Monday, February 01, 2010

It's a living

At my *real* job, I frequently have to deal with crew members from cruise ships. They're...interesting. They're all foreign, with names that have lots of Xs, Zs and what looks like an upside down question mark. They tend to wear sweaters that Cliff Huxtable would have passed on. They all smoke and no two smell alike, even though they all smell awful. I realize this sounds xenophobic and maybe even a little bit racist, but I don't mean it to be...and I don't see how it can be since I don't even have have an idea what country these guys are from. They all kind of look like extras from the scene in Marion's bar in "Raiders of the Lost Ark". Asia? Eastern Europe? I honestly don't know. The kind of place where everybody smokes all the time and goats are treated both better and worse than you would expect? Probably somewhere like that. The kind of place where the flag is a buffalo. And I don't mean a piece of cloth with a picture of a buffalo on it, I mean the flag is actually a buffalo. Every time one wanders through a village, everyone has to stand up and salute. Yes, that kind of place. I realize that last part sounds overtly xenophobic and racist. I'd apologize but that's kind of what I was going for.
These gentlemen engage in quirky behavior that can make dealing with them a challenge...
"Is...is that guy smoking an onion? It looks like it. And it damn sure smells like it. Either way, tell him to put it out! No smoking...and no produce in here!"
But sometimes I learn interesting things from these guys. For instance, I learned last night that "Wiper" is a job on a cruise ship. No, not asses...wait..no, I'm sure it's not asses. Other stuff. It's a guy's job to wipe things on a ship. Do you think Wipers get together after a hard day and talk shop?
"You should have seen this surface I came across today. It had some kind of oily residue on it. So I was like, 'aw man, they're gonna want somebody to wipe that' and then I just went ahead and did it. Such is my life, that of a Wiper."
And not only are there wipers, there are "Assistant Wipers"!
"You're looking good out there, Xz¿zxz¿zx. You really help wipe things. But while you've got potential, I'm just not sure you're ready to move up yet. I'll review your performance again in six months."

2 comments:

Wildhair said...

Maybe they meant 'snipers' but in their broken English it sounded like wipers ... ?? maybe?

Why, it's Clark! said...

Au contraire, ma Wildhair! They have very official paperwork that identifies them quite clearly as a "wiper". I'd like to say I could make things like that up.