January 31, 2005 Monday
This is something about going out, the slow drawing away from the pier and the other moored ships, the water between us steadily expanding. Something is missing, to be sure- the heavy thud of canvas dropping from far above to be filled with a life-giving gale. Yet in a profession when tradition is emphasized until at times the practice seems strained, there is something engaging about casting off and going to sea, something ingrained in the romantic adventurer’s heart and millennia old. Our ship is not wooden, our destination has already been discovered, and we are driven by diesel not wind, yet there is still a connection to the seafarers of old. I do like this aspect.
I’m glad to also be back in Sonarworld for many reasons. Yes, I want to work in my actual rate and scrape some knowledge together before the next rating exam in March, but like the rest of my stay in the Navy my thoughts are more personal than professional. Any clue to if I am still leaving is as elusive as ever, so I am left to believing I am on my way out until I hear otherwise. So whatever time I have left I want to enjoy with everyone, and at least it has given me an appreciation for what works on the Nicholas, and I’ll try to write about my experiences with everyone as much as I can until Fate again intervenes.
The seas were rough today, high cresting waves with heavy spray, as it’s expected to remain during this underway. The division operates to a good deal independently of the rest of the ship, and is on a six-section duty rotation (made of a two or three person section). I don’t have duty until tomorrow morning with Rhea and Dammon. After cleaning for awhile up forward, where I normally work with Owens, Norwood (Johnson was generally no where to be found), Owens and I went to the very rear of the ship to the NIXIE compartment, where Rhea and Sean works. They had stolen Norwood’s portable speakers so they could blast Rhea’s ipod as we did crosswords together that I had stockpiled. We thought of how long until the next meal and told old stories and we rocked. This is what underway is like.
Perhaps a parallel corridor opened, or maybe the Bizarro World is a real place, because I have met my double. Occasionally, as it happens to most, I will run across a middle-aged couple who will swear I am a mirror image of their son, but they never have a picture to show. He’s here, on this ship, a new transfer from around Christmastime that I believe works in engineering. At first I heard of a “double,” a supposed twin a week ago, and yes, he does look eerily like me; pale, thin, the same facial structure, hair cut and color and slightly sloping nose. My eyes are too unique to be an exact match, but ever from up close it is remarkable. Sometimes I’ll look over while on the mess deck, and I swear he has the same posture, hunched over a book, absentmindedly playing with his hair and occasionally looking up to peer around the room. Even sounds like me. The strangest thing is- and I have past writings to back me up- that in college I had a dream or two in which I had a doppelganger named Ro. This very real sailor’s name is Rowe (Que Twilight Zone music…)
Tonight Napoleon Dynamite was played on the mess deck after dinner. I hadn’t seen the sleeper cult hit from last year, and it was pretty funny, but the guys in Gyro who run the movies must be fans, because it was running again later on. Geeze!