To sea, we be... we were
|It's a glacier! Uh, no, it's the thing beyond|
the two people at the table. Sheesh.
On the remote chance that we hear seven consecutive horn blasts, Kay and I are supposed to go to section “R” on Deck five to get in line for our lifeboat. We learned that during a muster call. I thought I’d best tell you that at the get go, just in case I should end this thing in mid sentence. – What? Muster call? Uh, put it out of your mind.
This is the story of our “At Sea” part of the Alaskan Cruise. Last week I told you about our tours in Juneau, Skagway and Victoria, British Columbia. Now, I’m going to tell you about life on the boat. Go find your sea legs.
There are a lot of people on this ship. I imagine there are only a half dozen countries not represented. (That’s an exaggeration, but not a big one.) This has offered us each an excellent opportunity to learn of our fellow planet-dwellers.
One thing I’ve learned is that many of the passengers on this boat have poor peripheral vision. Most of ‘em have put Kay in harm’s way, because she too has poor peripherals. Fortunately, I’m ever vigilant and have good peripherals. Only once did my vigilance betray me.
It was on Day 3, my friend, when we docked at Juneau just at lunchtime. Many passengers needed to get off boat by 12:15 to make it to their prepaid, pre-scheduled excursions -- Zip-lining, whale watching, gold panning… That meant each of us had to hit the buffet at the same time.
The buffet is on Deck 11 and I could hear the ruckus from Deck 9. (another exaggeration.) When we made it to the huge room that was too small to accommodate, I told Kay, “Pilgrim, leave us go amongst them.” We got separated in the first three minutes. I figured Kay had wandered off in search of a plate. Plates were as scarce as patience.
I don’t wait well, so I stood against the wall and observed. What I saw was a buffet with only one person in line. It was a little old lady waiting at the salad bar. I moved in right behind her. That’s when I reasoned why she was alone. There were no plates on the plate rack. A buffet does not work without plates. Most people know that. The lady was close to grasping the concept.
Fortunately, it wasn’t long before a stack of plates appeared above the heads of the passengers. The man who belonged to the hand wove his way through the human maze and eventually reached the salad bar and deposited the dishes. The guy wasn’t even a part of the service personnel. Let’s call him Gabriel.
If it were a movie, the director would’ve filmed the next three minutes in slo-mo. In a short second, I was pushed aside like a Jehovah’s Witness on Halloween. So many women and children, each with a pair of arms attached to elbows. When the smoke cleared I was left standing alone, next to an empty plate rack. I was plateless, but alive. The experience made me question the effectiveness of our disaster drill instructions.
It was at that moment that I realized how ridiculous it was for the captain to call for a muster drill on deck. -- “Should you hear the horn blast seven times, calmly head to your room to pick up your life jackets and then proceed to your lifeboat section.” -- I might’ve added, “Or you may wish to avoid the melee on deck, take a dive and swim to the nearest crab boat. (That was just a passing thought of mine.)
During breakfast and dinner there are alternatives to buffet. There are a couple of huge dining areas located on Decks four and five. Each person’s table assignment is posted on his or her Sea Pass. (I.D. card) Kay and I belonged to table 442 for dinner. So did two other couples. I consider it a bit awkward eating with strangers. There are some friends I don’t even want to eat with. Fortunately, Kay and I were seated with two charming couples. Actually, one charming couple and a charming lady with her husband, Tom.
Tom reminds me of Woody Allen, and I told him so. It’s his voice inflection, rapidity of speech and his mannerisms. He didn’t recognize the resemblance. He said, “The only thing Woody Allen and I have in common is we both married our daughter.” Tom’s wife, Marge, and I were the only ones who heard him. Marge hit him with an elbow to the ribs, and, uh, I laughed. I mean it was so quick. A quick quip. Just like Woody Allen.
Bert and Johnna are our other two eating companions. They’re from Worchester, Massachusetts, and they’re both into health care. Johnna is a recently promoted ER nurse who now has a supervisory role at the hospital. Bert is involved in a Lifeflight program near Boston.
Both people have seen and been involved in some grizzly episodes. That’s why I felt comfortable telling them about the kidney stone I was carrying. My urologist advised me not to cancel the cruise; that there’s a good chance the stone won’t move… unless I go zip-lining.
I’ve run out of time to tell you about the stage performances each night of the cruise. Quality shows, I must say. On night two we were entertained by Bowser from Sha Na Na. The person I considered the least talented of the group was likely the most. He and a trio of young singers danced and sang some hits from the 60s. At one point Bowser, Jon Bauman, played some classical music on a Grand Piano. I’m not making this up. He’s a talented man.
Oops. While this article is all but over, this trip is far from it. As soon as we dock in Seattle, Kay and I are going to visit my sister on the East Side of the mountains in a town called Grandview. I haven’t seen my sister in three years. And, I haven’t seen most of her grandkids ever. They’re going to love Kay. I don’t know what they’re going to do with me. I’ll let you know how it goes. – Next time.