Tag Archives: commuting

Sailing Away

As you are aware my commute includes a ferry ride,( See “Street Life”) which you would think would be a relaxing way to travel, but you’d be wrong. The morning commute is pretty painless unless I forget something and have to go back into the house. I’ve done this on more than one occasion and arrived at the terminal in time to hear the  warning announcement that boarding is due to end to allow the boat to depart on time.  Often I will simply not bother to go back for a forgotten item as missing the boat means  being 45 minutes late for work. Also, the 7:20 sailing is commonly known as the “Slacker boat”, and I have no desire to be seen on that one.

I now spend the crossing walking around the sun deck, going up and down the stairs at either end in a feeble attempt to get some exercise and with any luck lose some weight. If you have to ask “How is that working out?” you obviously haven’t seen me lately. My main gripe is with the evening sailing.

I finish work at 4 p.m. and that gives me time to stop off at the library and still make the boat with time to spare. Lately, this has been the least of my worries. You would think that with no traffic issues, a crossing time that is easily met at much less than full speed and  alleged cut off times for loading the boats would leave on time. But Nooooooo. For at least the last month, I have arrived at the terminal as late as 4:25 only to see the boat in the middle to far distance. How difficult is it to run on time? last week the boat left an astonishing 25 minutes late! Whisky Tango Foxtrot? Is it laziness, incompetence, a requirement to save fuel or the fact that they all have well paid union jobs? I hate to go all Lily Tomlin, but the ferry service motto really should be “We don’t care. We don’t have to.”

It would be bad enough in the winter but this summer has made things unbearable. Let me explain: We are not equipped for temperatures in the high eighties for weeks on end, and this is particularly true of the ferry terminal building. There is no ventilation other than one set of sliding doors leading to the boarding ramp which are left open and a side door to the outside walkway. This means that lining up in front of the turnstiles quickly resembles a visit to the world’s most prudish sauna as a couple of hundred tired commuters cram into an airless waiting area with too few seats. This is not the most relaxing way to end the workday as you can imagine, especially as most people arrive sweaty, tired and ready for home.

I choose to wait on the walkway which at least gives me some fresh air and occasional breeze but I still have to run the gauntlet once the incoming passengers have disembarked. I try to pick what looks like a fast moving line but inevitably end up in a line containing tourists, usually from the Midwest who regard public transportation as some form of socialism and only one step removed from a U.N. takeover of the United States.  They are identified by their dull eyed, slack jawed, doughy faces which quickly take on a confused and befuddled demeanour as they fail to comprehend how to pass through the turnstiles. “There’s a bloody picture taped to the top of the machine showing you which way to swipe the ticket you moron!”  I don’t actually scream this, but oh, how I want to. Sentences not taken directly from the bible seem to be beyond them, but surely they can relate the picture on the turnstile  to the ticket in their hand? Presumably they don’t have ferries in Jesusland, or indeed any boats except for replicas of Noah’s Ark.

Eventually we are able to shuffle aboard and I head topside to continue my walk. I’m by no means the only person who does so, and most people amble along, taking in the view or chatting with friends. There is one exception though. He looks like a perfectly ordinary office worker, but once on the top deck he changes.  I’m not sure what disturbs me more: the fact that he removes his shirt before he strides purposefully around the deck as if on a mission, or his pierced nipples.

The now routine lateness of our arrival means that I can no longer get to the post office before it closes. Not a major inconvenience as life goes, but enough of a pain to make it awkward for me to pick up any packages too large to fit in my P.O. box other than at the weekend. This is particularly galling at the moment as I’m waiting for a very important package: A starter motor for a jet ski I’m restoring.

Leave a comment

Filed under Transportation

Career Opportunities.

One of the long running themes of this blog has been my lack of gainful employment and the search thereof. Well, things have changed. About three weeks ago I was looking through Craig’s List on one of my regular job hunting days and found a few positions worth wasting electrons on and duly applied. Imagine my surprise when later that day I received a call asking if I’d be interested in an interview which we set up for two days later. The interview went well, I thought as I turned on the charm and put on my best accent, but even so, it came as a bit of a shock to be offered the job that very same day and started the following Tuesday immediately after Martin Luther King Day.

How big is your office? How many people are you managing? What are your team members like?    I hear you say. Well, don’t. To be honest it’s a pretty basic job with a paycheque to match, but at least it has a good health plan and a reasonable amount of PTO. The other pluses are that it is just a 15 minute walk from the boat so I don’t have to worry about commuting or being late, and as I work 7:30 – 4:00 I am home at a reasonable hour, although having to get up at 4:45 is a bit of a pain. I don’t mind getting up that early for the football, but it is taking me quite a while to get used to doing so on a daily basis. The funny thing is that the 6:20 boat is the same one I used to get when I worked in the city many years ago, but seeing as I can get up later than in those days and can get to bed by 10.pm it isn’t as bad as it could be.

You may be wondering why I accepted such a low level position when I have the paper qualifications for something much better. Well, it’s all that was available. I’ve been trying for a hell of a long time to get some sort of job, but to no avail. At least now that I have a job it will be easier to get another one, although I will have to put in a few months at least here before I start looking round for something else.  Another thing is that a job doesn’t just provide a paycheque. It also provides an identity, a community and an underlying organising principle: I’ve had too long being on my own in the house with no real schedule once the morning is through, and it is rather pleasing to be able to wear a nicely ironed work shirt and Dockers again after all these years. Yes, I know it’s not much but at least it gets me out of the house and among other people.

Spending too much time alone in your own head can be both debilitating and self destructive: there were days when if I didn’t go to the gym I’d have no contact with another living soul and wouldn’t even step out of the front door, so being on a regular schedule has been good for me. The people in the office, whilst rather quiet are all pretty friendly, at least the ones who have spoken to me, and it makes a difference not to have a constant background noise burrowing into one’s brain.   Having said that, though, construction on a new hotel is underway just  a block to the south and they are in the middle of sinking the piles for the building at a rate of anything up to 10 a day. The effect is rather like having a hangover without the benefit of the previous night’s revelry, or for the more erudite among you it is like being on the set of  Ace In The Hole. 

If there is another down side it is that by the time I get home I have barely the time, let alone the energy to do any housework so my home is slowly degenerating into the state usually associated with single guys. I do get some time at the weekends, but seeing as most of them are spent either at my Sweetie’s house or with the kids even they don’t give me a lot of time. Still, it beats the alternative.

Leave a comment

Filed under employment