Friday, October 24, 2008

USS Hornet Cocktail Party

Anyone who knows my family knows that my dad is ALL ABOUT the USS Hornet. It's his baby, his pride and joy. He was on the Hornet in the Marine Detatchment back in the late 60's (which means that he was one of like 50 Marines on board a ship of 2000-ish Sailors) and was there for the Apollo 11 recovery and has all kinds of good stories and stuff. My dad was one of the guys who helped clean it up after it was saved from being sent to the scrap yard and ten years ago, they made it into a museum and last weekend was the big 10th anniversary open house.

Now, if you're a Holt, or really, even if you just KNOW a Holt, you've probably spent plenty of quality time on the Hornet. We've been to events and BBQs and on tours and really, we're kind of over it, but we all love my dad and want to be supportive of his stuff so we make appearances every now and again. Unless you're my mom, in which case you avoid the Hornet like the plague, but she doesn't like getting caught in conversations with retired military guys or the wives of retired military guys, so she's excused.

It had been a while since I'd clocked any time on the Hornet so when my dad said that they were holding an open house and that he had invited a bajillion people I knew I figured WHAT THE I put on my walking shoes and joined him on the Hornet last Saturday.

When I got to the Mar Det area (look at me and all my fancy Marine slang!) I found my dad holding court with a gaggle of lesbionic ladies who wanted to see his video of the Apollo 11 recovery. And OH HAI, my dad figured that since it was an open house, there should be refreshments so he brought beer and wine and chips and dip for people who came to hear his stories. So the lesbians and I had some wine and we watched the video.

When the ladies left, my dad left me in charge while he went to the bathroom. Nobody wanted to talk to me, but that's fine because really, if I had walked by and saw a non-official-looking chick sitting in the Mar Det lounge drinking wine out of a red party cup and saying hello to the passersby, I would have kept on walking too.

So I entertained myself:

My dad had the top bunk, which was VIP because nobody could lean over and barf on you:

The MarDet cocktail lounge:

So anyway, while he was gone I did have one conversation and it was awesome:

Me: Hi.

Lady: Hi. What is this area?

Me: It's the Marine Detatchment area.

Lady: Oh.(Looks confused)

Me: There were a small number of Marines on board with the Sailors.

Lady: Oh.

(And I should point out here that she looked totally normal, educated, non-retarded, etc.)

Me: (smiles and takes a sip of wine)

Lady: What's a Marine?

Me: Um. A Marine. Like, someone in the Marine Corps.

Lady: (Shakes her head, looks at me like I'm speaking Chinese)

Me: The Marines. Like, as opposed to the Navy or the Army or the Air Force.

Lady: (Still doesn't get it.)

Me: It's a branch of the military.

Lady: (Stillllllllllllllllllllll doesn't get it.)

Me: (Trying to figure out how in the hell someone could A) be alive in the world and not understand what I'm telling her and B) be on an AIRCRAFT CARRIER and not understand what I'm telling her! It's not like she was in the Marine Detatchment area of the CONSERVATORY OF FLOWERS or anything!!!!)

Me: Ummmmm...they ran the brig.


Me: Yeah. They were like the police on the ship.


Me: Yeahhhhhhhhh. NOW GO AWAY STUPID LADY!

Except I didn't tell her to go away, I just turned to rummage through my purse for nothing in particular and waited for her to leave.

Other Hornet-related items:

1. There were a ton of Boy Scouts on board. There always are. I don't know why. Maybe there's a patch for visiting an aircraft carrier. But never before have I noticed how RUDE Boy Scouts are. I mean, I guess I expect kids in general to be little shits but I expect Boy Scouts to be polite. THEY WERE NOT. They were cutting in front of me, not allowing right-of-way up and down ladders and were just generally barreling through. The worst part though was that their parents were just standing around watching them be rude so finally I lost my temper and yelled LADIES FIRST!!!!!!!!!!! at a few of them and I heard the mom laugh! I wanted to tell her that her kid needed to be taught some manners, but then someone farted so I kept my opinions on their crappy parenting to myself and moved on.

2. The Hornet wasn't built with any ladies' rooms and most of the bathrooms it does have are prettttty much just communal toilet rooms. Like rows of toilets with walls between them, but no doors. And really, the walls only extend to the end of the toilet seat so if you were sitting there you'd be able to see the knees of all the people in your row and you'd be looking across and facing all the guys pooping in the other row. (And my dad has a story about how they somehow got a bucket of pistachio ice cream and how they ate it with their hands, while sitting on the crappers.)

So how did they modify this bathroom to meet the needs of the ladies? They hung up shower curtains. Frosted clear ones. And they hung them in line with the short walls so if you want to use this particular rest room (there are modern ones upstairs), it's kind of a maneuver and the people next to you can see your knees and the people across from you can see you sitting there.

It's a life experience, folks.


Sarah said...

But were you wearing flare or core?

Elizabeth said...

@ Sarah: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA! Now my cube neighbors think I'm weird.

Weekends are a different category alltogether, but I'd say it was a flare-ish weekend ensemble.

sally said...

I love that your daddy brought snacks!

Umm while I was thoroughly interested in the toilet story I got stuck at "What's a Marine?" Um yeah. Was she an ALIEN? See I would have laughed and then had to say "OH. You aren't kidding are you?"

She was on a MILITARY VESSEL and did not know the branches of the military? I am befuddled.

Kristy said...

My brother and nephew were at the USS Hornet a couple months ago for an overnight scout trip. I will tell you, though, that my brother keeps a pretty tight leash on his kids, and I would hope that Mitch's scout troop didn't act at all like the ones you encountered when you were there.

Go Paso Robles Cub Scouts!