Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Perfect Storm

There I was - wearing only a pair of shorts and asleep on the floor of my room - comfortably, mind you at 6:30 in the evening. Little did I know when I started the day today, but a series of events would transpire over the past 48 hours that ended up with me in the state previously mentioned. In rough order of how these events came to pass -and a small window into life on the ship: The last time I slept I was actually able to clear out a pretty good chunk of time and I got some other work done early, so I was able to catch up on what I've been missing this week working both during the day and again at night. I went to bed instead of going to lunch and woke up around 6 or 7 in the evening. Needless to say, I was rested. The flight schedule came out and I saw I had a flight the following day -briefs at 10 in the morning and we were going to fly from noon to 2pm. Awesome - always a good time to feel the breeze, see the sun, and get my nose burned a little - ow. Given what time it was, I knew I wouldn't be able to get to bed early, and my schedule was pushed enough back to the right that the flight would just be at the end of my day - good deal. So I did my normal thing, had a good work out, some breakfast with a coffee, and went to the brief / flight.
While I was working in the morning before the flight, the ship went through a series of drills called "General Quarters" or "GQ" for short -and no, GQ on the ship does not offer the same refined, intriguing, and hip experience as the magazine of the same name. It's how the ship prepares for various catastrophes that might befall a ship such as this - explosions, flooding, fires, that kind of thing - and given our recent experiences, none of these are too far out of the realm of possibility. The key element that this that contributed to the 'perfect storm' is that whenever they do these drills, they shut off all of the air conditioning. So unbeknownst to me as I got the aircraft ready and did my flight, my room back at the ship was quietly baking and getting warmer with each passing minute.
Although, I will come to find that one of the room's saving graces is that (being made out of metal as I previously learned) the floor is always cool to the touch - and can be refreshing to walk on in your bare feet. More on that later.
The flight itself was really good - there are some pictures that hopefully will work and will be posted with this. I can't say exactly where it is, but for the sake of my wife and my parents - yes, honey -it's safe. Safe and crazy hot. I drank a lot of water, but with so much wind, you don't really realize how much water you lose throughout the time.
So when I got back and stowed the aircraft, I went down to my room and realized that it was actually cooler outside on deck with the breeze than down in my room now with no air circulation. Unfazed, I had about 7 hours before I needed to be up again so I took a shower, read a little, and then crashed in bed - just wearing some shorts because of the sauna that is now my room - I always sleep better when I'm exhausted regardless - like that really heavy deep sleep where you feel like there's a weight pressing down on you because you don't move a muscle. So that's exactly where I was when the phone rang. I don't think I've told you about the phone in my room - if I have, it's worth explaining again - the sound of that phone is
Imagine 1 part screeching tires, 2 parts train wreck, half a part explosion, and a touch of breaking glass, and you get something close to this abomination of a communication device. Compound that with the fact I am the only person in my room who will get up to answer the thing to make it shut up and you get the idea. To recap: I'm exhausted, dehydrated, sore, about 2 hours into my recovery in a hot, muggy room, and my muscles are beginning to atrophy from disuse while I'm passed out. And that stupid phone is ringing - the only way to make it stop is to tell the person on the other end to stop calling, so I jump out of bed - yeah - great idea, right? Except the chair isn't where it was before, my legs don't work, and I'm not even sure if I'm awake or just dreaming this horrible sound. So yeah - I trip / crash / fall / crumble to the floor and I can't control my body. I tell my legs to get up and my arms flail around. Weird, huh? At least I thought so. Again, unfazed, I end up trying to crawl to the phone. In between rings of the phone I find that I'm actually nodding off there on the floor. (Don't worry, honey - it's clean) But sure enough, **RING** - crawl -stop - doze - darkness - silence - **RING** - crawl - stop - doze - etc, etc. I go through that cycle a couple of times and the caller eventually gives up - awesome - the sound is gone. Now it's just: stop- doze - darkness - nice, cool floor - sleep.
And that's where you would have found me - around 6:30 in the evening -sleeping comfortably on my floor wearing a pair of shorts. A perfect storm.

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