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So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

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Zanzibar's Reading Room

The Rogue Wave: The Unedited Version
by: Holden Caulfieldesque version of Zanzibar

So I’m still alive. Ceramic shards in my ass. Half of the computer lab is destroyed. The glass in the library is broken, but luckily it isn’t shattered. The books look like someone took them out of the shelves and started tearing pages out. Their covers are ripped off; their pages are shredded. The rogue wave came and hit the bridge with such force that the window onto the bridge shattered, sending glass and water all over the controls. We lost all navigation and shorted many of our other controls. The intercom no longer works in our room. They called Pittsburgh, they called the US Coast Guard. They radioed some commercial boats who are in the vicinity. One of the engines shorted because water went up into the inside of it. We stopped our motion and floated around for a little while. We lost the bridge at 1:30. We lost the engine at 3:30 in the morning. One kid called his parents at the time when they told us to put on our life jackets. He had one minute left on his phone card so he decided to call his parents. He called them up and got the answering machine, so he said something along the lines of “There’s something wrong with the ship. We’re all putting on our life jackets. I have to go now, but I just wanted to say.” And that the phone card ran out. Haha. He was like, “Oops, that was probably bad.” And his parents are probably having a FREAKING HEART ATTACK. How d’ya feel about that, sonny boy! You killed your parents with your one minute of remaining phone card time! Around 1:30 was when we woke up because our beds went flying to the other side of the room. The heavy glass table and small chair went into the hallway up against the door. Sarah’s bed went under the desk part of the way and mine just hit the edge of the cabinet. The chair that we had been using to keep our drawers closed joined the rest of the furniture in the hallway. We laughed a little, and Sarah was a bit concerned when she couldn’t find the light. We finally turned it on and expressed a little consternation over the fact that that huge, heavy glass table had found its way all the way across the room. Right now I am playing my upbeat muzak playlist. Too bad I didn’t save that awesome one that I made for Katherine, the dramatic playlist. It wasn’t that dramatic, though, to be quite honest. Anyway, after that we decided to go back to bed, but we were really nervous about our beds moving again so it was hard to sleep. Finally we put them back and I stayed up knitting for a while. We listened to some fine tunes on our headphones to calm ourselves down. I was kind of having fun, to tell true, but I was tired and I recognized the need for sleep. Anyway, when our beds moved again, I went out to look in the hall. There were some people out there but not too many. Shit was falling everywhere. The drawers were driving us nuts so we put Sarah’s suitcase in front of them. We were making some jokes about how we were all going to die. Anyway, Buzz came over the com and said something about how everything was ok at about 3:30. Of course, that was went everything definitely wasn’t ok, because that’s when the engine went. He said, “We are not sinking, the ship is not going to break in half, there are no pirates around.” And that was basically it. He thanked us for staying in our cabins. Anyway, the annoying guy came over the com at around 6 or something and asked us all to put our life jackets on. We did, and our freaking beds were sliding all over the room. Sarah and I took pictures of each other and recorded our last Will and Testament on my digital camera for posterity. I looked in the hall and it was lined on either side with people in their life jackets. We preferred to stay in the room even though our room was trying to attack us, and the hall was noisy and warm. I sat on top of the chest of drawers to keep the drawers from coming out while Sarah looked under the bed. Suddenly the boat shifted and the drawers came open despite my attempts and I fell towards Sarah, diverting myself a little toward the right, but still smashing into her way too hard and in turn smashing her into the overturned chair, which she met full on with her bad collar bone, luckily not in the place that she’d first broken it or she might have hurt it worse. In my attempt to avoid her, I went over the top of her, half of me on the bed, whacking my head on the chair leg right by my eye. I was so busy apologizing that at first I didn’t really think of my head, and it still isn’t too bad, but now it has a big Y-shaped mark on it. There goes my career as a forehead model. ;) That crap happened before the life jacket announcement. That happened, then all the RDs were summoned to Pursar’s Square and they came afterward to see if we were ok with an alphabetical list that Christie found very inconvenient because it did not have cabin numbers on it. I told her about my head but assured her that it was fine. Poor Christie. She’s had an unfair share of crap on this voyage. I guess we all have, but I feel worst for the crew and the RDs. Anyway, they come on the com finally and it’s the annoying guy and he says that we need to all go up to the 5th deck. Everyone on the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th deck have to get the heck out (calmly). So we do, and when Sarah and I open the door all the people are practically gone and we’re like, holy crap, they got out of here fast. So we go and there’s a huge jam at the stairway. And people are almost crying and freaking out (people here call it ‘totally wigging’) and some girls are totally shaking and turning weird colors. Anyway, this chick behind me was like that so I held her hand for a while so that she’d feel a little more stable. This guy in front of me smiled so I latched on to the one person besides me who was having a good time, so I started cracking jokes about how Buzz is actually calling us up there so he could steal all of our shit while we were gone. (Due to high winds and large swells, all the laptops on board have gone missing!) He added that maybe Buzz could say that we were boarded by pirates and no one would ever know the difference, only they’d have to stop tours to the bridge. Looks like they’re going to have to do that anyway, huhn! hA! Anyway, they were talking about splitting up the women and children from the men so I said something wry about what happened to equality of the sexes and my man was the only one that appreciated that I think. Someone said, Hey, you guys, stay on the stairs. And all these red-rimmed girls perked up and started moving and asking, “did they mean only guys? Or ‘you guys’” as if they were perfectly willing to leave their men in the stairwell if it meant piling into a lifeboat. They meant ‘you guys’, so it took a little while longer for us to get up the stairs. We sat in a row by the wall and I was separated from Sarah and the girl whose hand I’d been holding, so I just sat down. This chick next to me was kind of freaking out a little but the girl on the other side kept asking me questions, so I was trying to answer her. She wanted know if we were going to get in the lifeboats. No. She wanted to know why a lifeboat was safer even though it was such a small boat. It isn’t. I told her that we were safe here on the big boat and the life boats were only for emergency, as in, the ship is no longer sea worthy and is actively sinking. This did not make the girl next to me feel any better, especially since the other girl kept asking me to repeat myself. I quit trying to be helpful and the girl next to me moved, to be replaced by this guy Bryan who had been sitting in the middle. We got to know each other reallll well over the next SIX HOURS that we were sitting next to each other, that’s for sure. I got to know everyone: Katie, Kate, Katie, Katie, and Lindsay. The annoying wigging girl to my right was from Littleton, she went to Columbine apparently. We exchanged some rivalry speak, but she was annoying. So I went back to talking to Bryan, who was switching off talking to me and Lindsay. I couldn’t very well talk to Lindsay, because the way we were sitting made it impossible to see past one another, with the life jackets and whatnot. Bryan was from Columbus, OH! He went to school somewhere else that I forget. Ah yes, Charleston. So did Lindsay, but she’d transferred out of there. He says that everyone says they loved it and then they all transfer. It seemed to be true. He was HGIemergency-leading-to-certain-death, but I was too tired to properly follow the principle well. Not that I would follow it in a Lauren-like way, because I can’t do that anyway and that would be super annoying and I would have to stab myself. Plus I’m in Like with Scott. Secretly. Even Sarah doesn’t know. I was secretly in crush with Brenden for a coupla days but now he isn’t following up with the hey and the wazzup so I’ve abandoned him. My only boyfriend is Paul from WI, whom I ran into later taking human interest pictures. He was more interested in human interest, he said, than devastation, which was what everyone else was taking pictures of. Well I get ahead of myself. After sitting with Bryan for hours we got acquainted. Periodically a wave would come and we would be catapulted into all the girls across the way, and they didn’t really seem to mind because it was Bryan and he was HGIELTCD. He and I just laughed heartily and apologized profusely, until he called a halt to all saying you’re sorry, because Lindsay just says that too much. I totally just realized that I’m going to eat it if my bed moves because I’m leaning against the wall. Ha. Anyway, Buzz and annoying guy got on the intercom periodically and told us uninspiring things like how they’ve called the Coast Guard and the Navy and how we weren’t going to break in half and they appreciated our good humor. Bryan and I were cracking death jokes again but quietly so wigging people wouldn’t freaking wig out. Annoying girl and her neighbor started to talk about how this was it, we were done, the semester was done, we were all going home. And they said that was for the best because they didn’t really want to continue anyway, not after this. I was annoyed by them because they were annoying. Plus there is no way they’ll “cancel” our voyage. That’s such utter bullcrap I couldn’t even stand it. If you can be discouraged from your dream of traveling the world by something so tiny as the ship breaking and fifty-foot waves outside the window and the ship pitching so hard it felt like it was going to roll over and everything in the goddamn ship breaking and all of your possessions attacking you in the night, then I’m sorry, you just aren’t a very good adventurer. Besides, what would we all do all semester? People were talking about how they wouldn’t be able to graduate on time and stuff. That would suck. I would probably just go work. And email Bob. About that internship. I hope we get internet by Midway, because I have to submit that application and it’s due the 5th. I’m getting ahead of myself again. Anyway, they were like, “this is the greatest disaster ever” and they were getting all teary and the neighbor gave the annoying girl a scarf and tied it around her head in the African-American fashion but it wouldn’t stay on her head so they tied it a different way. She wasn’t that annoying, I just forget her name and they were being stupid. Anyway, other people were talking about the rumors that they’d heard- like we were going to go straight to the Aleutian Islands and stop there so that we could repair the ship or that we were going to board other ships (How? “by helicopter transfer?” “By a big gangway?”). They were listing the millions of people who knew where we were over the com and I added to the list pirates which made only Bryan laugh. Heh. Katie-in-the-middle was being cool. They played a game of mafia which was funny because at the end it was between three people named Katie and one other person. This soon-to-be-annoying girl was orchestrating it, but I usually find people who insist on playing a damn game to be soon-to-be-annoying, that’s just me. She had this boyfriend that looked seriously like he could be her brother, but I didn’t want to say anything. She kissed him on the cheek like he was her boyfriend, but weird. They go together I guess. Some girls were all pissed because they had no one to snuggle with, so to every girl with a boyfriend they were like, fuck you, biatch! This one girl was like, “I was thinking, where the hell is my crush-boy when you need him” and that made Bryan laugh, too. They were being pretty silly. They kept bringing us food all the time and this one guy always came up right after all the guys had come bringing whatever they had just brought so no one ever wanted any of it and we felt sorry for him so at one point this group of girls took his offered potato chip bag and said that he was their hero even though we already had like three. I got some candy but I felt bad because the crew made me take it even though it was actually theirs. Sad. I ate my last nutty bar and bryan said that it was his favorite thing to eat ever and he ate them all the time in elementary school. We decided to have sea-Chipotle that would be like truck-stops for ship captains and it would sell fine quality Chipotle in every sea lane. I asked him what he thought it would feel like if we hit a whale and he guessed that in this weather we wouldn’t even notice. I said that the only way you would know is all the whale parts that would show up in the wake of the ship. He thought I was a sick, sick, twisted person. He thinks I look like this girl that was his sister’s best friend in high school. Like, exactly like her. So much that when he saw me on the stairs he was amazed. We eventually figured that I must be her evil twin since she’s nice and lives in Ohio and I was on a sinking ship thinking about whales being chopped up by propellers of the one working engine that we have. So anyway, they came on and told us that the freaking ship was still going to Japan. So we were all like hooray! But then later they came on and told us that we were actually going to Midway Island because that would take us into nice calm waters and it’s the closest land. That’s kind of an unnerving thing to hear. Anyway, they FINALLY told us that we could return to our cabins at like 12:30 and some people hadn’t eaten at all and Bryan and I had finally gotten to lie down like everyone else had ages ago, but there were bread crumbs everywhere and we couldn’t sleep. When we had first come up everyone told us not to look out the windows, so we did and it was amazing--- it was this huge mass of dark turquoise water and the boat was rocking so much that it was seriously looking straight down one second and straight up at the sky the next, not even the horizon. You couldn’t even see the freaking horizon. It was just a wall of roiling water. It was beautiful, but it made you finally aware how big these waves were. The kids who had windows said that the water was covering up the windows on the fourth deck when the boat shifted to that side. The FOURTH. DECK. So by this time the waves had calmed a little and the sun came out and the sea looked like quicksilver, it was completely silvery blue and smoothish on the top like a mixture of oil and water. There were still whitecaps, but it was different than any ocean I’d ever seen. It was so beautiful. The waves were so big, they are impossible to describe. We couldn’t even take pictures because it was impossible to get across the sheer scale we were talking about. Anyway, we went back to the cabin and sat around a little until they indicated that they needed help cleaning up the library, which was in tatters. Sarah and I naturally decided to go as we didn’t have anything else to do and our toilet was broken and something in our room smelled vaguely of natural gas. When we showed up it seemed like everyone else had showed up too, and they warned us in dire tones that we couldn’t come to the library to take pictures- they only wanted helpers, no freakin journalists. Sarah thinks, and I agree, that they are just running damage control. We went and we tried to help but there were too many people so we went to the computer lab where we unplugged all the computers on the desk that had totally eaten it, sending monitors all over the fucking place and trapping keyboards under the steel table. All the actual computers were ok because they were bolted to the freaking table. I was trying to get the keyboards out from the steel table and the soon-to-be-annoying-now-actually-annoying-girl (see how she has returned!) came in and told me to leave it because it was ‘too dangerous’ and we ‘didn’t know what we were doing’ (she did, apparently…) and it was ‘too late for those keyboards anyway’ and I was like fuck you, go do what you do best, fraternize with your weird boyfriend. So I got the keyboard out anyway and I organized some people to unplug the monitors and mice and keyboards so we could store them in a safe place. One of the mice cords was going through the computer now. She was wigging because she said some of the wires were split and we were going to fry ourselves, but she was the one that started unplugging them in the first place so she should have killed the current and she’s not the only one who knows things about circuits. I didn’t want all the salvageable items to be crapped up in the up-coming bad weather of the next twelve hours. She’s like, “there’s nothing we can do” and I was kinda thinking… ok… so WHO exactly is going to CLEAN THIS SHIT UP if not US, considering it’s going to take 3 days to get to Midway and there is NO ONE ELSE AROUND. So anyway we served our purpose there and I finished doing that girl’s job right (seeing as most of her ‘unplugged computers’ weren’t actually unplugged.) So they said that the dining hall was half people sitting and half just a wrecked pile of splintered wood and shards of china. People who saw it said they’d never seen so many broken things in one pile. As it was we were sitting right by the Garden Room on the 6th deck and every time the ship pitched we would hear the sound of plates and glasses shattering—also not the kind of sound that engenders a calm demeanor. Just sliding into the girls, tinkling glass, sliding back, the plants spilling their dirt everywhere, butt falling asleep from sitting in the same position for so long. Bryan: Do you have enough space? Me: Yeah. Bryan: Are you lying?

Now we’ve been sitting in our room for a while and the plumbing still works. Every so often they get on the intercom and tell us that we’re doing great and they know that we have lots of questions and they’re here to answer them but they can’t answer all of them yet. But then they don’t answer any questions. Thanks. We have to go out into the hall every time the com comes on because it no longer works in the room. I have my muzak on and I have to turn it down every time the thing comes on. We spoke briefly with these guys across the hall and apparently their BATHROOM DOOR FELL OFF. When the rogue wave hit us, they slid across the room, the heavy glass table went flying, the one guy fell out of his bed, and the bathroom door fell off. This door is seriously like an airplane bathroom door. It’s part of the freaking WALL. It’s big, heavy, and has three huge metal hinges. And that was early on. After that you have to start worrying about the freaking door sliding around and killing you in your sleep. Anyway, despite all the craziness and annoying people, I had a lot of fun today. My head is hurting a little bit, so I might take a little nap. Especially if we run into shit and we have to sit on that floor again. I just thank God for protecting us all last night so that nobody got really fucked. I heard someone broke their leg and someone broke a hip, but mostly everyone is cool and that’s a blessing. I said a prayer to God last night and he was definitely listening. Thanks God. They apparently sent out a letter to our parents so they wouldn’t get freaked out. They have a little runner on the bottom of the screen on CNN that says that we are all stranded lost in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It says that we are students of a Pennsylvania college though, which is funny. Hopefully my parents don’t see that one first. I wish I could have written them first because I’m sure I could have made it sound more fun, which it was. Ha. Some girls were talking about if their parents were there they would have demanded to speak to the president of ISE and the captain and then they wouldn’t have to sit on the floor anymore. I wanted to be like, so, your parents are rich bastards, I guess? Haha. I hope we get email contact back soon. We’re all hanging in there. Someone’s closet door fell off, too. Someone’s tv fell on her computer and completely destroyed it. There is no recourse. We might miss Korea altogether. Stephanie will have come down to Busan for jackshit. That’s so sad. I’ll have to pay off my debts and then save up money for another million years and go back to Korea to visit someday. One Orange-Colored day. Which reminds me, Sarah and I got in touch with our inner French person yesterday by watching “Hiroshima, Mon Amour” which is fucked. Up. Then I listened to the song “Surrender”. Hahahahaha, I’m hilarious.

Signing off,


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