Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Alice in Ship Land Six: All Aboard the Fussy Boat

-I only had two weeks on my library digital download loan for Americanah, which is a longer book. This meant lingering at the gym for a few extra reclining bike miles and early bedtimes with a side of my iPad. I finished one day early, and I felt accomplished. I had forgotten what deadlines felt like. Don’t get me wrong—not having them is nice. But having them is nice too.
-In Cozumel at the crew bar Say told us that you can jump off a large rock wall into the ocean twenty feet below. When I stood on the chalky ledge and looked down, my knees wobbled. I was assured me it was plenty deep. Folds did it first. He swam around, and we jumped together. I surprised myself by screaming. I hit the water with a salt splash to my nose.
-Because I didn’t go to Roatan this week I had Wednesday lunch and found my new favorite ship food—veggie BBQ fitters. Divine.
-Gratitude comes so easily. This is the best job I’ve ever had. This is a beautiful place. I am even grateful for the challenges—gently pushing me to become thicker skinned. I find myself whispering “thank you” like some whacked out Julia Eat Pray Love Roberts. The water is too teal, and sometimes “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone” playing over the café loudspeaker starts up right as I take the first sip of weak coffee.
-Apparently Doritos taste different in Mexico. I tell SAY I’ve never tried a Mexican Dorito. He brings me a bag Tuesday afternoon. I open it to accompany my viewing of two new episodes of Girls with MB. They taste more…garden-y? Maybe more green pepper? Yes, different. I chomp through half the bag. MB says, “Put those away.” And I say no. And then I skip dinner, sitting in the library outlining my next show.
-We play Hearts in the atrium. Folds accidentally shoots the moon and then tries to do it again. I talk a big game about how it’s fun even though we’re all losing. Like, a real underdog story. He has no idea I’m about to sweep the glory right out from under him with the kind of hearts in the final round. I do. I feel victorious and evil—things we shouldn’t strive to feel maybe, but things that are fun to feel once in a great while.
-Friday I woke up a little bit sick of the ship. So sick I opted to skip my workout, throw on my bikini, and head, alone, into Costa Maya. I imagined slurping the free wifi to download Instagram photos at a tortoise pace and the sun. The glorious sun as I sat in the saltwater pool. But when I left my cabin and walked up to the gangway…there was no gangway. I went back to my room, turned on the TV to the bowcam channel and saw open water. It was too wavy. We would not be porting. My heart sank into the ocean. I pulled back my hair and went to the gym. I listened to Kelly Clarkson not ironically. I tried. I really tried.
-At the start of the cruise I spied the tiny plush ship in the gift shop window. I told myself it was for a tough day. I am now the owner of a small stuffed boat.
-At night it was my turn to participate in the evening game show—a hack version of Dancing with the Stars (I am considered a star here). Audience members put their names in buckets, and “cruise celebs” partner with them in five rounds of dancing (with eliminations) to ultimately find a crowd favorite. It. Was. So. Fun. My partner was a 9th grade teacher from Louisiana here on his honeymoon. His wife sat awkwardly in the front row as we pranced and danced and jived inappropriately to Sir Mix-A-Lot and “Footloose.” I really thought he was going to barf during “Cotton Eye Joe” but he swallowed it down. In the final round, the DJ spun “Time of Your Life” from Dirty Dancing. We decided we should try to execute the lift, but he told me he definitely wouldn’t be able to support my weight (thanks, bro). So he ran off the dance floor and leapt full on into my arms. I dropped him. We won. And, actually, I got a little of my groove back while holding that cheap plastic trophy.
-Saturday was grumpfest USA. Our cast was destroyed by the monotony of living inside a fun box, feet not touching land since Tuesday. I started the day in high spirits but slowly osmosised all the negativity until I was a puddle of woe by midnight. I felt asleep clutching my new friend (aforementioned plush novelty item) grateful Sunday brings the respite of a day in New Orleans.
-In my dream I was a time traveler who fell in love with another time traveler. He decided it wouldn’t work, so when we both had to go back to our respective eras, he refused to tell me his. I would never be able to find him. I woke up at 5:45.

-After a brisk powerwalk, I waited for the Coast Guard Drill. It didn’t happen. And it didn’t happen. And it still didn’t happen. And then it happened, at 10:15. Already two hours past when we usually are set free. I stood in the sun quietly with a lifejacket on until at last it was over. Two hours left of New Orleans day. Not enough. I practically ran to a restaurant I have been eyeing, promptly ate two brunch entrees, zipped over to the café with the best wifi, sent a couple professional emails while this week’s episodes of TV downloaded, and I was back on the big white manmade whale.

1 comment:

Liz McLane said...

I would like a 300-word review of Americanah, please. We read it in Jan (we is a book club I started with Diz and T).