In fact, I will never again have to endure that combination - at least, not as a member of the crew of a Los Angeles-class fast attack submarine. Yesterday, at 10:58 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, I heard the glorious words "the ship is moored" passed on the 1MC of USS Memphis, and I alloted myself a small cheer. For I have returned to homeport for the final time. Of course, it would be another three hours before I could finally leave the place. I am a nuke, after all. There were actually two departures from the boat yesterday. The first time I left, I did not bring my seabag, not wishing to haul those forty pounds a mile and a half to my car. Over a hill, no less. Then I got some beer, checked the post office for my mail, and went home.
Well, home in an intermediate sense. It's not quite home; that's on the other side of Long Island Sound. But it's also not a coffin-size enclosure opened and closed with a blue curtain, which is where I live - correction, lived - onboard the boat. For the first time in four weeks, I slept somewhere larger than roughly six by three by two feet, without the specter of someone coming to wake me up by speaking my last name across that blue curtain. The wonders of simply reveling in the comforts of the world on dry land! A bright blue sky overhead. Watching a Cornell-less Frozen Four. Dinner at Applebee's. Beer...a lot of beer. You can imagine all you want, but unless you've done this, you don't really know what it's like, and how much you miss those little things.
Completing my final underway brings some much more tangible finality to my time in the Navy, even though the official end isn't until Monday after next. It makes me think of how weird it will be to wake up in the morning (or afternoon, as the case may be) and not put on the
Finally, some randoms. While out to sea, I finished Emergency, read John Green's Paper Towns, and read Bar Flower a second time; thus I'm now three behind in the book club. Because today was an unexpected day off from work, I considered going home, but decided to stay here and recuperate. I'll make the trip next weekend, a trip that'll include "high-level talks" (read: discussions with my family about what's next). And I WILL get back into running; Cow Harbor is now only five and a half months away...