Thursday, May 26, 2011

Seamen Becomes Her: Part 1

In any man's life, he stammers upon a season of momentous life changes. I had mine a few months ago, swallowing a proverbial perfect-storm-of-shit-that-went-down. First, I grew increasingly tired of my hairstyle. Second, I made introductions to iPhone's Grindr app. Third, my Prozac stopped working. I quickly exhausted myself and my eyelash curler. I needed a break, and this was my "eat, pray, love" moment. No, I would never deign to read that piece of self-indulgent trash that only a rich, white woman could manifest, but dammit, I wanted to be Julia Roberts for a hot minute and absolve myself of my life. I floundered with this notion of reality escape for a several weeks. The idea originally came to me as a one-way ticket to Paris. However, that inspiration got watered down to a week-long trip to Paris. Five minutes later, I decided I had no intention of thinking on this trip, seeking the least amount of planning on my part as conceivable. Cruising proved my best option. Another five minutes later, I unearthed that cruising alone (much like in a gay bar) is frowned-upon by the Navy and is rather expensive. And, another five minutes later:

chadrico0***: Lauren, you are going on a cruise with me.
Lauren*********: I am? Yay! When?
chadrico0***: Next month. We are going to Europe, on a quest to find ourselves and European bread, cheese and penises. Pack light.
Lauren*********: I don't have a passport.

Lauren's passport procurement turned into a disaster. While I wasn't there to witness it, I am sure Lauren found herself in a Miami ghetto talking to a toothless government worker with shellacked black and orange hair and being a complete waste of space. Why? Because Lauren was spat the wrong information, and the Post Office ultimately "lost" her passport application. After many frantic calls and my hacking into her .gov profile over the next week, she finally resolved the situation and received the passport a week later.

Having traveled with Lauren before, I comprehended what I was in for. Lauren is a high-maintenance traveler that loathes planes, public toilets and non-handicapped pets. Naturally, she redeems herself as a perfect fit to fly ten hours across the Atlantic. I assuaged her fears, telling her I would come to the airport armed with pills and tranquilizers to make the journey more hospitable. Nevertheless, her Jewish martyrdom prevailed and she declined my offer for pills once we were seated on the plane. "You know I'm not wasting these pills, don't you?" I declared. She acquiesced, and I relented that "if I go into a coma and miss this cruise I will make sure you have to insert my catheter." A grimace shaped her face as I shot two sleeping pills, two Dramamine and two Xanax.

When we arrived at the airport in Rome, I plucked out perhaps five Italians from the crowd because they reeked of olive oil and fake Pradas, and Lauren ventured to toilet to relieve her ten-hour-full bladder. The other five-hundred or so people resembled the original founders of the AARP. Wrinkles, saggy jowls and liver spots covered with orange spray tan abounded. The oldness truly shocked Lauren and me. Why did Rome suddenly decide to house so many geriatrics? It wasn't until Lauren and I hauled our weary American asses to the port shuttle that we comprehended why. They hoisted their walkers and oxygen tanks up one at a time and slowly filed into the various shuttles, heading with us to our cruise. I harbor no strict aversion to the Cocooned populace, but they tend to ramble and talk your face off with inanities. They also possess terrible ear hair.  One such gentleman proceeded to monopolize any and all shuttle conversation and discuss the differences between Pecorino and Parmigiano-Reggiano cheeses before segueing into his work as some sort of hybrid preacher-salesman during the Depression or something. I hope he sold soap to wash away sins.  We would later see this preacher on an excursion in Tunisia with a shit stain on the seat of his pants, and I would ask him if he "Purelled" his hands recently as I held my nose and kicked myself for not being fast enough to snap a picture.

At this point, Lauren's sore bladder and my pill bottle decided for us to be as inappropriate as possible on this vessel and try to liven up the roost a bit. What better way to relax and have an "eat, pray, love" moment for a Jew and a homo than to "binge, swear, mock." Before we boarded the ship to embark on this cruise of terribly un-PC quietude, Lauren and I reinterpreted Grant Wood’s American Gothic, an iconic piece of artwork, in Holland America's disembarkation photoshoot:

To be continued...