The long March ahead?

Well, it finally happened: a couple days in a row of “Enough’s enough, time to go home.” Of course, I’d been warned extensively that this would happen, and it’s actually somewhat overdue from estimates I’d been given. And it’s also subsided, thank you for the concern. I’m definitely looking forward to home soon, but after a couple days of ugghiness, I’ve found renewed contentment with my life at sea. (Plus I cleverly saved Evan’s visit for late in my contract, so that by the time he leaves, I have less than three weeks left. Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.)

The precursor for this was the email from Second City asking for info to arrange our flights home. Among other things, it got me thinking “Wow, that went really fast” and “Wow, I’m almost home,” and once those thoughts move from the back of the mind to the front, suddenly…days…go…really…slowly…

The first sign of malaise was very sudden: I was walking around the Garden Café at dinnertime, and realized there was nothing I wanted to eat. Now, I may be showing newfound restraint in my eating, but to not see something I want to eat at a buffet was a new and disturbing experience. Subsequent trips to the Excursions Escorts signup sheet and Jewelbusters also revealed to me that the best selections are behind me. This was of course done by design, and I have no regrets on that front; obviously, things sell out or are unavailable, so it made sense to snag all the things I was really excited about early. But it does mean that the times ahead will have a hard time living up to the times behind. (Plus all the things I miss about home are further away in reverse and tantalizingly close ahead.) That said, it only took a day or two to realize that there’s still tons to do, and not much time to do it in, so I should get my head out of the sand and…um…onto the sand. Plus we’re starting to get Spring Break crowds, so that should keep things interesting for awhile.

I also have to say that reading The Source really quickly may not be the most mentally healthy choice I’ve ever made. A good read to be sure, though I wasn’t a huge fan of the sections set in the “present” (1964), but reading historical fiction touching upon thousands of years of Jewish history can be pretty taxing. Unless you’re an anti-Semite, in which case, it’s the feel-good book of the year! Not only is the past bloody, but if you believe in patterns, we’re due. Not that I foresee any immediate (new) problems for the Jews, but as Stephen Harper’s railing against supposedly privileged gala-attending artists and Sarah Palin’s talk of “real Americans” demonstrate, there’s still political currency in attacks on the hypothetical elite Other, especially in times of economic downturn. And political diminishment. Both of which are coming quickly.

Which is all my way of saying I think I might hold off on reading Kasztner’s Train for awhile.


But enough of the life of the mind. Here’s how the nine days unfolded.

The first unusual thing to happen was the new band didn’t manage to get onboard in Miami, so the usual entertainment schedule had to be completely rearranged. For us, it meant doing the show a day early. It may have hurt us a little in terms of audience response, as the show requires a certain familiarity with ship life, but they went alright.

I decided to take advantage of our not having a show that night by doing an excursion in Samana, which I normally forego. It was a good plan, and might have been a good day had I not managed to sleep right through it. I was using my cellphone as an alarm clock, and neglected to lock in the time, so when we got close enough to port, my phone picked up the signal, adjusted the time, and skipped right over when my alarm was set for. Sigh. But we did all go for dinner at Azura, thus getting to have food that we normally don’t get access to, so it was like an excursion for my mouth.

Then we watched the Oscars. Admittedly, this is somewhat tempered by the fact I haven’t seen (or had a chance to see) most of the movies, but it was the general consensus among us that those Oscars sucked. So overproduced, with sweeps, pans, and cuts galore, all unnecessary. Especially during the “In Memoriam” section! And the MTV-style movie-year-in-review sequences were annoying. And it’s not Hugh Jackman’s fault, but no. And is it just me, or is it tasteless to still be cutting to Angelina Jolie when Jennifer Aniston’s presenting? (And on a personal note, a not small part of me wanted Heath Ledger’s family to open their remarks with “Why so serious?” Too soon, I admit, but hey, it’s one of the greatest lines from one of the greatest characters in movie history, so I say it works as a tribute. So there.) On the slightly positive side, the idea of having past winners present the acting awards was interesting and okay, and, admittedly without having seen many of the movies, it seemed that the awards were finding their way into the right hands. But overall, meh!

It did somewhat inspire the film nerd in me though, so I got organized and made little spreadsheets of DVDs to take out of Jewelbusters, and Second City revues to watch (there’s a fairly comprehensive collection on board for the cast.) For Second City revues, I picked a combination of ones with famous alums, ones with cast members recommended by the LA folks, and recent ones. For movies, I picked a combination of those that I really should see and those that I really shouldn’t see but kind of want to and would never pay money to see in the real world. Should make for an interesting month.

In Tortola, I just spent the day wandering around. It was nice and low-key, I saw the Prime Minister’s house and the yacht club, and think I gave myself sunstroke. In Antigua, I did the Prickly Pear Island Snorkel excursion, which was quite disappointing. I think I’d see more interesting wildlife snorkeling in your average public pool. Ah well.

The next day in Barbados, I saw online (and then received several emails telling me) that Steven Page had parted ways from the Barenaked Ladies. Which means we saw possibly among their last performances as the original group. Take that, fans! At any rate, I can’t help but feel partially responsible. As he was leaving the ship, Steven Page asked me for help with his bags, and I charmed my way out of it by saying “Hey, you’ve been carrying four guys for twenty years. I think you can handle a little luggage.” Who knew? Oh well, live and learn.

With the somber news still rattling around in my head, I headed out on the Atlantis Submarine Expedition. (I had wanted to go to Harrison’s Cave, but alas, it had sold out.) Some pretty things to be seen, true, but it lacked the intimacy of snorkeling. But another thing I can now say I’ve done, so ha ha!

That night, we had a crew party, which had a combination theme of Mardi Gras and Pirate Night. Second City was on the decorating committee, so after decorations were up, we had first crack at masks. I snagged a lion one that I was quite happy with in appearance, though it was hard to wear without getting fake fur in your mouth, and a small plastic severed pirate head, which I wore as something of a corsage. That’s how I roll.

In St. Lucia, my excursion didn’t happen, so I invented a Sleeping In Experience excursion that I quite enjoyed. We again took advantage of having a night off we don’t usually get (our improv shows were pushed back), this time at Tsar’s. Tasty tasty. Then off to see the retooled Country Gold (the JAR show I almost never go to), and it was much improved, in my humble opinion. Kudos, JARs!

And on the sea days, we hosted another improv jam, which was not as well attended, but pretty damn fun (hours of Blind Date, a variation on Interrogation), did our improv shows (looking forward to the kids getting here, we are), and caught Band on the Run, which was all the more memorable because it was the departing show for one of the dancers (Rhianna, we hardly knew ye!), and so we sat in the front row, with Mike wearing a green snowsuit and mullet wig. Quite droll!

As for Miami, pretty uneventful, though I chatted online with Greg, and saw (literally – closest we got was about fifty metres, but there was sign language) Ian and Alice, so I can report that the Toronto folk aboard and abroad are in fine fettle.

And in closing, here’s a line I came up with a couple of cruises ago during an improvisation of Bar Pick Up (I don’t call it a game out of respect to our producer Nate DuFort) that for some reason has stuck with me:

“You may be a stay-at-home mom, but that is one go-to-work ass.”

I intend to switch it to first-person and make it a t-shirt. Anyone who wishes to invest or purchase one, let me know. Anyone who doesn’t, well, feel free to give me money anyway. That’s how the internet works.

Signing off.

One Response to “The long March ahead?”

  1. Jo says:

    Maybe I should be offended as a feminist, but love the quote! I’ve seen way less funny (and more overtly sexual) things on t-shirts…go for it.

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