Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tomorrow is my Friday

I'm so tired that there aren't words to describe it. A 12.5 hour day, plus a half hour driving each way, is really intense. I can very easily see the points in the day where I get overly tired, because my landings turn to shit. Like, slamming into the ramp and making the whole boat lurch. Which then makes me curse up a blue streak. And hope the door to the cabin is shut so the friendly tourist passengers don't hear me.

So many random people have come on the boat. A huuuuge portion of the daily riders are people who say, "I was just following my GPS and all of a sudden it said I was going on a ferry!" Really? Do people just blindly follow their GPS's and not question the routes at all? Today, I had 67 vehicles, and I'd say at least 10 of them were blind GPSers. Tomorrow, I'm going to keep a tally. It truly fascinates me. I'm such a geographer, a mapper, and so very aware of where I am and where I'm going when traveling. I can't fathom not really paying attention to where I'm going like that.

Last night, at 6:59, I was walking up the steep hill to lock the gate on the west bank. A car came barreling down, and sure enough, she was a GPS follower. She barely had enough change in her car for the toll, but she was so grateful that I let her on, that I was here, and that I didn't lock her out and send her around, that she opened the trunk of her car. She was a distributor for Wrigley's gum, and she simply said, "do you like gum?" The trunk of her car was like Willy Wonka's factory or something. I ended up with like 10 packs of Orbit gum and a few things of life savers. Seriously you guys, I'm not asking people for stuff, it's just randomly falling into my lap.

Another odd car: This afternoon, a car came on, and the couple got out to gossip with me. The husband was from the Louisiana Bayou, and I swear I could only understand about 2 words in 3. Awesome accent. He said there were tons of ferries in Louisiana, across the Mississippi and around the Delta. And he said his cousin was a captain on one of those riverboat casinos. Evidently, even though the casinos are stationary, and are built in pools and will NEVER travel on the river, because they're a boat, they're required to have a captain on board at all times. Anyway, he said something about how much money being a captain must make, and guessed an hourly wage almost exactly what I make. And when I sort of blushed, cause I didn't want to say that's what I made, he cracked up and said, "If you make that much money, I want to marry you! I love my wife, but I want your money!"

Oh! and a guy offered me a joint today. He and his girlfriend came aboard and said that my job must be so perfect, and "dooooood, it'd be even better with a bowl." I laughed and said yeah, it'd be nice, but I had to actually be able to pay attention. He actually offered me a joint right there. Nice offer....but no. I in the random drug testing program at work. Plus, I don't want stories to get out, "hey, that ferry chick? She drives it stoned!"

Yesterday morning, I looked up the ramp, and there was my dad, coming to hang out. He brought his guitar and music setup, and sat around making awesome music for about 3 hours. It was really nice!
Driving the boat has become totally routine. I was so worried that it'd take me forever to get good at the landings. I worried that as the water levels changed, I'd have a hard time adjusting. But I'm doing this every day. I've got this. I'm so pleased at how completely I've got this. As the river changes, I'll see it, and adjust without even noticing.

The regulars are starting to notice me and introduce themselves to me. I'm starting to recognize them, as well. I love how people really aren't in a hurry to get across the river. I love that I often stand there and talk to them for 5 minutes before I even take them across the river.

As tired as I am, I'm trying to do simple things once I get home at night, so that I'm not just eating and going straight to bed. Like, make dinner and do the dishes. That sort of simple. But it does help. It makes me feel less like the ferry is consuming my life. Next week will be better. I think it'll take a few weeks to get used to the schedule and the long days, but it's only 4 days. I get 3 day weekends! I figure, it's one day to recuperate and sleep, and 2 days to have a weekend. And it's really nice to have weekdays off. I think having Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off is about as perfect as it gets.

So yeah, things are pretty good. My feet hurt, I'm tired, my house is a mess, and I'm running out of clean laundry, but this ferry thing? I've got it.

1 comment:

  1. Jenny I love the stories that your sharing with us! We get so see the world through your geographer eyes. I cnt way to come back and hang out with you on the ferry. Xxxxxxxx