This rig is limited with activity. Since my initial positive encounters with the company man, I’ve since elected to avoid him. I rewrote his son’s resume, and helped him apply to jobs. Every time he sees me, he asks me whether or not I’ve eaten. He never believes me, and asks two or three times if I’ve eaten. Are you sure, he asks further. Then he’ll ask what I ate. I‘m a grown person. I’m at my job. I didn’t get here by not knowing how to feed myself. Of course, I have to stop by his office once a day just to find out what the status is on the rig and if there’s any idea when we’ll get to work. Standby time can be fun, if the rig is well equipped with activities. This rig is not. There is a “gym”. This space is a clear container placed beneath the heli-deck with a set of weights. I hardly will subject myself to working out in a see through room. People can barely walk up stairs or open doors when they see me on the rig, see this post. The company man will ask me where I’ve been or what I’m doing. Its a rig… where would I go? What could I possibly be doing? Absolutely nothing.
The absolutely nothing consists of the following. Let’s walk through a day in the standby life, as told by Laila.
The day begins during the night, when I wake up invariably to aching back pains. My pillow smells faintly of smoke. I switch positions, but the stiffness in my back has just become a part of my body now. I bend at the hips, tuck my knees to my chest and attempt to stretch out the plank of wood which has replaced my dorsal muscles. This attempt is useless. I roll over on my back and flip through the four English channels on the TV. I’m not much for cooking shows or soap operas, so I keep the TV on Boomerang and watch Scooby Doo as I fall back asleep. It is of course a very light sleep, for after 12 hours of laying in bed, my body really can not sleep any more. I become very thirsty. I know there are water bottles in the company mans office two doors down the hall. It is 3 AM. Maybe he is asleep. Maybe I can sneak the 5 yards down the hall without getting dressed or being seen. I put on my shoes, open the door, poke my head out into the hallway. The coast is clear. Slowly, I move down the hall, careful not to let my sneakers squeak. I reach his doorway, lean my head forward to see his office chair is empty. I jump quickly to the box of water and collect two more bottles, enough to hold me over until I see the galley again.
Now it is an acceptable time to wake up, say 6 o’clock in the morning. If I wake now, I can have breakfast, get dressed, and go to the company man’s morning meeting. As I’m probably burning minimal calories in this vegetative state, I elect to stay in bed and forgo both breakfast and the meeting. I am in no mood to be quizzed on my activities anyhow. The TV is experiencing intermittent signal, so Scooby and the Gang are put on mute. I switch media intake to my laptop, where I watch old sitcoms for the next few hours and punish my body to stay in bed longer and maybe snooze through a few episodes of How I Met Your Mother.
It is now 9 am, or as I like to keep time, it is now T-2 hours until lunch time. This is an acceptable time to wake up. It is time to take a shower. I rummage through my offshore bag to find that if I go on rations, I can make it 4 more days without having to do laundry. Rations are pretty desperate and risk my personal hygiene. While the rig is dirty, and I’m sure taking a shower is actually less sanitary than just re-wearing my underwear for 2 more days, I decide that the shower will fill my time and maybe is not such a bad idea. I fill my laundry basket with a weeks worth of dirty underwear, my smokey pajamas, and toss the bag into the hallway. Climbing into the rusty smelly shower, I think I hope the laundry guys don’t take my underwear. I finish the shower quickly, but stay under the water for an extra five minutes, just to pass the time. When on stand by, I find myself doing everything very slowly…. just to pass the time. After the shower, I move myself outside, to my little offshore office, the logging unit. Here, I have internet. The YouTube takes 10 minutes to buffer and queue each song. I choose my playlist carefully, selecting the specific songs I would like to hear over my two hour internet session before I will break for lunch. Songs include Rita Ora’s cover of Somebody That I Used to Know, some 90’s country, Feds Watching and Where Have All the Cowboys Gone. I peruse the internet and read both cool and dumb articles alike. In this state of boredom, one can’t be picky. Whatever loads quickest is what I will read. I think about my next vacation and research some ideas. I stumble upon this website and decide I should probably join this group in Thailand. I send them some emails inquiring about taking a PADI dive course during my trip. Seems feasible. I count my vacation balance until I can leave again.
I download a movie player on my Google phone (phones are totally illegal offshore here. It has been snuck offshore tucked into my pants). I download the Despicable Me movies and save them to my phone. It is now lunchtime. I go to my room first to change my safety boots to sneakers. I check the TV guide to see what is coming up in the next couple hours. Sometimes the TV will be playing a sitcom, like According to Jim, New Girl, or Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23. I will carve out some time in my busy day to sit in my bed and watch these shows. Sometimes there will be a move playing like X-Men: First Class, X-Men: The Last Stand, or Taken. I eat lunch, slowly, to pass the time, and go sit in my bed for a couple hours to watch the afternoon programming. Maybe I will force myself to sleep. After a nap, its time to face the company man and find out how many more days of captivity to expect. He asks of course where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing. He asks when I will come apply for more jobs on behalf of his 27 year old son. He thanks me for doing the first applications. He tells me that if his son gets a job, he will marry his son to me. I try to evade these awkward statements and just focus on the task at hand. “Thats not necessary…. so what’s the status on the rig?” At least three more days of this standby is the verdict.
It is now time to move into the evening entertainment. I may or may not indulge in dinner on the rig. I go back outside to the internet. By this time, my friends in North America are awake. I chat with my mom. I read more articles. Eventually, it is late enough for me to go back to bed. I pack my things and go back to my room. If nothing is on TV, I’ll switch media and watch Despicable Me on my phone. Eventually, I drift off to sleep watching an Australian cooking show. The next day begins throughout the night.