Posted by: tlnemethy | August 8, 2012

Naknek Day 6

The daily activities of plant life are definitely ingrained into my personal schedule now. I fear that I will wake to the shouts of “Fillet, fillet” for the rest of my days. ImageThe gear room is getting especially crowded during break times and following meals, I find myself always dodging flailing arms, rubber gloves coated in slime, and puddles of mystery substances all over the concrete floor. To get to my gear hook, I have to climb through a mass of wriggling bodies in various stages of frigid dampness and brush aside the spread of rain jackets and extra large rubber pants. No matter how long I leave my gear to dry, it will always be soaked through in the morning, well 10PM is my morning. I actually got punched in the face today as I was walking back from my break. Sure it wasn’t an epic brawl, but it got my blood pumping. It takes a very bored person to see a punch to the face as a welcome distraction. As disoriented as I was, I apologized for “running into” his fist and continued on to my mandatory station on the belt.  I now know to keep a wary eye on Turkish kids who struggle putting their sleeves on. Can’t say I haven’t done it myself, struggle that is, not punch someone in the face.

The grip of my fingers is surprisingly weak. I feel like a newborn reaching out to an extended finger to grasp,  but at least when babies hold on people say how surprised they are that the baby has such a good grip. If I were to shake someone’s hand at this point they would smirk and roll their eyes before giving up and casually remarking to their friends later what a limp shake I’d managed. Oddly enough, my biceps are getting either bigger or more defined through my “strenuous” and “excessive” tweezing. What is really hilarious is watching my put my pants on. Normally such a mundane task would be performed though a state of unconscious muscle memories, but now I have to direct each tiny muscle group of my hands and fingers to do precise movements at synchronized times. ImageI feel like I’m always working with my left hand; a floppy and lazy appendage that I’d always ignored for its brilliant sibling.

Towards the end of my shift tonight my boss came over to me and worked beside me for a while. I was chatting up a storm as usual, my hoarse voice barely audible over the thrum of the machinery and the screeching bangs of metal trays being moved on rickety carts. He kept looking at me with a weird expression on my face as I went back and forth from tweezing and cleaning the machine’s blade. Finally, he smiled and crooked his finger at me, motioning that I lean in towards him. I gingerly leaned over the conveyor belt, thinking he wanted to say something but he thought I wouldn’t be able to decipher it through a combination of the din and his accent. Slowly he reached up with his tweezers and peeled a large, dried-on piece of something from my face before going back to work. I laughed nervously. What else do you do after your boss picks a mystery crust from your cheek? I honestly hope it was salmon and not some large booger or something, especially since he used his work tweezers to remove it. Nothing that can be removed from your face by a tweezer wielding boss is  ever attractive. I hope he has forgotten all about it, but I know it will haunt my memories forever.

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