25 April 2007


The Chief Mate. I had mostly avoided confrontation with him until last week he
started pushing me, trying to bully me. He's a miserable guy, no one likes him
or likes working with him, though he's very good at the technical aspects of his
job. He bullies his junior mates, and they just take it because he can cause a
lot of trouble for them. I, on the other hand, stood up to him, and he didn't
like that one bit. He's used to getting his own way.

It started with a conversation about coffee at supper one night. I mentioned
how I didn't like instant coffee, when I got onboard, I had to clean the cobwebs
off the coffee maker in the engineroom to get it up and running, and now each
morning I head down below to brew myself a pot. The mate said he had a machine
I could put in my cabin. It was originally from the cargo control room, but he
didn't want it there, because he didn't want people hanging out, drinking coffee
in HIS space.

I said to him, "Thanks, but I'm not bothered by going down to the ER"

"No, please, man ... It's so nice to have a coffee machine in your room!"

"No, really, it's OK, I'm quite content to make my coffee in the ER."

"I will get this machine for you."

And I didn't hear or see anything about it for two days, so I figured he'd
forgotten about it. But then one evening, after supper, I was headed to the
computer/library room to find a new book to read, when the Mate caught me in the

"I left that coffee machine on your desk. But the pot is missing. Do you have
a pot?" he asked me.

"What? No. I ..."

"what about your coffee mug? Can you put that on the burner?" he cut me off.

"No, it's got a foam bottom. You don't have to go to all this trou ...."

"Hey" the mate called to Lorenzo, the messman. "Do you have a coffee pot for the

"Coffee pot?" Lorenzo looked a bit puzzled.

"A coffee pot, man. For the coffee machine." The Mates eyes were bulging as he
interogated the poor messman. No coffee pot. The Mate starts brainstorming
about what we can use for a pot, when I say to him, "Like I said, I quite happy
to go down to the ER and make my coffee there."

"So you don't want it?"

"No, I don't want it."

The Mate turned away, shaking his head, muttering under his breath "pitch cu
matta" which is the Croatian equivalent of motherf-----. Mario, a 3rd I worked
with a few years ago on the LNG ships out in Japan, said that a literal
translation is "your mother's (female anatomy)" while a looser translation would
be "crawl back into the womb of the whore who gave birth to you".

The Mate then started his little political war with me. The small lives that we

1 comment:

  1. Thankyou for telling the story--very entertaining. I hope the chief mate develops toxic epidermal necrolysis (just kidding, just kidding)