Vacation from Sanity

March 17, 2009

in I Learn the Lessons So You Don't Have To

As you may or may not have noticed, mine is not exactly a poetic soul. Sure, in high school I was great with the tragic imagery and even made it into the Writers Conference (really an excuse to hang out in the library all day – did I mention I was in the COOL crowd? no?), but even then there were no flowery phrases or romantic imagery. So unless you want me to begin comparing the Caribbean beaches to shards of broken glass, we’ll just stick to bullet points.

  • Apparently all of America’s working class has confused the term “layoff” with “vacation” and “severance package” with “bonus.” This is the only way I can explain how the boat was filled with middle-class American families (and not just the nuclear, we’re talking extended to the daughter-in-law’s sister’s cousin’s niece). All of New England went on Spring Break at the same time. On the same boat. Fortunately, had we sunk no one would have dared to mistake us all for Cuban refugees racing the Coast Guard to land.
  • On the first FUN DAY AT SEA, the Big Man and I weighed the options of laying out on deck, drinking fun pink drinks, gambling, or attending various “seminars” on our ports of call. Being the amazingly cool kids that we are, we of course chose the “seminars.” And by “seminars” I mean poorly disguised sales pitches. And by poorly disguised sales pitches, I mean painfully obvious pushes for the stores in each port paying the cruise to recommend them.
  • I did, however, learn something in these seminars Being lured into a room full of strangers listening to a sales pitch with the promise of free earrings or bags or t shirts or crap on a stick brings out the greedy little kid in me. YES, I want the gift bag with the “diamond & sapphire” necklace buried underneath a pile of branded crap. YES, I want to win the god-awful rainbow-hued painting by a no-name artist at the end of a 1.5 hr “seminar” filled with equally ugly art. YES, I want the free t-shirt! The usually reserved, well mannered adult is throttled as the nine year old I’ve buried in free ice cream jumps up and down, squealing and clapping for the attention of the give-away staff right along with the 40yr old man wearing a wife beater and (still wet)(?) swim trunks and his nine year old daughter. No, I do not need “sea miles” – but I will absolutely give you my social # and financial records for an infinitesimal pair of tanzenite earrings!
  • Those of you who have met me in the flesh know that that flesh is very very pale. Some (Clinique Foundation Lady) may call it “stay ivory,” others (the Big Man) may simply delight in being able to see every impression from the pillow case criscross my cheeks in the morning. I have nothing against tans, I think the 5lbs a nice bronze can hide is totally worth the slight chance of skin cancer. Unfortunately, I’m just too lazy for that kind of maintenance. Laying out is difficult when you live in a second-floor apartment without pool access. Not to mention sweaty. Fake Bake is expensive (have we mentioned my endearingly cheap husband?) and sweaty. Spray Tan scares me. And I believe it may be sweaty. This leaves me pale and fighting the inevitable farmers tan when the only exposed parts of my lower arms actually see sunlight during the daily commute. Thus, I believe it surprised no one when I, in preparation for my trip to the land of endless sun, purchased Sunblock SPF 85. No, this is not an exageration. SPF 85 may be difficult to find, but it does exist. And despite all of the ribbing (and rubbing off on my suit and towel and the towel of the girl on the chair next to me), I persevered. And was rewarded on the second night of the cruise when I was the ONLY one in the entire dining room NOT a brilliant shade of lobster red.
  • One last note, and then I’ll let you get on to waiting breathlessly for the Twilight movie to be released (you know you want to join the COOL crowd). Apparently, entering international waters not only opens the duty-free shops and casino, but also tosses standard ideas of conversting with Strangers (NO) overboard. People talk to you everywhere about everything. Standing on deck watching boats leave, laying on the pool deck, standing in line for sushi, the bathroom, and more sushi. We sat down to dinner every night – and immediately started going around the table sharing what we did that afternoon (which did get a bit uncomfortable when you got to the two newly-wed couples…). When was the last time you gave a blow-by-blow of your adventures for the day? Elementary School? Kindergarten? I now know how your mother felt. And I understand why TV Dinners were created.

P.S. Those private balconies? Monitored by secuirty cameras. I learn the lessons so you don’t have to.

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