“Oh NO They Didn’t” #55

Posted on June 7, 2011

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Despite really wanting to be alone and perhaps enjoying a quiet romantic dinner for one, I not only run into Brian and his brother, but my parents on the way into Tsar’s Palace, the main dining room of the ship.  So, out of courtesy, we all dine together.  Not only is my father asking Brian questions about his job, his income, and investments, but he orders four appetizers, three entrees, and then tells the waiter to bring one of each dessert.  My mother tries to quietly say, although we all hear, “Ivan, look at your stomach.”  To which he curtly retorts, “Look at YOUR stomach.”  

 

I try to make Brian’s mildly retarded brother, Craig, feel comfortable by talking to him and asking him questions, like, “Do you want some of my wine?  It’s strong?”  But, he just smiles, and Brian reminds him to say things like, “thank you.”

 

When we all walk out of the dining room, my father says quietly to me, “How old is Rainman?” 

 

After dinner, we shed the parents like old snake skins, and go to karaoke in the “Fyzz Bar.”  It has an intergalactic feel with purple and pink chairs.  I like this.  It feeds my ever-present desire to pretend I’m somewhere else.  I pull Craig up to do a duet of “Summer Lovin,’” even though he doesn’t really know the words, but I really want him to feel included, loved, accepted.  I have such a soft spot for him.  I imagine all the people that must’ve made fun of him in his lifetime.  So, I’m naturally forgiving when he can barely make out the line, “Summer lovin’, had me a blast…”

 

When Brian gets up to sing a song, he sounds like Winnie the Pooh.  I’m starting to think I really need to break up with him. 

 

When we arrive in St. Maarten the next day, I wind up spending the day at the beach with him.  It’s a beach that has a lot of nude people.  He asks me if I would take off my bikini top.  I reply, “What would Jesus say?”

 

I spend that night alone, which hurts his feelings.  I tell him it’s because of my sunburn.  I lie on my back, now looking up at the towel animal walrus on the table with my sunglasses on it.  What would I find tomorrow?  A towel animal hippo with my panties on it?

 

The next morning, I see my mother talking to Brian in the buffet.  I run away to the gym and run fast on the treadmill.  The boat is going side to side, which I think presents an interesting challenge to my quads.  I look to the mirror on the side wall and become mesmerized by the flab on my thighs shaking up and down with each leap.  This is perhaps why I suddenly fall off the treadmill and land on the floor.  Before I know it, a bunch of Filipinos surround me saying, “Ma’am, are you okay?”  All I can think is, Why are they calling me Ma’am and not Miss?

 

I quickly retreat to my room, get my book, SOLEMATE: MASTERING THE ART OF ALONENESS and go curl up in a chair in the boat’s library.  My mom finds me there.  I know it’s her because she’s the one talking loudly in a Spanish accent to the wrong crewmember, asking about large print books.  The crewmember tries to explain that he’s a mechanic on the ship, but the library assistant is right over there. 

 

She is excited when she sees me, and comes over.  “I really like him!” she says.  I’ve never seen her this happy.  I want her to stay this way, so I lie and say, “I think he’s the one.”  She is on fire with happiness.  She then says, “We’re arriving in Tortola tomorrow.  What are you going to do?” 

 

I reply, “I want to go swimming with dolphins.  Do you think Dad would want to do that?”

 

“No way,” she exclaims.  “It’s $170.  You know he would never pay that.”

 

Back in my stateroom Brian’s left two messages for me.  This guy is in love with me.  He’s really special.  Not a shortbus special, but special.  Except he’s not for me.  Tonight I will tell him we should just be friends.  Better not to keep up the charade.   It’s not fair to him.  Or my inner child who really needs some time alone.  I set up a time with him for dinner.

 

In the atrium of the ship, my parents are there…talking to him again.  I go over to them.  Brian excuses himself to go corral his brother Craig who is inappropriately squeezing the cruise director’s leg.

“So, Myra,” my mother looks at me so deliriously happy it’s weird, “Brian said he’s going to take you to swim with the dolphins.  Do you want to do that?”

 

I scream out, “Oh my God!  Really?”

I look across the atrium at Brian with an unbelievable look of gratitude and almost tearful joy.  My parents shoot a thumbs up at him.  For some reason, this makes him so happy, he turns red.  Although I’m happy about swimming with the dolphins, this all feels a little f-ing weird.

 

The next day in Tortola, I’m wearing my most unrevealing one-piece and don’t comb my hair or wear deodorant.  I’m trying to subtly show Brian I’m not so sexy after all.  Also, my parents have decided to crash the mini-bus ride there, but not actually pay to do the dolphin swim.  My dad is trying to get something for free – whatever he can get.

 

I’m so excited to see a dolphin up close, but it isn’t ten minutes before I think this is a crock of shit.  The whole thing is a set-up to try to get you to buy the three-hundred dollar photographs the Mexican photographer took with his cheap digital camera of you kissing the dolphin, who does this two hundred times a day with different bus loads of naïve tourists off cruise ships. 

 

I keep staring at the hot guy in the group who’s with his portly girlfriend and wishing I wore my two-piece.  My reverie is cut short by the Mexican photographers yelling at my father for taking unauthorized pictures.  They are not supposed to take pictures.  My mother puts her head in her hands.  My father says, “Fine, fine.”  But, when the photographer turns around, my Dad continues snapping away.  They are eventually ejected from the excursion and told to wait in the back of the bus for everyone else.

 

I thank Brian profusely for the experience, saying it was one of the best experiences of my life.  I hate making people feel bad.  After all, action is action.  And free wine is free wine. 

 

As I’m getting ready for dinner with my parents later, my mother calls me up and tells me to make sure I dress up, that it’s very formal night.  I wasn’t sure I saw that on the itinerary, but whatever.  She also tells me to meet them first at the Chapel on Deck 12.  I assume they got into a VIP cocktail reception and want me to help them partake in getting free shit.

 

I put on my green dress and find myself practicing my break-up speech in the mirror.  My nose is still Rudolph the Reindeer red. 

 

I get up to Deck 12 and see entering the chapel is Captain Lars, holding something in his hand.  A bible.  What is this?  Are we about to have family therapy?

 

I walk in, and there’s Craig in his fanciest suit, who turns to me and says in his Flowers For Algernon way, “I’m the best man!”

 

Brian is standing next to him in a suit.  And there are my parents and their new cruise ship friends, equally fat-from-food-hoarding weeble wobbles from New Jersey.  

 

I stand there mortified, with my mouth agape.  I barely whisper, “What’s going on?”

 

My mother, with her over-applied liquid eyeliner and coral pink lipstick says, “People get married here all the time.”   I flashback to the atrium where they give Brian the thumbs up.  My Rudolph red face goes white.

 

Me:  “I’m not getting married now.”

 

My father:  “You’ll grow into it.  I got a good deal on the chapel.”

I quickly wonder if I can get one of the tattooed toughies from Queens to throw my father overboard for a good price.

 

Me:  “I should’ve never agreed to swim with the dolphins.  I just wanted some alone time.  This is not part of my trajectory.  I don’t know what’s going on here.  I’m sorry.”

 

The Captain (in a Norwegian accent):  “This is a surprise to you?”

 

My father to my mother:  “I told you this wasn’t a good idea.  Now I’m missing the poker tournament.”

 

My mother looks devastated.  “Oh Myra.  You said he was the one.  And we’re already all here together.”

 

I look at Brian.  “Trust me, you don’t want me.  I curse all the time.  I really apologize for their behavior.”  I say to everybody, “I’m really sorry.”

 

Brian tries to save face.  “It’s okay.  You wanna meet at karaoke later?”

 

I run out – across the ship – and find the nearest bar…to drown myself in Dewars.  On my father’s tab.

Posted in: Humor, Life