Manager Party – photo minds don’t think alike

1 Jun

This is only the second Sea Day of this cruise, and the experience is dragging already. We currently have a load of weird people aboard, and I’m not talking about the rich idiots that pay €5000 for a boat trip to Iceland. No, we are graced, simultaneously, with the presence of the fleet manager, a photography instructor, and the next manager of our department, all of which are desperate to explain to us why everything we do is wrong. So far we did not have to endure special training sessions, but we are threatened every day to have those added to our schedule.

Photo Gallery aboard the ABC RypMeOff

My primary work place, the Photo Gallery, iactusally looks dull enough. It is not massively improved by the contrasting opinions of four managers, who all believe to be right.

Our next Photo Manager, Ash, appears to be a decent human being. Manager Mihai does his best to portrait his team as a bunch of incompetent, lazy lunatics, but if we can keep a straight face for the next ten days we might a) get rid of Mihai indefinitely, and b) convince Ash of our value as working-class people. Separating fact from fiction may not be simple in this conflict, but for the moment I retain hopes that our next manager will be able to tell the difference between the things he sees, and those that Mihai tells him.

Goemon5 aboard the ABC RypMeOff

This is a terrible portrait. It might look interesting to you, but by ABC standards it is just terrible.

Photo Instructor Vito is a highly paid cruise veteran who was hired by ABC Cruises to improve the output of our department, both in quality and quantity. He tours across all the vessels of this company, holding seminars and practical sessions in which he shows the photographers how to approach the guests, and how to shoot grand portraits. His efforts are somewhat diminished by the fact that both the Photo Manager, and the Fleet Manager have opinions that differ vastly from his. But it seems that Vito genuinely wants to help, which is a novel experience from my side. For the past three days Vito has rarely been sighted, and at first I hoped he intended to earn his money like all the other officers aboard the ABC RypMeOff – by stalking along the corridors with a grave look on his face. Well, he does that, too, but occasionally he also stands in the Photo Gallery, or in one of our studios, points at a person or a picture, and mumbles something to the photo manager. So far the nightly debriefings are our only real contact with Vito, but that is supposed to change soon-ish.

The fleet manager, Kosmos, is a lanky Eastern European with a car salesman smile, and very neat English language skills. Kosmos is the type of character that folks at the mall gather around, to buy from him the latest gossip on non-sticky frying pans. He is also the reason adults lock up their children at night; not for fear of molestation, but because he might rip off their faces in order to steal himself a second facial expression. Kosmos, probably named after the share of this world that his parents believed he was entitled to, actually was employed as a photographer many years ago. I don’t know whether he worked his way up, or was simply dipped into every department aboard, but he definitely has some knowledge about the subject. Now he is one of the most influential officers at ABC Cruises, and the value we feel through having him on board is indescribable.

Vegan breakfast for cruise crew

For legal reasons I cannot show you a picture of our fleet manager. But his single facial expression is as genuine as my breakfast is wholesome.

Kosmos first showed up three weeks ago, and his infrequent assistance more than warrants the generous payments that ABC Cruises extends towards him (and all other equally useless officers). From the first day onwards he has been nagging me about my attire, probably because I did not purchase my uniform directly from the ABC Uniform Store. First he bothered me every day with a request to wear black socks, which by the way is not even part of the official dress code. When I started to only wear black socks (at least on the days when I knew he would inspect my ankles) Kosmos moved on to criticise the blackness of my socks, because some of them have white stripes, which also disagrees with his imagined uniform code. Every time that car salesman scores a minute with me alone he reminds me that “next time we are in Hamburg” I “will go to the store, and buy a pack of plain black socks.” If any other lunatic with immovable smile was directing me in how to spend my meagre coins, I would likely draw their socks up to their elbows, but in the case of the Fleet Manager my choice of actions are far more restricted.

So, next time we are in Hamburg I will go out, and attempt to buy black socks, and “gala shoes”, whatever on earth that might be. Alas, there still is hope to avoid additional spending. So far we have been in Hamburg four times, and we were never allowed to leave the cruise terminal, because shooting embarkation photos pretty much consumes the entire day of every member of this department. Also, with four different heads trying to run this department there is a great chance that some of them will devour each other before turning on the ill-fed workers.

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