The policy governing our visit here is, as usual, overbearing and restrictive. The "buddy system" cherished by the Seagoing Military Force is once again in effect, as has been the case since I reported on board Memphis. Any personnel movement off the installation is authorized only in multiple-man teams. That's the primary reason why I don't intend to leave the base. Among other things, beer, fast foods, Internet, and laundry are all readily available inside the confines of NS Mayport. On top of that, there's a sliding curfew for the enlisted members; as an E-5, I have to be done with my activities by 0100. I did submit a special request for overnight liberty, but that only allows me to obtain lodging in town (at my expense); it doesn't let me stay out in the bars later. Those of lower paygrade have a liberty expiration time of midnight. This doesn't take into account such factors of import as time on board, age, and previous liberty record (unless you're a screw-up, in which case additional restrictions are applied with a quick trigger). How well does the system work? Well, a member with a known predilection toward physical intoxication exited a moving vehicle and face planted into a stop sign; repairing that damage required fifteen stitches. Based on that little tidbit, judge for yourself.
The fact that there isn't anyone on board that I particularly want to roll out with isn't the only reason for my self-confinement to the base. Even a single hard night on the town can go a significant distance toward reversing the one huge benefit of this lengthy underway - the rapidly rising level of my bank account. Last year, I got out of both Mayport and Port Everglades dropping only about $150 in each; I'd like to do as well or better here. The comfort of this air-conditioned building is far preferable to the external conditions here right now. And in this air-conditioned building, I've been able to accomplish a lot of research on post-SMF plans of attack, as well as plans for the leave I expect to be coming at the end of next month. All I know is that I intend to hit Boston on the opening weekend and spend most of the second week back at my ancestral home. As for the intervening four days, I've got a bunch of different plans involving various combinations of planes, trains, and automobiles (no, really).
When I get back to the Armpit of New England, I'll relate something deep that happened during the last underway. The deepest nerve I have was unintentionally struck, and it's something more than worth talking about, but I need more time to process the events.