January 2, 2006
Seven dolphins swimming
Wish you had been there. Truly.

I have uncovered Christmas truths that I shall forever be grateful for, wisdom imparted to me by seven days at sea. I present them to you in print but recommend you sing each of the first lines out loud, forever to be branded by neighboring cubemates as "le freak."

On the first day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . old women are indeed biddies. Yes, my friends. After hitting the threshold that is 78 these ladies turn into mean, mean girls. Truthfully, I care not for their excuses of dementia or living through both the Depression and leisure suits. Old women are ruder than Shannen Doherty on a bad day at the Peach Pit. I'm not going to go into the details, but suffice it to say that some days I wish I could have reamed the mean old ones without worrying about them dropping dead halfway through my rant.

On the second day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . you can make fun of others as a family. Our family games began with poolside Connect Four and rose to the heights of spotting the most offensive of the holiday vests/sweaters/mistletoe earrings and Rudolph brooches DON'T COUNT ALREADY. More fun than quarter slots and CATS, I tell you. I scored unlimited points when I unknowingly rescued a full-on frantic Santa sweater from the restroom when she didn't remember to push rather than to pull. Queen for a day, I was.

On the third day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . in the heat Uggs are unnecessary. It's 80 degrees, young one. I don't recall a scheduled stop in the Alps. Why the need to wear hairy boots?

On the fourth day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . with cheese sculptures I must disagree. Mr. Culinary genius, I appreciate the artistic merit of your watermelon swan and even riskier endeavors such as the turkey ice carving created poolside, but the sharp cheddar duck was over the top. Not all is lost, my friend. At least your indiscretions are still less irritating than those of the much-maligned ship's photographer, who is surprisingly more persistent than the woman in Costa Maya insisting we'd all look spectacular in braids.

On the fifth day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . cell phones are not what they're cracked up to be. Believe it or not, I survived seven full days without cell service, and these were seven of the happiest days of my life. I didn't need to call anyone when I was tubing under stalactites in 100-foot caves in Belize. And although I had the urge to drunk dial while on a catamaran in Cozumel - just to say that I was having a Corona after snorkeling at 10 in the morning - I replaced that phone space with a few more minutes staring into the teal water. I don't make resolutions, but I am vowing to try to turn my cellular crutch off more and more this year. There is just too much else to savor.

On the sixth day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . Lost has ruined any chance of me traveling comfortably. It isn't the visual of the plane breaking in half that is etched into my brain (although I must admit to that running through my mind on occasion at 37,000 feet). I actually study the habits of those in my travel environment to gauge a) their potential to forage successfully for nuts and berries and 200-pound wild boar, b) their ability to fit the requisite island roles (e.g., young woman who looks good without makeup but amply covered in sweat DUE TO HER WEARING JEANS AND A CLUNKY BELT IN THE 100 DEGREE HEAT, canine character actor who has no problem doing nothing but drinking water for 37 consecutive takes), and c) the likelihood that they'll have an effervescent back story to which we can refer in future episodes. I'm serious.

On the last day of my cruise this lesson came to me . . . in most of us there is such beauty. Our server works six straight months before getting time off to visit her children in the Phillipines and yet she met us every evening with multiple giggles and questions about our day. She grew to know each of our names and would sneak away when no manager was near to talk more with us. On one of my shore excursions a family saw that I was touring alone and welcomed me into their group; we talked so much that the book I had intended to read while in transit sat untouched in my bag. My Belizean tour guide pulled up a chair and had chicken and Coke (in a bottle!) with me at my otherwise unoccupied table. Nearly every person I encountered took the extra time to give a little more. Call it the vacation, blame it on the holidays, but it is comforting to see that the 6 o'clock news doesn't cover all we have to offer. Even the cruise biddies couldn't ruin that.


48 Comments:

Blogger amamgets said...

My mom took us on a cruise a few years ago, and the housekeeper for our cabin was unbelievable. She worked her butt off for her son (who stayed with her sister while she was onboard), and was nothing but pure, gracious beauty. When we left, she was the person my babies kept running back to hug.

Okay I gotta say-- the visual I now have of the frozen turkey sculpture poolside is wrecking my world.

Anonymous Jorge said...

Sounds like a blast, Kris.
Indeed, there are many unsung heroes of vacations that some people never truly appreciate. I'm glad you do.

But then, I expected no less.

I am sad about your Cell Phone resolution, though.

How else will we jaw from time to time?

Jorge

Blogger KlevaBich said...

Wow, you went on a cruise alone? Good for you! And over the holidays, no less. I stand in awe (and quite a bit of jealousy...).

Blogger Bridget Jones said...

Does sound like a blast Kris! Did you know that learning from your experiences is a sign of intelligence!? Well it is.

VERY good for you to have gone alone, that takes guts (have been there on vacations not cruises).

Totally agree with you re old biddies...you would not belive what my Mom says sometimes.

But now as she's aging, that phase is past. Think it has to do with loss of strength, freedom, etc.

HNY!!!

Bridg

Blogger Keith said...

very cool. sounds like loads of fun. hope it recharged your batteries.

Blogger Washington Cube said...

I've always been afraid of cruises because of the 1) people and 2) food. It sounds like you survived the worst and had a good time. Now I've got that cheese duck stuck in my head. Older people shoot their mouths off because they've had to suppress it all of those decades, and now they think it is their "due" to be able to say whatever they want, regardless of ongoing social niceties.

Blogger Melliferous Pants said...

The first day of your cruise lesson perfectly describes my grandma. It seems wrong to call an eighty-something-year-old relative a bitch, but my grandma is a bitch. She does this terrible thing where she yells "WAH!" and "Boo hoo, you poor little baby" at us. It's especially disheartening during a breakup. This weekend I relearned my lesson about only spending time with her when I am emotionally strong.

By the way, she's going on a cruise later this month.

Blogger WDKY said...

What a tremendous post. Sounds like you had a really great time, and you're so right about cell phones!

Blogger NARDAC said...

Sick! You made me sick! A cheddar duck? Barfing already. Not to mention your last paragraph, which should have Enya playing behind it....*


*kidding kind of but I'll blame it on New Year's and some very sordid case of cruise jealousy.

Blogger t2ed said...

Cruises are prison with the threat of drowning.

Glad you had fun and enjoyed it though.

When I went, I was a caged animal. Man, them rooms is small. How small were they?

When my wife and I tried to get dressed at the same time we needed lubricant.

When I saw a mouse in my room, I said, "Hey, buddy. Where are you going to sleep?"

When they brought room service, I had to eat in the hall.

Now that's small.

Blogger megw2 said...

Welcome back! It sounds like you had a nice vacation barring the biddies and moon boots, er, Uggs.


Still jealous --------->

Blogger Kris said...

Hi sweet thangs! I'm so happy to see your smiling blog faces! :) Happy new year to all!!!

To clarify, I actually went on the cruise with my family, so I'm not nearly as interesting as you thought I was. I only went on some of my shore excursions solo.

And Nardac, I truthfully was thinking more Sarah McLaughlin than Enya. Ever since South Park ruined Enya for me ("Now you know what it's like to be a grandpa") I can't listen to her.

Blogger JordanBaker said...

I'm so afraid of the cheese duck.

Blogger Robin said...

It all sounds like heaven. Glad you had such a great time!

My cruise experience - not so inspiring. But it's nice to know that it won't kill me to try again in the future!!

:-)

Blogger kitkat said...

Uggs are completely unnecessary anywhere. Period.

That's all :) Glad you had an interesting time. I would love to travel alone.

Blogger Kiki said...

I love the Lost one. You crack me up. Sounds like a good time though!

Blogger Sizzle said...

your back! yippee!

i shall never understand the allure of uggs (or as I call them, ughs). they look lame on everyone.

:) sizz

Blogger Cheryl said...

cruises are the best. Glad you had a good time...Welcome back!

Blogger Sugarmama said...

I've thought about wanting to take a cruise before, but am terrified that I'd spend the whole time seasick. You didn't mention it, though...

By the way, culinary school students are also taught to make sculptures out of tallow. As in rendered beef fat.

Blogger Anisa said...

FUN!! i desperately want to go on a cruise, but my husband gets motion sickness. :(

Blogger DC Cookie said...

Befriending the employees is a fabulous idea. Free drink hook ups (and we all know how much I like drinking)

Blogger Spinning Girl said...

Funny, poignant, touching, hilarious. Everything a good post should be ... and you nailed it!
I have goose bumps.

Blogger Dave said...

Hey, welcome back! Whadja bring me? If it's just seashells again, I'm gonna be mad. Potent rum, I said!

Awwww Jersey, you were gonna drunk dial me?
That's so sweet.
Well here, this is my half of what we would've talked about.

"What...Who IS this...Kris..Kris WHO? Ohhhhh. What? Boxers...why? Really? All wet....Corona?!? Drink real beer!"

Blogger Megarita said...

Somebody needs to start a band called "cruise biddies." I have to say that I have far more fears of being on a ship that founders than being in a plane that crashes. Thanks for clarifying this for me. :)

Blogger kimmay said...

i'm so glad your back!!!

Blogger Wicked H said...

HNY - Mama!

Welcome back, as you can see, you were missed.

Blogger Amber said...

So glad you're back and that you had a wonderful time!! I especially liked your lesson regarding the cell phones. I have GOT to spend less time with my phone and my computer this year...

Happy New Year!!

Anonymous Wendy said...

Absolutely hilarious, Kris...the part about checking out your fellow air travelers to see who would best be able to forage nuts and berries had me laughing out loud. Great stuff.

Blogger Dave said...

Hey all,

Just so you know, the 2006 Bloggies are currently accepting nominations.

You like Kris's work? Rock the vote.

Blogger Bill said...

Forgive the ignorance, but what in the world is an ugg?

Musically, I'd go more retro ... lounge-like, maybe Bobby Darrin, Dean Martin, that sort of thing. Music for cocktails.

Blogger Bill said...

That should be Darin, one r. And I mentioned it because I had "Beyond the Sea" in my head.

Blogger Sanora said...

Fabulous post, especially loved your "rescue" lesson. As usual, my most entertaining read of the day....

Blogger Marissa said...

Love this! Hysterical! I actually found myself singing out loud - and I fell of my chair laughing at the Ugg part. I know JUST what you mean, I was in Arizona and saw girls wearing them. Simply NOT necessary!!! I'm glady you had fun! Happy New Year

Blogger MKD said...

I hate you. No seriously. I was back and forth on it but then "I didn't need to call anyone when I was tubing under stalactites in 100-foot caves in Belize." Yep that's hate.

Cruise biddies are the ones that will fight you for a deck chair... only to throw a towel on it to "save" it, because they have to go to breakfast! WTF?!?

I feel your pain. They should have cruises that are dedicated to women over 70... and they aren't allowed to cruise with anyone else ever!

Anonymous whoorl said...

Oh Kris, how I missed thee!

So glad to have you back in the blogosphere.

Blogger LBseahag said...

glad you are back safely...

the uggs killed me...i was in denver and saw three chicks wearing em with pj bottoms...if they only knew, that is soooo three seasons ago here in socal...sheesh...damn wannabees...

Blogger Debby said...

HOORAY!!! YOU'RE BACK!!

Glad to hear you enjoyed the cruise. The Uggs kill me, just can't figure out the obsession with them.

Thank you, thank you, a million times thank you for all the amazing blogs your non-contest turned me on to!!!!

Blogger katie's brain said...

Yay! Kris, you're back! I used to work for a hotel owned by Holland America and got a couple of cruises out of the deal--your post took me back to all the good and bad =)

Blogger Egan said...

Wonderful post Kris. I loved the Peach Pit reference for day one. It sounds like you had an amazing time. Glad to hear that. Good luck in 2006.

Blogger Finn said...

Please amend that sentence to read, "Ruder than Shannon Doherty wearing Uggs on a bad day at the Peach Pit." 'Cause that would be ugly. I know those women - they all live in Florida and shop at my grocery store and in my mall (maul). Their only redeeming feature is that they will be dead soon.

Glad to have you back - it sounds like you had a glorious time!

Blogger SugarHigh said...

welcome back Kris. Glad to hear you had a great time. Glad you are back though, was missing your posts for certain. ;)

Blogger Jackie said...

Hello Kris.
Old ladies are indeed biddies. And they expect you to put up with it because they are OLD.

So lame.

Sounds like you had an awesome time. Welcome back. Now the unpacking begins: quite possibly the worst part of vacationing.

Blogger missbhavens said...

A cheese duck?

See, if I were to go on a cruise, I'd get a standard ice swan...nothing to write home about there. YOU go on a cruise and get a cheddar duck? Not only are you a terrific writer, you get all the best material, too!

Cheese duck? My lord...

Belize? Jealous. Or, "jealize"...

Blogger afromabq said...

I'm glad you're back too. You're writing is so awesome, mixed w/a little whacky. Love it. I've commented before, but as afromabq, so I've been hitting your site for awhile now. Great post.

Blogger Kate said...

Just so you know, I can both hunt and gather with the best of 'em. Seriously. I can make herbal medicine from weeds too. (Just in case you need a cruise partner next time you go to Belize).

BTW: Did you go to Monkey River? My husband always threatens to go to Monkey River when he's pissed at me. It's kind of like version of that song "Jackson", by Johnny and June Cash.

Blogger Brookelina said...

I love my UGGs. I have had them for over 10 years - long before they were cool. But I wouldn't bring them on a cruise. Then again, I've been on a cruise before, and I wouldn't bring myself on a cruise again.

Hated it!

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