Monday, July 4, 2016

Alice in Ship Land: Things Fall Apart

Our second sail away day, a foursome of us planned to eat at a ship restaurant. We're supposed to be allowed in anytime after 8:30. We showed up at 8, were told to go across the ship for a new restaurant, told to wait forty-five minutes, then fifteen more, were told no chance. These are the things that wear. Who can complain about free food? And yet. Ate soggy lettuce in the general dining hall at 9 PM. I told myself no desserts for the week and shoved two pieces of Sadness Cake into my face. I've gained five pounds since February. I suppose for living inside a buffet this is a victory. I feel like I am becoming my own cruise ship. Wide and stuffed with cheapness.

I call Puhg from the deck of the ship, glum, and he reminds me I'm not there to love cruise ships or to even have fun--but to perform and write. I say aloud "You're right. As long as I have my computer, I'm good." This is what some may call "foreshadowing."

I spend the sea day working viciously on my new screenplay from the moment I wake up (I pack my bag and run to the library--suddenly shot with a Need To Work--without breakfast, makeup, or even a bra). I write all day, exhausted and in pjs by 7.

We all take the ferry to St George as a unit--except ZPill who needs his space. It's a quaint village--historic and pink. We tour a replica of the ship that first came to Bermuda (The Tempest is based on this!) and take stupid photos in the stocks. We walk to a seemingly secret beach. No frills, but free, So Blue, and in a cove of rock. I feel like The Little Mermaid and perch upon a rock to croon. I cut my hands open. I swim for a long long time. I read. We walk up the hill to the only restaurant for a mile and imagine how this paradise was considered the devil's island. I get it--palm trees are pointy. Proof that first impressions can be stupid. The food is horrifyingly expensive. I drink nothing and eat a small caprese salad. I pay $24. Tail pretends to be our dad as we journey back, grunting catchphrases like, "Now everyone pay attention!" and "Hey! This vacation is as much for your mother as it is for you." Before I go I sit on a sunny bench and journal with a homemade cup of butterscotch ice cream.

And then things start going downhill. I decide to write in the evening but my computer won't turn on. I try everything. I suck up half my Internet package chatting with Apple Support. Nothing. Nothing but a back screen. Goodbye saved TV shows and drafts and emails. Hello cold metal envelope. Everyone is supposed to go dancing but I am too sad. MB generously lets me borrow her computer. I watch The Affair alone underwater. I tell Flood about how eerie it is. How I had announced my dependence on my computer. He did this same contract before me. He knows the "struggle"/ "not at all struggle." He tells me, "You let the ship know your weakness." Before I left I met one of his castmates. She said, "I would never ever go out there again. My mom says a part of me died." None of us laugh.

I wake up at 7:30 to prepare for a day trip to Hamilton. I flush the toilet and it truly explodes, gushing water rapidly. I call our manager. I call the operator. "No, this is an emergency," I say. The operator tells me the plumber isn't awake yet. We throw every semblance of a towel into the bathroom. We remove everything from the floor. I go to the gym because I'm going crazy and, well, what else can I do? When I return, someone has just arrived to fix it. Our neighbor, turns out, knows him personally and called as a favor. We would be drenched if not for the small act of kindness. I get off the ship and run into ZPill who sees how grey I am and buys me a donut. It's four dollars and warm and cinnamon.

Hamilton: everyone legitimately wears Bermuda shorts (like, businessmen), I sat in a park to read and saw wild chickens with chicks running behind them, without wanting to shop or eat there was nothing else to do. I listened to an interview by Nia Vardalos on the ride to the dockyard. In the two hours before rehearsal I take advantage of half-price in-port Internet and research farm subsidies in the US. The more oppressive the boat feels the tighter we become. After rehearsal we sit for a long time at the late night snack buffet. Between our toilet and showers only running cold water in the boys' hall, 1/6 of our cast has a functioning bathroom. We laugh a lot.

In the morning I am called for a security training. It was 90 minutes of "anyone can be a terrorist" and a lot of sexist jokes from the trainer. Everyone went out finding fun and I watched August Osage County alone.

I am awoken in darkness. Our hallway floor is being waxed. It sounds like jackhammers and starts and stops irregularly, dashing any hope of just getting used to the wretched noise. It's 4:30 AM. It lasts for an hour. I let myself sleep. I catch Folds, ZPill, and Cutty at breakfast. We have a very healthy conversation about "What is the best thing about me? And, what do you wish were different about me? What do you wish were different about you?" In essence, ZPill should commit more, Folds is unorganized, I am myself and can't be swayed (blessing/curse), and Cutty says he wishes his quads were better. It's hard to work without my drafts, but I do. I write bits of my new work in my notebook. I make research notes. Our toilet is kaput again. This time a sinister leak. It will be dry floor one hour, puddle the next. This persists for days. My headphones break. I feel lonely. Why is this happening?

The gold is that our shows are untouched by any feelings I have. The job part of my job is still The Best. In our adult show ZPill introduces me as "the cast member wearing a dress designed by Ivanka Trump" (on sale at Marshall's). MB and I play conjoined twins. Our favorite cruise staff guys are sitting on the ground near the front row. I love to teach the improv workshop. It's ever so simple, but who cares? This is what improv was designed for. After the family show I walk a lap around the promenade. The starry sky looks like its been cut open, a huge gash sliced out.

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