Last weekend I toured a submarine-- SS Becuna (c. 1944)--at Penn's Landing in Philadelphia, to get material for the WWII spy novel I'm writing. I found out I could never be a submariner. Here are a just a few things they had to put up with:
- Close quarters.( I'm talking barely room to turn around and bunks, if you raised your head more than a few inches, you'd smack the bunk above.)
- Air pressure
- Heat (120 degrees in the boiler room sometimes)
- Dampness.( Nothing ever dries completely, from shoes and socks, to shirts and dungarees (alias "jeans" nowadays) The submariners were often called the "Dungaree Navy."
- Showers only once a week (if you were lucky.)
- Smells: of diesel fumes, oil lubrication, cigarette smoke, paint, sweat, etc.
- Being nice to everyone all the time.
- Noise of engines throbbing continually
Oh, yes, and...
11. The threat of being attacked at any moment!
When asked what it was like to make a trim dive, one submariner said, "Imagine you're sitting in your living room and suddenly it tilts at a 90 degree angle."
To sum up--submariners are very special people.
Now that I think about it, a submarine and my apartment are very much alike, minus the tilting and the seasickness. Maybe I could have been a submariner after all.