Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Alice in Shipland: Sick Slug 1.0

When we last left our heroine she was lonely and sad about to start yet another Caribbean tour—the ultimate impossible conundrum. Would she make it?! Guess what? She did.
-Sunday night involved waking up for dinner, eating a baked potato at molasses pace on the pool deck (fresh air) while everyone around me did the hustle, buying a ton of water and Gatorade, and curling up to watch the Katy Perry documentary, which I cried several times during.
-I have been supremely productive onboard. I write every day and have revised my musical, written the first draft of a solo show, published a theatre ed essay, and am still chugging. I hadn’t yet watched a movie. Oh, did that change. This week was about rest and survival. I pounded through episode after episode of Better Call Saul and watched both Magic Mikes.* For most of the week, a huge majority of all food looked scary and/or gross. For some reason French fries looked okay. I hadn’t eaten literally one fry since coming aboard, and suddenly, with no other options, I was plowing through multiple plates a day. Yolo.
-Major moment of hatred in Cozumel. There is a long walk from gangway to port, so middle-aged men pedal bike taxis up and down for interested cruisers. They work for tips only. As I walked slowly down the strip I heard a voice screaming behind me, “Out of the way, out of the way! He gets a bigger tip if he wins!” A woman riding a bike taxi was yelling at her driver to “giddyup” and beat the three taxis far far ahead of them. She hollered at everyone passing about how she wanted to win. She laughed joyfully. What was worse: the driver totally bought in and pedaled his brains out. He was huffing and puffing, leaning full into his handlebars, sweating madly. I was horrified and legitimately wanted to smack the woman in the face. I watched as the driver miraculously beat two of the three other taxis. A woman in the third-fastest taxi patted her biker’s shoulder in a demeaning sweetness, “You tried.” The Devil Tourist meanwhile jumped out with glee and put four crumpled dollars in her driver’s hand. In any other situation I would certainly accost her. These. Are. Humans. Not. Horses. But, I work for a cruise ship, and I can never be even remotely confrontational to a passenger. Sigh. Sigh. Sigh.
-In Honduras in lieu of a beach day I went to an animal sanctuary. It was only a few minutes away and cost ten dollars to get in. I walked through the butterfly garden and learned the park mashes up papaya and beer to get the insects drunk so they will mate more. I saw a huge-winged blue morpho butterfly! I learned about those in 4th grade through my avid playing of Amazon Trail the computer game! I saw agouti, held a kinkajou, and monkeys jumped on my head. And then I went back to the crew lounge to send a few business emails. MY LIFE.
-An hour before curtain it was decided it was my turn to host the big show. I rehearsed a couple times and halfway through standing in a spotlight giving a spiel to 1,000 people I don’t know I realized how incredible it is that that feels like nothing. I still love my job, but the magic “omg I am performing for SC!” has worn. Like how I now spend ZPill and MB’s scene backstage trying to balance a tennis ball on my hand instead of, like, soaking in how amazing the history of this theatre is/how lucky I am etc. etc. whatever and ever amen. I don’t mourn this. It’s necessary. If people were always in childlike awe, we’d just be slack-jawed tubs of blood.
-So, there were eleven Elvis impersonators on this cruise. There’s an annual “celebration” of Elvis impersonators? And this year the 300 Elvis fans gathered on a cruise ship going to the Caribbean? And I snuck into a balcony seat for the private showcase on Friday where EACH ELVIS PERFORMED TWO NUMBERS. Literal hundreds of old ladies recording a buncha fat dudes shake their hips around. Several Elvii repeated the phrase, “The more noise you make, the more I shake” and bitties would shriek. Saturday morning an Elvis stood next to me at the omlette bar. My heart quickened. He was wearing typical schlub clothes and sneakers but his hair was quaffed and he really did look like Elvis. I was actually star struck. I couldn’t look him in the eye.
-Walking forward to aft of the ship I often take the outside promenade—an opportunity for fresh air. Strangely, one can go several hours in the middle of the ocean without fresh air. I was doing a quick trot to my call on Friday and was stopped dead. The moon was brilliant. It was perfectly circle and shining like a pearl in the sky. A hundred clouds—decades deep—surrounded it. The beauty stunned me. I soaked in the light as if it were a shower.
-During the family friendly show MB and I played awkward teenagers whose parents had just married. It was New Choice, so she said she admired me for my fashion DING the amount of smores I could eat DING the fact that I could do two cartwheels in a row. I practiced cartwheels religiously during the Georgia Olympics. I was sad to learn I would never be a gymnast because I was too old when I became interested. But, guess what, years and years later I cartwheeled in front of a clapping audience, so dreams, when given enough time and sleep, do come true.
-Blue Eyes moved to Mobile after grad school—less than two hours away from New Orleans. “Sure, we’ll come out to visit,” he emailed me a couple weeks ago. What a sight for cruise life eyes! These friends from another planet! We ate chubby hipster donuts (flavors: cereal and milk and seven-layer). We walked down Magazine Street’s dozens of boutiques. I closed my eyes to suck in the honeysuckle perfuming every corner. I felt the hugeness of the world beyond not only the ship but comedy in general for the first time in a long time, and I sat in that feeling like a real cozy lawn chair.

Blue Eyes and wifey! And donuts.

*The original was excellent. The sequel unentertaining, poorly-written, and marginally offensive. Channing Tatum tho.

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