The V-Berth Is Now an Apartment

My weekend overnight double shift as a nurse’s aide extends from Friday evening to Monday evening. 

That is most of how things are here. 

The boat was originally envisioned also as a place to sleep between shifts that included a shower I could get to in the middle of Coronavirus lockdown. 

I don’t want to complain about the conditions of health care. It is not just a day job for an aging artist. It is genuinely what I would have wanted at thirty while schlepping it out in theatre. I spent a year in college in premed and love the science, but it’s not right for the arts. For a person of my sociocultural standing, medicine has to be everything. You don’t have it in you to stand up to the power and do anything but compete. Long hours. High friends. Two point five children. Stretched to the breaking point. You don’t get to stoop far enough to really learn the black box theatre, and you aren’t good enough for the big leagues. Mostly you write a check for the shining muses of your youth.

I am not saying I was good enough at science for medicine. I wasn’t. But I was good enough for the higher reaches of nursing, and that in itself carries a price tag of assumed “adulthood," whereas the lower reaches of nursing have the kind of ersatz working-class “do what you want” structure that can also cover an extra shift for a friend. 

The arts are stronger when you are happy close to the ground. My mime theatre friend Wilfred used to quote his teacher, “Mime players come from the mud.”

I would add, “The mud, Shakespeare, and a thousand-dollar home."

Me and the builder with a day job crunching numbers. It probably feels good to do all that scraping. I sewed the vinyl covers for the cushions and the custom sheets. 

© Joann L. Farias 2023