Posted by: tlnemethy | August 15, 2012

Naknek Day 9

A friend of mine named Jinky only sleeps two hours a night. I don’t know how that is possible after having to work so long. I’m already on a version of autopilot and I‘m floundering. I wish I was an indistinguishably ageless Philippino woman. Mostly because of the superhuman lack of sleep, but also because she’s a little bad ass.

My Tech sweatshirt smells of microwaved salmon because I got so feverish during my shift that the caked on chunks are beginning to cook. I also have the plague. Apparently most people up here get the plague at some point, from lack of sleep, exposure to cold temperatures and close living quarters. I wasn’t expecting to get sick because I have the immune system of a boss. Bad choice on my part. You know I’m sick when I rummage through my backpack for anything resembling a lose pill, and finally turning to the pack of ginger chew candy I’d bought but found disgusting enough to never eat.  Ginger chews are helping, but I’m running low and have rationed myself to one for breakfast and, if its really bad, one for dinner shift.

I had my first conveyor belt dream last night. Don’t remember any of it, but I woke up to a spinning loft, climbing down my ladder to go to work was much more difficult than it normally would be. It lasted almost ten minutes, ending just when I was putting my rain gear on to find me some salmon to debone. They are very common here, common enough for me to hear about them throughout my stay from pretty much everyone I ever met. People also hear their names whispered over the machines. That one has been plaguing me for the entire season. I think it is haunted. Really.

The salmon are slowing down so we probably only have about four or so 16s left. The plague has struck me hardcore and I was covered in salmon and attempting to contain my runny nose within an hour of working. I even sneezed inside my sweatshirt so as to not infect the salmon. I worry that neither my hygiene standards nor my health will never recover. I  just ate an orange hunched in a bathroom stall. What more can I say. Literally, hunched in a stall. My work addled mind finds this a suitable alternative to waiting five seconds for my room. I really need some fruit as my teeth felt lose again this morning. How fast does scurvy set in?

I want to be on super crew and I don’t want to be at  the same time. At this point, I’m fairly certain that I will be chosen. Linda and David made sure to put me on line one today, and Linda even made a point to tell me, “get by your machine, girl.” I think she’s finally accepted me as a worker. I never realized how similar to band this plant would be. I mean first seat in band is reserved for the best of the best, same here. First line of conveyor belt gets the best cuts of fish and has the best workers to send up the best quality. I just made first chair. Boo yah.
Linda even joked around with me today after she doused me in water from a faulty sprayer inside the deboning machine. Sure I was sopping and soaked through my sweatshirt, but at least we could have fun with a few hours left in the arctic temperatures of the fillet zone. The music helps so much. It at least gives me a reason to dance awkwardly and keep my feet warm at the same time. David and I danced together today as I was cleaning the machine. Now, I’m not usually one to dance with other people, but David is so charismatic that he can get anyone to dance with him. I love this place so much more than the lodge. Except the people. I really miss the people.

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