Posted by: tlnemethy | August 10, 2012

Naknek Day 7

I woke up and realized that I’ve completely lost feeling in the tips of my toes. The big toes are definitely the worst, but the littler ones are on their way. I don’t like the way the blanket rubs them because it feels like my toes are foreign, like I am suddenly able to understand the toes of another. I just want my own toes back. I won’t call my mum today because I’m calling papa bear, I really only have enough time after work gets out to wait in line for one phone call. And mum got the last one. Maybe he’ll enjoy my stories and my monotone weariness.

I hope I make super crew, but at the same time I just want to sleep for more than five hours and be able to shower in the same night. Internet would be nice too. Super crew is a lone group of stragglers who stay at the plant longer than the mainline crew. They continue working after the main rush of salmon has ended and we shift the fillet lines from five to only one. How prestigious would it be for me to be chosen for Super Crew after arriving late and after many of the crew members had already been pegged? I always work hard, even when I’d rather flop onto the conveyor belt and get packaged into little baggies. Sometimes its just nice to get a little pat on the back.

I saw Linda pounce on an unsuspecting sleeper in a hoodie today. She gave her the “I’m watching you” sign before threatening to send her to fish house. I love how fish house is a punishment. There are a bunch of crews that work at the plant; Fish House does the decapitating of the salmon and guts and gills them, Fillet takes the decapitated fish and turns them into clean and proportioned sides of fish, Roe Room steals the eggs from the carcasses for caviar, and Vac Pac seals the fish into bags for shipping. There are other departments of course, but those are the biggies that people work in.  My roommate once told me that working here is like working in a sweatshop summer camp: we get rewarded with fake monopoly money for candy bars at the store and punished with the slime line that is Fish House. I secretly want to know what the slime line entails.

I ate an apple today. You may think that is a boring thing to write about, but when this place only offers food that has been canned in the early 30’s, I get excited over what I can. This was the first piece of fruit I’ve found here and I ogled it for a while, half expecting it to be some sort of illusion or food mirage. I sat eating my rice and watching the apple on my tray, just watching it sit there and look tempting. I knew I didn’t have much time to eat it, and apples really do take a lot longer to eat than say a pudding cup or French fries. I told myself to hoard it for later when I could savor it, I planned it out in my mind while I was scarfing my plain rice: I’d put it in the pocket of my smelly fish overalls and retrieve it at the end of my shift. I was  steadfast in my thoughts even as I saw my hand act of its own accord and bring that shiny apple to my mouth. It only dawned on me that I was ruining everything when I tasted the beautiful flesh. Sleep deprivation is making me senile and slightly ridiculous.

At best though, everyone who works here has to be sort of crazy. We play pranks just to pass the monotony. My supervisor grabbed my foot from under the conveyor belt today as I was pulling bones and I jumped. Apparently he just went down the line of the conveyor belt, grabbing ankles to scare people. My supervisors are hilarious. I bent down to look under the belt and found him returning to work, hosing the pink slime off the concrete of the floor and the metal of the machinery. I knew he was going to look up so I grabbed a fillet from the line and dangled it from my fingertips. He caught my eye and I mimed throwing it at him, the thing had to have been two feet long so he panicked and jerked back in surprise. He laughed though, what a keeper. Even if he was the one who told me writers don’t make any money and I should find a better professional goal.

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