Monday, January 17, 2011

Hump Day

Today is Hump Day. Hallelujah!! I never thought it would ever get here.

My sister introduced me to the concept of Hump Day years and years ago. I think she was still working at Motor Vehicle Registration at the time, and that wasn’t yesterday! For most people, the revered Hump Day falls on Wednesday, the mid-point of the work week. You're over the hump and it’s all down hill from there.

Those of us with less well-defined work weeks have to customize Hump Day a bit, but it’s there. It’s just a matter of finding it.

Well, I have, and today is mine. Yippee!!

Twenty-one days ago, I flew out to my ship, and I’ll be flying the heck outta here in 21 days from now. It’s neat. It’s clean. It’s very straightforward. And it’s a joyful milestone!

I try not to focus on the fact that, if I was working on the Grand Banks right now, today would be Going Home Day, not Hump Day. But y’know? When my time off Hump Day rolls around, they are heading back to work, while I still have another 21 days of leisure ahead of me, so it cuts both ways in the long run!

That crowd on the Grand Banks don’t have the luxury of such a clear-cut Hump Day as we do. When you work 21 days, which day is Hump Day? It can’t be Day 10, because you still have 11 to go. It’s too late by the time you get to Day 11, because you’ve only got 10 to go. It’s just not as precise, and I do appreciate precision!

One guy I used to work with on the Grand Banks used to measure the length of his hitch with Q-Tips. He’d bring 21 Q-Tips with him, to clean his ears each morning (despite my protests against this unadvised habit!) So, towards the end of our hitch, he’d say, “We’ve got 5 Q-Tips left before we go home!”

Back in 1998, I was on an oil rig that was crossing the Atlantic to the Grand Banks. A fishing net got caught up in our thrusters, affecting our ability to make our own fresh water from the seawater. Because of this, towels and other laundry were rationed, so we were only issued with one fresh towel every three days. As the sail went on, one guy from Torbay would be heard to say, “Four more towels and we’ll be home!” "Three more towels!" And so on. It still makes me laugh to think about it.

So, you see, whether it’s by Hump Day calculations, or Q-Tip or towel counts, the primary thing that is on every offshore worker’s mind is the day we get to to home. And for Newfoundlanders, that day is extra sweet. In the words of John Crosbie, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland:

“You can always tell the Newfoundlanders in Heaven. They’re the ones who want to go home.”

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