This cruise (as they all do) has some interesting passengers. Sometimes, I swear, it’s like the cruise line supplies them. This one features:
A lady who wears what looks like cake decorations on her head. These are NOT silly hats, and she clearly thinks they’re quite fashionable. She has different ones every day, sometimes with flowers, little people, ribbons, and small houses. I was hoping to see one with burning birthday candles, but I guess it wouldn’t be safe on the ship.
Another lady has outfits consisting of a tube top, 1970’s short-shorts, and knee-high boots. It’s like her fashion sense is stuck in the 1970’s, waiting to get a call to appear on Charlie’s Angels.
There are a truly frightening number of morbidly obese guys whose entire trip wardrobe consists of T-shirts that say "This is what AWESOMENESS looks like."
Another prize, and likely the winner, is a lady in her 40’s who’s on her honeymoon. Nothing wrong with that, EXCEPT SHE WEARS HER WEDDING DRESS EVERYWHERE! I’ve seen her in it every freakin' day now. At dinner. By the pool. At trivia. At karoke. On shore. She’s either having it washed every day, or has several dresses, or stinks.
While watching the world go by this morning I heard some vaguely familiar lyrics overhead, but the music didn’t match. After listening carefully, I realized (to my horror) that it was a cover of Pink Floyd's “Comfortably Numb”, redone as a disco song.
On the way up to lunch, in a crowded elevator, Frank had the class to rip one off. Loudly. Of course, Marie and Craig couldn’t let it go, announcing to the elevator who it was, and which of the guys in the elevator was his Dad. When the doors opened at the next stop I bolted out, leaving my kids looking horrified as I disappeared into a staircase. I needed the exercise anyway.
After lunch, Marie decided she wanted a grilled cheese sandwich for desert. As we headed for the deli we began hearing people talking loudly. Then yelling. Then running. And in a scene reminiscent of “Titanic” we saw increasing numbers of people dropping what they were doing and heading for the stern.
I looked out the window. The ship wasn’t listing as best I could tell. We were moving forward at the same speed. I didn’t notice any smoke. But more and more people ran past us. We started wondering if we were missing a boat drill.
So Marie asked her boyfriend, Grilled-Cheese-Master-Ajay, what was going on. He laughed and told us they’d just opened the cruise's chocolate buffet in back, but to prevent a riot were letting the news spread by word-of-mouth, rather than announcing it overhead.
We turned to go there ourselves. I then realized that the kids were gone already. They'd vanished in a blur, heading for the stern. I found myself holding Marie's grilled cheese sandwich, with one bite out of it.
This afternoon Frank and Craig wanted to play cards, so I grabbed a deck and we went down to the card room. It was packed, so instead we went to the casino next door. We got a table near the bar, got some Cokes, and began an exciting game of Go Fish.
None of the crew minded, but as usual some bored passenger felt the need to come over and chew me out for doing such sinful things as teaching my kids to gamble and drink. I didn’t bother (you can’t argue with these types) to point out we were doing neither.
After Mrs. Nosey left, the pianist struck up a cheery rendition of "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald".
Our last stop on the cruise was tonight, in Victoria, British Columbia.
I haven't been to Victoria in many years, but have always liked the place. Unfortunately, we didn't get in until early evening. Even worse, we docked in an industrial part of the harbor, far from easy walking distance to the venerable Empress Hotel or lovely Buchart Gardens.
It was, however, the first time I'd been to Canada since I began my writing career, and so I assumed a delegation of my Canadian fans (all 5 of you) would be waiting for me at the gangway, eager to have me sign your official Dr. Grumpy T-shirts.
So I dug through my luggage for any clean clothes I had left, which consisted of blue basketball shorts with silver stripes, and a Hawaiian floral shirt. The shirt had fit nicely when I packed it, but after 7 days on the S.S. Smorgasbord my buffet belly protruded like a hairy melon.
Thus fashionably attired, I marched down the gangway with Marie (the only one who wanted to go with me) and hoped my outfit didn't create an international incident.
Fortunately, the majority of passengers had left the ship in a rush earlier, and so we were alone as we walked ashore. We were greeted by a few bored harbor agents who stamped our passports. We wandered around for a few minutes, were told it would be a while for the next shuttle into town, and then returned to the ship after Marie abruptly declared she was hungry and wanted grilled cheese and ice cream.
I waved to a guy standing on the deck of a nearby Canadian Coast Guard Ship (C.C.G.S Sir Wilfrid Laurier) who was watching me closely. I can understand this, because if terrorists were trying to send someone to horrify people with bad fashion sense, they likely would be dressed like I was.
Today was the last full day of the cruise. As usual, we were presented with the U.S. Customs Declaration form, which features some of the typical great questions asked by government agencies. This includes them wondering if I happen to be carrying snails or insects on me. REALLY!
I’m actually glad to be leaving, because if I hear the phrase “have a cracking day!” again, I’m going to throttle Stu.