A quick set up:
I turned 50 on October 6, 2012. My wife surprised me about three weeks before, during a particular low spot in my life with a piece of paper. “Happy birthday,” she said. I opened the paper and quickly scanned it.
“We’re going on a cruise?” I said, and my mind kind of shut down with happiness after that. In fact, it wasn’t until several minutes later, as I was refolding the paper, that I saw the word “Greece” and just about shit. This is the story of what happened on that trip, taken almost exclusively from the diary I kept along the way.
There was a farmer who had a dog,
And Bingo was his name-o.
And Bingo was his name-o.
B-I-N-G-O – Traditional
October 11: At sea
Our one and only full day at sea, we found ourselves with no agenda. A day of sleeping in, and resting and reflecting on the amazing week we’ve had so far.
We woke late and, after taking our time, went down to breakfast, then bummed around the ship, checking out some areas we either hadn’t seen up to now or wanted to see more of.
Karen thought she might be interested in giving the morning session of bingo a shot. If it was any good, she might even hit the afternoon session. Turns out a ton of people wanted to play bingo, so, with limited seating left of the deck, we could only find seating in the smoking section.
You’d think that wouldn’t be a big deal out in the open air of the top deck, but you’d be wrong. Remember, we’re Canadians, (where, as a friend says, you can marry a fag, but you can’t smoke one–and before you get all uppity about “fag,” a gay friend has officially and formally allowed me to use the term as I see fit. So there. Nyah.) used to people huddling out in the middle of nowhere, smoking their butts as outcasts of society, not provided areas to smoke. So, yeah, it was nasty. And while it was nice to be out in the open on the Mediterranean, Karen also found the sea breeze cold.
And finally, the bingo caller, one of the ship’s entertainers, was a complete and utter dick. He might have thought he was amusing, because he seemed to be insanely entertained by the noise coming out of his mouth, but no, he was just a dick. Enough of a dick that it turned her off from coming back to the afternoon session.
By then, it was lunch, so we sat with a couple from Australia and a Swiss couple. The Aussies seemed nice, but the wife really seemed to have a burning need to name every single city and country they’d visited. Now, granted, it was an impressive list, but after a while I was simply hoping she’d give it a rest and move to another topic that we could all participate in.
The Swiss couple, however, we quite enjoyed. He had lived for a time in both Montreal and Vancouver and they were both very interesting to chat with.
Afterward, we headed down to try our hand at another challenge (seeing as how we kicked such serious ass at the Classic Rock one). This time it was movie theme songs. Now, this one, I basically took a back seat to, as Karen was the movie master. We had the same host as the Classic Rock challenge. I’d found him friendly, but only mildly amusing last time around, but this time, he was hysterical.
The trick this time was for him to play a snippet from a movie theme, and we had to name the film.
The first one was ridiculously easy, the Raiders of the Lost Ark theme. The second one immediately proved Karen’s superiority at this game. I heard the snippet, was sure it was the song The Heat Is On and went to put down Beverly Hills Cop.
Karen flashed her don’t even consider questioning me look, told me…okay, sorry, demanded I write down Top Gun and not interfere with her genius. Which, to be fair, really was the right move. I’d hear something, have no clue whatsoever, and she’d be there with the title.The song, of course, was not The Heat Is On, it was Danger Zone.
In the end, we only missed two. Beetlejuice and Jurassic Park and got beaten out by a group of six from Ottawa who got a perfect 16/16. Ah well, no umbrellas this time. The prize was luggage tags, so no biggie. Still, Karen kicked ass.
Now, I mentioned that the host was hysterical. What made it funny was that this entire challenge was based on us listening to the snippets, but the game was continuously interrupted by a ship announcement, which isn’t funny in its own right, but by the third announcement cut in– “To BINGO or NOT to BINGO? THAT is the QUESTION!” –the host’s reactions were screamingly funny. And then, just as the announcement finished, the host would open his mouth to say something, then the message would again. In Italian. The again. In German. Then again. In Spanish. I can’t do it justice, but it was hilarious.
After a lazy afternoon, we had a quiet dinner by ourselves. Now, as it happened, we sat nearby another table of four who were talking books. Killed me, but no, today was about the two of us. And dinner was about the two of us right now.
Meanwhile, I’d already reacted, glancing over at their table. Likely with a longing look. But no, I needed to fight this. Listen to the wife. Eyes front, soldier.
A few minutes later, I moved to get up for dessert and my belt rubbed against the back of the vinyl seat, making a farting noise. Karen glanced up sharply, gave me the stink eye and said, “That wasn’t you, was it?” Death awaited a positive response.
“It’s not me!” I said desperately. I pointed at the offending furniture. “It’s the chair!”
This got the Pet Sematary woman laughing beside me and she apologized, still chuckling.
Well, hell, that was the only opening I needed. Pet Sematary woman had spoken to me. So of course I had to throw in some comment referencing their Stephen King conversation from minutes earlier.
At which point Karen flashed the stink eye again. “Couldn’t not say it, could you?”
Guilty as charged. It did, however, lead to a short but pleasant chat with the four of them. And one of the couples (not the Pet Sematary woman and her husband, but the other couple) seemed very nice. About our age, very friendly.
Then, we crashed early, because we were up early the next morning for our last stop on the cruise, Dubrovnik, in Croatia.