We completely agree on the grueling nature of three-section duty. For those not familiar with the Navy, let me break this out in excruciating detail. Every third day, I have to spend the entire day - that's twenty-four straight hours - on the boat. In my case, I spend twelve of those hours standing watch in the propulsion plant, watching a panel that rivals a growing cactus in terms of its ability to hold my interest. And it only gets worse from there, like when the guy next to me decides to go on a twenty-minute roll about some games called Starcraft and Warhammer 40K, neither of which I'd ever played, or even heard of. That actually focused my attention on the panel - it was the easiest way of tuning him out. I kept a mental track of how much time I spent at work over a three week period, and it averaged out to eighty-seven hours a week. When you account for overtime for each hour above forty (as would be the case in the civilian sector), I was compensated at an average rate of only $8.16 per hour for the time.
I'm nowhere near as homesick as Ray is; that no doubt owes to the fact that distance between me and my home (300 miles) is one-tenth the distance that between Ray and his home (3,000 miles). Another big factor affecting this is the fact that a rather large percentage of my friends and other high school classmates have gotten out of Northport, be it across the East River or across the continent. And I don't have to face the question of shore duty as Ray does; I know exactly where I'll be transferring when my term on Memphis is up - the civilian corps.
I had fully intended to go out Friday night, but I'd been up since 11:00 pm on Thursday, and a bit of beer exposed this fatigue at about 9:30 on Friday night. A half hour later, I awoke, went to my own bed, and collapsed for about eleven hours. I had expected Dave to host a celebration on Saturday, in honor of his going under 100 days left in the Navy*, but the rain that always seems to plague the Seacoast struck again Saturday afternoon, eliminating possibilities of grilling. Seeing as there was no activity coming from the back of his apartment, I elected to pass, which left me with quite a dilemma. I had purchased twelve for beers for his gathering, which would continue to reside in my refrigerator. This left me with a total of 22 beers...and thus I had some work to do. Less than four hours - and ten drinks - later, I was well hammered and passed out in my bed. I was quite fortunate that Sunday was not an exacting duty day, as it afforded me additional time to rest - and sleep off the hangover.
* The long form title of this event was the "Prelude to the Conclusion of Indentured Servitude in the Seagoing Military Force."