Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Picking Up on Social Cruise

Trevor and I have been together for over nine years (yes, we recently had another anniversary, and yes, we both forgot it). We are very social beings and have had great success with meeting random strangers at bars in the past, so we decided to press our luck again on this honeymoon cruise.   During our first night aboard we moseyed into Duke's piano bar, where there was a mediocre Elton John impersonator on the keys... 

We scanned the crowd.  There were a few groups of over-dressed cougars, a couple of older normal-looking couples, then there was Honey Boo Boo's parents in one booth, and in the back was a nicely dressed young couple drinking wine.  We cozied up to the young couple.

"Is this seat taken?"

..."Oh no, go right ahead"....  

No more eye contact from them.   

Hmmmm. How to initiate conversation....  

"Is that the drink menu you have? Do you mind if we have a look?"  

They pass us the drink menu.  

"Sure.  Here you are..."

"Soo is this your first cruise?" (a very common question that almost always is answered "no," I've come to learn).   

"It's his first,  I've been on one before..." says the girl.  

"Oh that's great, it's our first cruise too....." They nod their heads.


The waitress eventually comes by.  "Yes, I think we will have a drink."

We check what our 'friends' are drinking.... Red wine.  

"Yea, I think we will get a couple of Boddington beers, please....Oh, what was that you say? It's cheaper if we get a whole bucket of beer?  Sure, what the heck, let's do it."

A few silent minutes later our bucket of beers arrive.  We crack open our social lubricant (as the high school guidance counselors call it) and a few moments later our fancy-dressed, wine-sipping southern friends make a b-line for the exit.  Oh well.  Can't say we didn't try.

We finish our bucket and head to dinner.  We are seated at an 8 person table.  There is only one other couple there.  They are young, likely younger than us.  They ask us where we are from.  I state "we flew in from Boston. But we just moved there from California.  Originally we are both from New Jersey."

When meeting new people I realized I HAVE to mention all the places we have ever lived because for whatever reason each place comes with with its own very specific stereotype.  So if strangers are going to pigeonhole me they are going to have to do it in a combinatorial way.  I'm not going to make it easy for them to judge me.  Of course they pick on Jersey (damn Snookie) and in the course of our dinner they have pronounced it "New Joisey" at least three different times, with my blood pressure directly correlated with every mention of it.  They are from Alabama.  I decide I am not fond of them.  I am not fond of anyone from Alabama for that matter. 

Trevor reminds me that I pronounce "Minnesota" like Bobby's mom from Bobby's World every time I meet someone from Minnesota and that maybe I should give these Alabama-ites a second chance.  And maybe I should I stop saying "mini-so-ta."

So the next night at dinner I am acting nice and the Alabama girl mentions they have a drink deal for $50 a day where you can drink all the booze you want for up to 15 drinks a day.  She mentions that this is in no way worth it because she can have at least 15 drinks before noon.  I decide I am going to pigeonhole her as crazy drunk southern just as she has pegged me as some @ss-hole from NJ.  And we become fast friends.

On the first whole day at sea, we head up to the pool deck and since it is not warm enough for the pool,  we jump in the hot tub with an old couple.  We chat with them a bit about World War II and then they tell us about how they survived the tornado when it plowed through their hometown of Joplin, Missouri.  They had some amazing stories.

After the pool we played some mini golf.  Then we ran 33 laps around the jogging track on the roof (I won't tell you how far each lap is so that you can think we are really athletic.  But I will tell you this, the track was not regulation size).  

After completing all the free onboard activities we head to the gym where they were raffling off gift certificates to the spa.  Before getting on the cruise I told myself, and maybe mentioned to Trevor, that we should get couples massages for our honeymoon.  Neither of us have ever gotten one before and I thought it would be funny.   Once on the boat I realized they were $500, and  the idea suddenly is not so funny. But hey, if we win the raffle, then it would be worth it!

We put our names into the bucket with all the other cheap, desperate, poor people who also want a free massage.  They start picking names and handing out $50 prizes.  They originally announced they were raffling off $750 in prize money (which would cover a massage plus some) but neglected to mention that prizes would only be in $50 increments and that you could only win once. Nothing is for sale in the spa for cheaper then $100.   Irritated by their trickery, I already wanted to leave.

But we sat through their announcements and every time someone won a prize everyone in the crowd had to say something stupid and the winner had to dance to some awful cheesy music for at least 15 seconds in front of the crowd before they could receive their prize.   Trevor and I just stood there silently and, at this point, I had decided that even if they do call my name I am not going up there and I will not dance like a monkey for their cheapo 50 bucks that won't get me anything in their second rate spa.  In between the prize announcements the lame-o spa employees were also announcing all these seminars that they will be hosting like "how to heal your knee and back pain", "healthy foot analysis",  and "how to get a flatter stomach" (hey, maybe avoid all-you-can-eat cruises?).

At one point they called a guy's name and he slowly huffed and puffed his way up to the stage.  He was easily over 400lbs and was refusing to dance and I didn't blame him.  The announcer handed him his prize money but not after saying "and I'll see you at my back and knees seminar" obviously insinuating that because this man is so grotesquely obese that he must have back and knee problems, which ok he probably does. He is probably not happy to be 40x overweight and probably does not want to dance in front of you and doesn't need to be insulted and have everybody laugh at him like "oh look at the fat guy who's too fat to move!"  I wanted to cry for him, while everyone else on the boat laughed openly and loudly without any regard for this fat man's feelings. I was so mad at these people.  Then I was mad at the fat guy. Why would you even go up there?! Was that worth $50 to you?  I do not like these people.

Afterwards we headed to the bar to kill some time before dinner.  At the bar we started chatting with a nice enough middle-aged guy who is on the cruise by himself (big clue right here folks).

He was a bus driver from Missouri (note:  everyone on this boat was from Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Missouri, or Arkansas.  We heard rumors someone met someone who was also from New Jersey but those Jersey people were probably doing the same thing as us at this point...avoiding telling people where they were from because if one more person says "Joisey" in a southern accent I am going to lose my cool and give in to the goddamn Jersey stereotype!  And no I will not give them that satisfaction).  Anyway, this guy on the boat all alone seemed nice enough and we had a good time making small talk.  The conversation eventually turned to "what do you do" and once people hear "economics" things usually move on to politics and banking and the financial crisis (which is not the kind of economics Trevor studies, but it gets a little complicated trying to explain that to a total stranger in a 20 minute time span).   At this point my attention shifts to the television set which is recapping the 20th anniversary of Tonya Harding hiring a hitman to club Nancy Kerrigan in the knees with a police baton right before the 1994 Olympics.  Could that really have been 20 years ago?  Man time flies!

Eventually I get a sense that the Trevor/stranger conversation needs some interruption so I eventually chime in with,

"Hey guys remember Tonya Harding?"  

To which our stranger friend feels completely comfortable enough to reply, "Oh yea I have her sex tape.  Yea, she made a sex tape of her wedding night and then ended up selling copies of it to help pay her legal fees. So, yea, I bought it."

End of conversation.

Next bar there is a super drunk, skinny white guy wearing a cat face shirt and begging for the Russian bartender to give him another drink. The bartender refuses.  Cat man eventually leaves after multiple rounds of desperate pleas and forceful rejections.  Trevor tells the bartender she did the right thing.  She ignores him.  

Seriously the guy had the cat pattern of my favorite dress in men's Hawaiian shirt form.  Too bad he wasn't cool. He should have given Trevor his shirt.  He did not deserve it.

After dinner Trevor and I are walking towards the elevator when a group of tweenie weenie girls approach us screaming "we are being stalked by some gay guy!" I ask them what happened and they say some guy tried to high five them in the elevator.  And that he was gay. And that he was stalking them.   I did not see a gay guy, or any guy for that matter, anywhere in sight. I wanted to tell them that they had nothing to worry about if the guy was in fact gay, but I figured that was a lesson for their parents to teach.   I instead tell them to go find their parents,  to which they reply, "We can't!  They're in the club!"  So I tell them to go to the kids club where the babysitters are.  To which they were all like "Eww hell no!!! No one goes there!"

And then I wanted to wring them around by their little pony tails because I do not know what pissed me off more 1) they made it seem like they were in serious trouble, enough to interrupt perfect strangers, but then were too prissy and rude to take my advice on how to help them,  or 2) their blatant use of the word "gay" in a derogatory way,  or 3) their public pronouncement of their homophobia, or 4) their parents' straight up negligence both in raising them and letting them run rampant around this cruise!!

What the heck do I say to that? 

"Well then, stick together."  

That was exactly what I said.  And walked away.

Trevor and I then made our way to another bar for comedy hour.  We love jokes.  This is going to be great.  A short video of George Lopez played with him introducing his comedy cruise series, The Punchliner club.   He said a few "funny" things, but as a general rule of thumb I do not laugh at George Lopez jokes.  It is usually not my type of humor.  The video was bouncing around a bit on the screen because the boat was rocking back and forth.  The video ended and Cruise Director Steve gets up on stage and set the stage with a warm up joke...

"Hey so yea, thanks George Lopez for the video, sorry we had Michael J. Fox holding the projector up there!"

The crowd thinks this is outrageously funny.  I look up at Trevor with my jaw dropped.  That was outrageously offensive and everyone is laughing hysterically.  What is wrong with society?

Cruise Director Steve goes on to say if you can't handle that joke than you better get the hell out.  We stay for lack of anywhere else to go.  None of the other jokes were anywhere near that offensive.  Cruise Director Steve gets an F in my book.

End of day 1 at sea.

Needing some sun

O'Grady Cruisers

Good-bye non-cruise society

Satan at the Carnival cruise spa

Fun with the drink menu

Fun at the gym

Thee Grand Atrium

Our boat under a bridge

Fun with maps


Evan L. said...

Hahaha, add a floater.

Post a Comment