My idea of a fun vacation involves something unique and unusual. This would include, for instance, backpacking through a war-torn African country or perhaps committing a string of identity thefts and bank robberies across central Europe.
My mother ignores my suggestions and plans a seven-day family cruise to Alaska. Hell is a place on Earth and its name is The Oosterdam.
As I enjoy my "Bon Voyage Dinner" on deck nine, I experience a brief moment of deep reflection and wonder if a single potato on this ship didn't arrive pre-cooked.
To maintain my sanity and battle the effects of seasickness, I begin to meticulously judge those around me. To my left, a group of 70+ year-old passengers who can't walk, see, or hear, order a bottle of wine. They will be having more fun than me, most probably. To my right, a group of overweight passengers heap mounds of roast beef onto little plates while discussing with each other the pitfalls of overeating. Straight ahead, a group of quintessential middle-aged Asians, chew with their mouths open and talk loudly about real estate.
The ship makes several stops on land. The first of which is in Juneau. After visiting Sarah Palin's old house, I walk around downtown hoping to find a shirt that says, "Juneau You Want Me."
The next stop is in Sitka. I search high and low for spots where The Proposal was filmed, spots where Ryan Reynolds may have walked on. I would later find out that The Proposal was filmed in Massachusetts.
Victoria was fun. All the boys are cute. I am considering moving there after school.
On board the ship there is a magic show where the magician somehow incorporates the theme of gay marriage into his stand-up routine. "Straight people have been married for years, gay people deserve that misery too." My marriage is going to be utopia with a white picket fence. That's what I deserve. Asshole.
Over the course of the week I meet several new people on the ship. One woman makes a living singing The Way We Were twice a night, every night. One group of tweens has adopted a new motto, "Don't abuse alcohol. Let alcohol abuse you." And just about everyone else on the ship either has a rich grandfather or is a rich grandfather or is a really really cute guy with really really long, dark, and conspicuous eyebrows who doesn't pay any attention to you whatsoever even though you attend all the same events and somehow manage to sit at the table next to him almost every night at dinner.
Towards the end, this trip becomes bearable. Because, let's face it, this is ten million times better than work where you hate everyone and everyone hates you. Also, happy hour is between 3:30 and 4:30 pm. Also, you got to see a whale and a seal and a dolphin. Also, all the fat people make you look skinny.
My one lingering regret is being torn away from Tall Blonde Alcoholic as he begins his summer internship in New Jersey. When the ship docks I call him as soon as I get the chance. He misses my call and returns it a few minutes later. He says he's at Target and sounds distracted. He tells me over the phone about his cool, funny, roommate from Miami as if I'm not cool (I am) or funny (I am) or from an exotic locale (Taiwan). He must have known that I would frantically stalk this new variable on Facebook as soon as I got the chance. He is cute and skinny (absolutely, not relatively) and definitely gay (absolutely and relatively). Inwardly, I have a terrible feeling about this. Realistically, there is nothing I can do. As I disembark, my stomach is filled with salmon and my heart is filled with terror.
And while I look outside my cab window and watch the rain fall in Seattle, I try to come to terms with the fact that things change and people move on while you are gone. I wonder what the weather is like in New Jersey and if I'll even recognize my life when I finally find my way home.
21 hours ago