• James Eric Fristad


Hahahahaha. The title, hahaha. I can imagine Michele looking sultry stretched out somewhere, drying off on a beach near San Diego or maybe Santa Cruz. Or sunning after a nice chlorinated swim in somebody's backyard. But me, the writer of this? As I've said before, hahaha!

But there are many places here where one might assume a glamorous pose. You know, coming out of a steamroom, towel-clad, or sipping that second martini. Seductively noshing a tomato-ey prawn, maybe? ... Okay, moving along to the topics du jour, trying mightily to avoid foodie things and coffee and techie stuff.

At poolside today (hence the real associative origin of the title above) I found myself enjoying the white towel covered chaise. Not so much for the comfort of it, although if you put something down there at the small of your back it wasn't bad. No, it was the parade of fellow passengers whose daily delights include personal bake & sweat sessions out there--And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, indeed. It wasn't so much the bodies, some of them remarkably maintained considering their various vintages, and some kinda saggy etcetera. Nor haircuts and eye-makeup treatments, some of which were, yes, truly impressive or remarkably improbable. It was the facial expressions, the visages suggesting joy at being in the world or, I'm afraid, beligerance at others who were glad to be alive: these were the features that grabbed and held my attention. My ears work pretty well, at least unless you query Michele about that, and yet try as I might the actual words being mouthed 50 yards away were completely beyond me. Facial expressions and gestures (and my fertile imagination) do assemble a variety of scripts, though.

The capture above [by the way, if you double-click these images they'll enlarge on your monitor] is our TV screen, at least when we do turn it on. We don't watch it much. AcornTV and Britbox are difficult to follow, with our cabin's selection of When Harry Met Sally kinds of flicks. But the flatscreen gadget up there on our wall is handy for refreshing our memories about schedules. When is breakfast served at the Waves Grill? What's for dessert in the Grand Dining Room? Important stuff.

Then there is the ship itself (the above photo shows a designerly grillwork meant to disguise a maze of preposterous exhaust tubes from busy diesel cylinders below, terminating in the "smokestack" assembly at the tippy-top). I'm wishing there would be a tour offered here. You know, some sort of behind-the-scenes guided route behind those mysterious "staff only" doorways. Down into the bowels of this smoothly functioning vessel ... or at least down to where they fix the food. But nothing so far. Is it a clientele kind of decision, I wonder? "These people wouldn't be interested in such blue-collar activities," kinds of observations? I surely hope not. We have met some truly interesting personalities as these days have unrolled, afloat. One intriguing couple now retired in Albuquerque, he a former physicist, she still organizing and enabling an opera camp for kids (can't you imagine your grand-kids doing Gilbert & Sullivan in an open-air theater in New Mexico?) Fascinates me. There are alas the other species here and there, our dinner tablemates among them tonight. Bland is a kind word. If you stretched conversation beyond cruises taken and places popped in and out of, there was dead silence.

Makes me wonder if we want to go back to sitting alone. That, or make a "Dinner Play Date" with couples we have vetted for inner sparkle.

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