I apologize for being off topic regarding the TC-Chris love affair. It’s really not the point of my blog. Unfortunately, I think the next chapter will be solely on topic. Me alone, gay, and trying to figure things out again. So bear with me.
TC heads to Watford today to set-up for a week long training for the cruise ship. Basically, he’s housed in a dorm type setting with meals provided and bused over to the school for a full day’s activities. It’s a puppy mill. After a week of training, the firm will assign him a ship, hand him a ticket and in a matter of hours, TC will be jetting to meet the ship at the next port. It will happen very fast.
Cruise ships burn thru employees, particularly those from the first world countries who go seeking adventure and instead find repetitive work, long hours, modest pay and cramped living conditions. Dirt poor Filipinos fare better as wait staff and bus boys and used to enduring long period away from their families. Various Asians work as seamen where English isn’t a required language. Eastern Europeans toll as bartenders and activity managers. Shoppies need to look polished as they hawk jewelery, art and various sundry items. Spa personnel, tend hair, push teeth whitening, spa treatments and fancy hair care products. These sorts tend to be Western Europeans.
Those that interact with passengers are often solely working for commission. Typically they get 15% of the take. The cruise ship provides room & board and with good solid efforts, they can make an OK living. Performers get paid the most, lacking any sales capability. The various departments may be owned by the cruise line, or more likely subcontracted to specialty firms who basically ‘rent’ space on the ship.
There is a very clear class structure on the ship. Your waiter or cabin boy is not allowed to eat or even be seen in passenger areas. They must stay in crew areas, a small hidden outer deck and pool, often provided on large vessels for fresh air. Upper ranking personnel can eat/drink in public areas, though the crew has it’s own cheaper bar hidden below. It’s all work and no play and you often have little time to interact with other crew members outside of your department. Crew members of all types are expressly prohibited from entering a passenger cabin, they get fired immediately and put out at the next port. At sea, the captain is the law, rulings are rapid and sentencing immediate.
Sex happens. The gay on board offering ‘his’ services to married crew members needing a sexual outlet but not wanting to ‘cheat’ on their wives with another woman. The local slut taking care of those who don’t care. These little floating villages are full of scandals, rumour and intrigue. Who did what with whom, always makes for good banter.
But enough about that. It’s what’s about to unfold that will be horrid.
Until the second the ship pulls away from the dock, TC and I will be in touch. At sea, he will send me the occasional email consisting of 6 words and expect me to write as well. At a port-of-call, he will dash to a phone/internet center and call, hoping to reach me. We will enjoy these first conversations. We miss one another. We will express our unbridled love.
But time and distance will wear the ropes bounding us. Perhaps he’s out one night, someone cute, exotic or simply warm, he’s been drinking, a little kiss, touch, feel and something happens. Or maybe he finds another crew member to hang out with, a late night cabin visit unfolds. He won’t tell me when this happens. He’s human. He’s 26 and he’s somewhere out on the high seas. Suddenly, my importance in his life drops a notch.
The calls will get shorter in duration, ‘not much to talk about’. Then he misses one (I can’t call him after all) at some port where he said he would. Contact then go from once every few days to once a week. Then suddenly there is no future plan to talk, “I’ll call you when I can” and then comes nothing. Perhaps a tepid response to an email query, “I’ve been real busy, sorry”. Darkness falls.
This is how it’s going to play out. Long distance love with no future plan is a train wreck.
TC is young, inexperienced and a hopeless romantic, he believes it will all work out. He will start with the best of intentions no doubt. But as the weeks wear on, I will become a distant fond memory, but the reality of his situation dawns and well, he’ll just deal with it. Oh well.
I’m not sure whether I should be mad at him, myself or simply resigned that this is what it is. I guess like all situations, we will just deal with it when it comes. My problem, I see it coming.