My friend recently told me, her voice breathless with excitement, that she and her husband had just made reservations for a two-week cruise to Belize next autumn.
Everyone I know who has gone on a cruise has raved endlessly about the great time they had. I’m not sure why, but the thought of spending time aboard a cruise ship has never appealed to me. I guess it’s because I’ve always thought of ships as being nothing more than big floating hotels…hotels that you’re trapped in and can’t leave whenever you want to. For that reason, I’d prefer to stay in a hotel that’s on terra firma – where I can come and go as I please…without having to wear a life vest.
Cruises, however, were something my late husband used to mention on a regular basis throughout our marriage.
“I’ve heard that the Alaskan cruises are fantastic,” he’d say every two or three months. “And the scenery is gorgeous!”
“That’s nice, dear,” I would answer, then immediately change the subject. “Hey, there’s a great sale on toilet-bowl cleaner at Walmart!”
One summer day, when yet again, my husband mentioned an Alaskan cruise (the 90-degree temperatures may have had something to do with it), I finally began to think that maybe I was being selfish; maybe I was standing in the way of his lifelong dream. So, feeling guilty, I went to my computer and checked the Internet for cruises to Alaska, then downloaded all of the information.
That night, when I told my husband what I had done, his eyes lit up. “You mean you actually might consider going on an Alaskan cruise?”
“Yeah. In fact, I think it kind of sounds like fun,” I said. “Listen to some of the information
He listened intently as I first read the ship’s sample menu: “Chilled yogurt soup, smoked duck with wild greens, crab quiche, salmon in dill sauce, crayfish tails in saffron-tomato sauce, and walnut-spinach pie.” From the look on his face, you would think I had just described meals made from food scraps salvaged from the town dump.
“REAL people don’t eat that kind of stuff,” he said. “Heck, I wouldn’t even know a crayfish if one was sitting on the tip of my nose! Just give me a big stack of cheeseburgers and fries, and I’ll be happy.”
“And look at all the great activities the ship offers!” I continued. “There’s aerobics, rock climbing, a golf simulator, line-dancing classes, ping pong, bingo, scuba diving, in-line skating, spin classes, volleyball and wine tasting!”
With each activity I listed, my husband’s frown grew deeper, until his bottom lip nearly touched his chin. “I’m old and out of shape,” he finally said. “If I tried to do any of that stuff, the only thing I’d end up seeing in Alaska would be the inside of the nearest intensive-care unit!”
“Well, you could always play bingo,” I said.
“Yeah, and then I would really need CPR…to revive me from a boredom-induced coma!”
“How about just relaxing out on the deck in the sunlight, then? Or swimming in the pool?”
I didn’t think it was possible, but his frown grew even “frownier.” “You know I’m allergic to the sun! Ten minutes out on that deck and I’d puff up like a hot-air balloon. And swimming? Even for a million dollars in cash, I wouldn’t subject the poor people on the ship to the sight of my flabby, hairy body in swim trunks! I have my pride, you know!”
Still trying to find something that might interest him, I said, “It says here that they have some nice bus and walking tours of the different areas and historical sites when the ship is in port. Those might be nice.”
He shook his head. “Walking is out of the question. As it is now, I get out of breath just walking from our driveway into the house. And have you forgotten I still need surgery for a heel spur? And a bus tour? I’m taking diuretics! Do these buses even have bathrooms? If they don’t, I’d probably end up wetting my pants the minute the bus hit a bump!”
I sighed and put down the information sheet. “Let me get this straight,” I said. “If you were to go on a cruise, your idea of fun would be to spend a couple thousand dollars just to stay in your cabin all day and have room service toss cheeseburgers and fries at you every few hours?”
He smiled and nodded. “And Pepsi.”
At that point, it no longer mattered to me that I might be keeping him from his lifelong dream of an Alaskan cruise.
Heck, I figured all I’d have to do was lock him in the bedroom, occasionally splash some water against the windows, play one of those “ocean sounds” CDs and feed him cheeseburgers, and he’d be just as happy.
And I’d have charged him only half of what the real cruise would have cost.
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