Lieutenant's Log # 5
It's taken a few days, but I'm starting to get a hang of things. So many rules and you only learn about them after you've broken one. You're measured by every detail. It's the classic old demerit system. "Your room is filthy. You must walk the plank or never board this ship again if you survive." Entering the mess is potential trouble for me. Staff is REQUIRED to wash their hands in the designated sinks before nearing the food area. Why should this be a problem for me? Practically every time I'm having a meal it's after taking a shower or mirror prep before public life, so my hands are already washed before going to the mess. It seems redundant to wash my hands again.
So once or twice I've just walked in and scooted right past the sink. I could sense the eyes on me. "What a nasty African American." So for show, I'd slink back to the sink and wash my washed hands. Even if I explained it, no one would believe me.
The crew cuisine on the ship is very meat, fish and potatoes. Oh and vegetables. Sandwiches and salads are available 24/7. Hot meals are served three times a day. I find that I eat less on the ship than when I'm at home, because you don't want to be seen with a heap of food on your plate if you're eating alone. "What a piggy African American and look, he has no vegetables."
Often I don't recognize a dish and after someone kindly describes it to me, I feel obligated to try it. It's a gamble and I've been on a losing streak lately.
Yesterday there was baked Cornish hen. That's what it looked like to me. It looked really good, but I opted for the broiled fish. That's what it looked like to me. I really wanted the chicken but, well... I became self conscious about how I would eat it. Normally at home, I'd use a knife and fork to carve the sides leaving thighs in place. I was never one for ripping the legs off. Even when I was a kid, my mother gave me a hard time about eating chicken because I left too much meat on the bone. I just couldn't deal with the veins and ripping things apart. So I never touched chicken when I was home because I was tired of my mother complaining about it.
The only time I enjoy chicken aside from breast, is when I'm eating KFC in a vehicle. It's usually dark in the car and you can't see what you're ripping apart. As for the innocuous fish, I forked a piece into my mouth only to have a mouth full of bones. I would have been better off dealing with the chicken.
This evening was a great surprise. My "taste memory" rejoiced in it. It was chipped beef (That's what it looked like to me) and rice.
The taste brought back childhood memories of waiting in the surplus lines with my uncle to receive free cheese, powered milk and a coffee can size of 'beef stuff'. We'd eat it with rice. I loved it. I haven't had it since. The meal this evening tasted exactly what I remembered. That's what I call a happy meal.