Occupational Disease

Rather than a job-relating illness or injury, in Czech this term refers to a strange behavior of people from different branches, who become so overwhelmed by their occupation, that they cannot cut themselves off from it even in their personal or everyday life. Let’s say a dentist always checking other peoples’ teeth while chatting with them or a teacher constantly trying to lecture everybody. You get the idea, I guess.

Though this occupational disease is highly contagious, not every person becomes affected and some do more than others. I suppose it also has to do with that particular person’s personality and his or her current state of mind. I myself am rather a perfectionist and don’t mind fiddling with details. No wonder then, that after three weeks of painting, I have been exhibiting some symptoms of “painting disease”.

Another place to practice my painting skills

Another spot to practice my painting skills…

Not that I am walking around the marina and checking other boats’ paint jobs or evaluating the quality of the painting on the ceiling in the marina showers – after all something like this would be too presumptuous given that I’m only a greenhorn when it comes to painting. On the other hand, I must admit that I notice these details more now than I’ve done before. You see, my symptoms manifest themselves chiefly during the night.

I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. You dream the whole night about working hard and when you finally wake up in the morning, you feel utterly exhausted. As though you have just spent the whole night shoveling heaps of coal or piling pieces of firewood (anyway these are the phrases we use in the Czech language). Myself, I have been painting a lot in my dreams these days.

Usually after couple of hours sleep I wake up sweating and thirsty – man, it’s hard work this painting! I get up from the bunk and after two cups of water I lay down again. Usually I manage to fall asleep again and before morning comes I often do some more of that painting-dreaming.

Yet yesterday I just couldn’t fall back to sleep. I rolled onto one side and thought about tomorrow’s painting job. Do I have everything I need – rollers, measuring cups, tin to transfer the paint…? Then I speculated about how much paint to mix in order to have just enough (this time I’m using two part epoxy paint) and thought about the other spots that I could prep just in case I end up with some leftover paint after all. Of course I can’t fall asleep and so I roll onto my other side. Suddenly it seems that the circulation of air inside the boat is quite good and that I could probably turn off that noisy fan. So I get up again and do that. But the moment I lay down, I realize that it’s quite hot without the fan, so I get up once more and turn it back on. Maybe I will manage to doze off now…

Usually I do, but not yesterday. After some two hours of tossing and turning during which I went through all the possible variants of tomorrow’s painting and also thought about the sequence of jobs for the following week, I suddenly realized that I forget to fill a few spots under the bunk I was just lying on, the same place I wanted to paint today. If I left it till morning, I would have to wait till lunch before I could send the filler and start painting.

Boat mess - inevitable consequence of small boat repairs

Boat mess – the inevitable consequence of small boat repairs

I pondered a while about the ridiculousness of the whole idea of mixing epoxy filler at 3 am and also considered the potential risk of being attacked by a fellow cruiser also suffering from insomnia who might mistake me for a thief after I start rummaging through our cockpit lockers in search of the filler. Will I suffer a blow with a spare tiller – since there’s usually a shortage of baseball clubs aboard cruising saiboats, he or she might as well use a spare tiller or a “weapon” of similar kind. In the end I decided that it’s worth the risk, got up, carefully put the mattress from my bunk on the stuff that has been slowly pilling up on the opposite settee now that I’ve been dismantling more and more of the boat’s furniture. Then I took off the boards on which the mattress lies and using my headlamp I filled the few spots I forgot to fill during the day. In the end I finally fell back to sleep sometime around 4 am. The alarm clock rang at 0600. Time to get back to work!

PS: Will write more about the painting itself soon. And will post some more pics!

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