too late, she'd gotten with someone else. It was very casual though. Everyone else assures me, we had a connection and I blew it. If I'd spoken earlier I'd have been in.
She's on a different ship than me. Sometimes I see other ships from the deck of this one. It could be a container ship, or a fishing boat, but I always think she's on it. If I told her, maybe something wouldve happened. Maybe we could have put in a same ship request. She told me, the day after I gave her the note, we just had to be on the same ship. We were just in the smoking area, bullshitiing like nothing happened. But now shes gone. Aloha. Maybe I should hope for aloha, ea. I don't know.
This is how it always goes down. I am me, in New York, Maryland, or Hawaii. This is how I always lose out. By not trying.
And I really feel like there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.