June 13, 2005 Monday
I am again out to sea. My standard line I know, that I don’t want to going out yet again, but it is harder still to read in the Portfolio that Collective Soul will be in Norfolk on Tuesday, Modest Mouse on Wednesday, and on Thursday (for only fifteen freakin’ dollars!) the Wallflowers at the Norva. This weekend though, when we’re we’re back in port? Nada, nothin’. Oh well. There’s still Robert Plant on the fourth of July.
And I am excited about next Saturday. The exact work I’ll be doing I won’t even find out til I get there, but the open-ended possibilities is very appealing. I read about some environmental groups working this week in the James River. I’d like to do it all. Some inter-personal work is what I really want to do, but helping to clean up a little parcel of the world is important too. Those “types” are derisively called, with a roll of the eyes, tree-huggers at my currently, manly place of employment. Yep, call me a tree-hugger, whatever.
The captain is keen on volunteering the ship for different things. Whether it was the British/French/American love-in a month ago or having Boy Scout troops tour the ship on the weekend we have the opportunity often to go beyond our hum-drum duties. This a positive in every way of course- I never thought I would ever be rubbing elbows with a French fleet commander or “common” Royal swabbies. It beats going out to a movie. The captain was at it on Friday. The Elrod participated in Harbor Fest and its parade of ships; I far I could tell we were the navy ship. We lined up in the early afternoon along the lines, dressed in crisp summer whites as we slowly made our way to the downtown. I only hoped the sun wouldn’t give one of those annoying sunburns straight across my forehead of my cap, to make me look like a raccoon… It was alright, those at the park cheered and the boaters took pictures, so if they liked it then it’s okay. I’d probably stop and take notice too, if I have to be honest, if I wasn’t already embroiled in the sea life.
I really want to send you a few of the pictures I took last week but I questioning if it will be possible. Since it was taken by the ship’s camera it seems more and more likely that any pictures on the share drive have been blocked from being sent out, to guard against one security thing or another. I can understand that, really, but the pictures I want to send aren’t exactly of the engines. I’m proud of a few of my shots (is a water balloon fight paramount to national security?) and I even found a few of me. The one I really want is of me playing ball and with the rest of the team. The good memories I will cherish are readily apparent.
Example #24548918 of Navishness:
The officers have bought a new TV for their wardroom. They should get a TV, after all, the enlisted got DVD players for the lounge (the players can only do that–play discs–without a benefit of forward, reverse, ect.) The plasma set the now entertains our noble officers was $5,000. That would be okay too, I guess, if when we returned late Friday afternoon wouldn’t have had to find our way to our cars. We pulled in at pier on the opposite side of the base from the one we left from, but the Elrod couldn’t get a bus to transport the crew because their coffers are kaput–how could that happen… Officers walked too, it must be said, like my own division ensign, so the whole thing seems to boil down to a lack of foresight. But that’s a scary proposition in itself. Once I got to my car I felt the only right thing to do was to turn around and start picking up the straggling, salty souls sweating along the road. The ship as a whole needs more selflessness, but this will only be accomplished by a good example.
I’m starting to feel like the visitor at my own house I’m staying at for six months, in a nearby Norfolk neighborhood, since I have been away so much. The house is noticeably cleaner then when the guys were here–imagine that! The female cat, still subjected to the outside, but now at least fed well, had been dragging around in the last weeks. She gave birth some time last week to yet another two kittens, of what survived. They are some where outside but she has them hidden well. Today it has been a lot of little things, packing for the coming week, doing laundry, and for lunch I cooked jumbalaya. I almost feel domestic, and normal, like the rest of you lucky, lucky people.