TPB Bahamas Cruise

Terror at 30,000′, or no Xanax

Ka-chung.  CLANK!  Whirrrr….The nose of the 737 lifted off the tarmac and I was pressed back into the seat. I gripped the arm rests, fueled by fear-induced adrenaline. I didn’t have time to take the Xanax I had requested from my doctor before boarding, so I thought I would be able to access it from the overhead compartment when we were at cruising level.  As it went, both flights I had to take were bumpy as fack, i.e., we were strapped in for about 95% of the time, so I had no access to my relief.  Well, maybe I could have taken some in Denver, but I didn’t want to risk showing up at Tampa dazed and confused. I decided to adult it out, and tried to look like I was a normal person, not a terrified loonie that expected the plane to unscientifically plummet into the hard ground from FL300. I don’t know how well I pulled off the “seasoned traveler” look, but it must have been passable since people weren’t gawping and little children weren’t crying as they walked by me.

travelers at Tampa Airport
Tampa Airport

Eventually, we landed, intact, at Tampa. Since there were electrical issues in Denver, the plane ran late, so instead of using the hotel’s shuttle, which I just missed, I had to use Uber for the first time.  And my cell phone battery was dying.  I managed to download the app, figure it out, and get a ride with 2% left!  I gave the polite driver a tip and a good rating.  He deserved it, because I was a hot mess of babbling nerves. It was past midnight when I finally checked in, and I was hungry. Fortunately, I had a few dollars on me so I was able to slake my hunger with a vending machine Snickers bar and a Coke. You know, health food.

Getting on board the next day was interesting.  Once we passed the TSA portal, we walked into an area that felt like a covered football stadium; it was that large.  At first glance, all I saw was a gigantic room full of people milling about and I sighed.  This was going to take forever; however, once I realized there was some method to the madness, i.e. filling out health forms, showing citizenship documentation, tickets, etc., it went rather quickly.  We weren’t there above 20 minutes before being shuffled through a covered gangplank where employees of Norwegian Cruise Lines were standing in corners, armed with squirt bottles filled with, what I hope, anti-bacterial spray and saying “Washy, washy!” as they misted random hands with cleanliness. 

Then we were off on a themed cruise.  On reflection, I took so few pictures, especially when I got to meet Pat Roach, John Paul Tremblay, Mike Smith, (none!) and Jacob Rolf (one), in that order.  Considering a larger part of who I am is the damned camera, I happened to do a poor job of documenting this trip. HOWEVER, I spent many productive hours at the black jack tables, entered a black jack tournament to beat out a bunch of guys because I played like I always do – conservatively. Unfortunately, playing conservatively also gets one a low score, so I was dunned out by the second round.  And let’s not forget the whole reason I was there!!  The Trailer Park Boys put on their rowdy brand of shows and worked hard.  I hope they enjoyed it at least a little.

We didn’t stop at Stirrup Cay because the swells had prevented the ship docking, so we were diverted and the excursions that I’d paid for and was so looking forward to, were refunded.  No swimming with the manta rays, no snorkeling, no big party on the beach.  Instead, we docked in Freeport around 3:00 pm, which is just a port, where I walked around among souvenir shops and food stalls and took a pic or two for about 15 minutes just so I could be on Bahamian soil.  Did it upset me that much? Nope. 

There have been rumors flying around the internet that another cruise is in the works.  I don’t know if these plans will come to fruition, but I do know I already have a quiet fund that’s building in equity so I won’t need to rely on the goodness of a stranger’s heart (Danielle Cotton <3<3, love you, girl!) to get myself on board when it comes around again!

While there was so much more to comment on, I will leave it here for now; just suffice to say, that as I flew back home, feeling great because I’d taken a Xanax, I leaned against the window, drowsy and relaxed. As my eyelids fluttered close over my eyes, I imagined the bumps of the turbulence as the eddies of a river, and the occasional variations in altitude as the swells of the ocean.

I slept.

Going home

 

Change of Perspective

Rachel goofing around at the World Market
Rachel goofing around at the World Market

When my daughter, Rachel, was spending her tax refund money before it burned a hole in her pocket, she and I stopped at the local Cost Plus World Market to ransack their wares.  We’d been to most of our usual haunts and couldn’t pass up visiting this perennial favorite.  There are items there that can’t be had anywhere else.  I like to buy the McVities Digestive Milk Chocolate Biscuits since it reminds me of living in England, and my husband really likes the German section since he was born in Germany.  And Rachel, well, she just likes the place!

While perusing the pickles, I noticed a couple about my age, in the same aisle.  Nothing spectacular, just your ordinary, middle-aged couple looking for some exotic pickles.  Almost immediately after seeing them, my eyes were drawn to the woman’s purse.  This purse was not your everyday purse.  No.  This purse was of a make and design that I have yearned and longed after for years.  Has anyone ever heard of Dooney & Bourke?  The Giraffe print? Yep.  However, being the absolute cheapskate I am, I refuse to

It's love!
It’s love!

pay retail on such designer products, so that means I go to eBay and look for gently used purses, and this particular design is about as hard to find as a great quality diamond at a department store. Yet here one was, in the flesh, looking oh, so pretty, and very well kept (angelic choir hitting high note).  I walked with purpose to the couple and immediately remarked on the woman’s purse.  I discovered she’d had it for 6 six years and how she loved it too.

I walked away, feeling I’d made a connection with another true Dooney & Bourke lover and didn’t think much of the conversation.

Later, (yes, we spend that much time there) I was approaching the couple again.  They were looking at the dining tables and had negligently left the cart, with the purse alone in it, in the aisle.  The husband saw me coming and, for no apparent reason, made a mad dash back to the cart as I walked by.  My brows creased in consternation…what was that all about?  And then, the only scenario I could think of popped into my head.  The husband was protecting the purse from…me.  I thought about our conversation and reviewed it for anything suspicious.  I looked at my once pretty crocheted purse,

It doesn’t look like this anymore. 😦

 

which is now battered up beyond belief because it comes everywhere with me, and it dawned me that, yes, in a parallel universe, maybe I would have thought of such a thing, but really, why would a thief alert their prey?  Was I too friendly?  Too jealous?  Huh?

I started laughing as I tried to imagine a scenario that involved me snatching the purse.  We were located about as far away from the exit as possible…well, that would be the wine section, but you get it.  There were displays, rows of products, and people milling about between me and the door.  That would just be damn stupid.  And as for a quiet switch, again, I would have to make my way out of the building before she would notice that her purse was missing.  There were so many others around, I don’t see how it could be done.

Am I not criminal-minded enough?  Am I a pigeon looking to be plucked?  Am I not careful enough of what I say?  Unfortunately to the last one, I believe the answer may be “yes”.  I saw a purse that I adored and thought I would remark on it.  I like when people compliment my purse, and yes, it still happens, but I don’t think they’re looking to steal it!  Maybe living in the sticks has changed my outlook?  Possibly.  Will I be more careful what I say to strangers?  I seriously doubt it!!  The moral of the story?  Don’t approach strangers and rant about how beautiful their purse is and how you’ve always wanted one, unless you’re going to anyway, then expect people to act strangely if you get near them again.

Lesson not learned.