September 18, 2018

Cruise

Walking the gangway, heading for the Lido deck...hamburgers, pizza, hot dogs...food’s ready...tacos, subs, ice cream...old people holding each other up...family reunions where everyone has the same color t-shirt...soon to be married couples hoping for the perfect sunset for pictures to be taken...parents with kids screaming to go swimming...wooden decks outside, heavy duty swirly carpets in...standing on deck as ship shoves off...waving to no one in particular and there is no one at the pier waving, not like old newsreels of throngs of dockside people waving, streamers, a real event...ship pulls away...hot sun beating down...oceanview cabin with porthole...announcement...all passengers to report to muster station for safety meeting...procedures read...none would be followed by passengers in real emergency...all the employees are from Hungary, Russia, Slovenia, Philippines, Moldovia, or some other place like that...full from lunch, go back to cabin and use bathroom to make room for dinner...look out porthole and see nothing but sea...brief nap...time for dinner...fish, steak, pasta, lamb,...you don’t like it, they bring you something else...coffee, wine...dessert...tonight it’s chocolate volcano cake...waddling back to room...laying on bed watching tv...before long, a phone call...pizza and ice cream are calling you from Lido deck...come for emergency pow-wow...people in line already...eating ice cream while waiting for pizza and vice versa…sun setting, photos, miniature golf...EDM playing, no one dancing...people with beer bottles welded to their hands for the next 4 days...wearing swimsuits WAY too small...ugly, cheap tattoos...evening of darkness now...lights on the front, lights on the back, lights everywhere...lights of another cruise ship off in distance...feel like The Californian...Lido deck emptying out...pool not so crowded...people in hot tubs...back to the room, storm coming up...boat swaying and making grunting/crashing sounds all night...next morning, breakfast...eggs, steak, toast, waffles, orange juice, tea, milk, cereal...folks who normally don’t even eat breakfast filling their tummies...fun day at sea...at the library enjoying the quiet...gazing out the window at the seemingly endless water...looking through the telescope and seeing more endless water...occasionally a container ship drifts by in the distance...two ships passing in the night...people crawling around like ants on deck...pool jammed, bars jammed, restaurants jammed, library practically empty...pulling into port, small tourist area for shopping and taxis ready to whisk you off to an excursion (at a premium price), restaurants there too but why eat there?...go back to the boat for another ‘free’ lunch or more accurately one that’s paid for already...take a nap...then time for dinner...BBQ ribs please...should have brought bigger pants...Lido deck has Italian theme...spaghetti, ravioli, chicken cacciatore, lasagna, rolls, butter, and the satellite food court rotating around it like planets in orbit handing out deli sandwiches and more pizza and more and more ice cream...make intended port on the third day...by the fourth night, the deck isn’t too crowded in the evening, few swimmers...deck chairs completely empty... fatigue, overeating, novelty having worn off...people in their cabins now, ship pulling back in to home port in the morning.