On this particular cruise, the majority of passengers were much older than my parents. In spite of their age, they seem to be a pretty savvy bunch, especially in comparison to my father. Here are some stories about my dad from our cruise.
Returning the Rental Car
The day we boarded the ship, we were so grateful to finally rid ourselves of the giant albatross around our necks that was our barely used European rental car. After getting lost, we miraculously found the Marco Polo Airport in Venice and the rental car parking lot. We unloaded our bags from the car, and my mom and I watched my dad return the rental car to its parking spot. I remember letting out a sigh of relief thinking “Finally, we’re unloading the rental car and we don’t have to worry about all those angry Italian drivers anymore!” The minute that thought passed through my mind, my mother and I witnessed my dad put the car in reverse and then 1) knock down the rental car sign in front of the parking space and 2) almost crash into the other rental car parked on the other side. After we scolded my dad for almost wrecking the rental car, he reminded us that he had bought full insurance. I reminded him, however, that the car he almost crashed into wasn’t covered by his insurance and did he really want to deal with an insurance claim in Italy of all places? My father is officially the worst driver in all of Italy.
The LGBT Get-Together
My dad was reviewing the daily newsletter for the cruise ship outlining the day’s activities. We were at sea so my dad wanted to make the most of the all the free activities. He spotted the LGBT Get-Together and only managed to see the letters L, B and T. He got excited and told me that there was a Lettuce, Bacon and Tomato sandwich get together at 2 pm. I looked at the newsletter and told my dad that the acronym LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender. I informed him that it was a mixer for the gay cruise passengers and that no, they would not be serving Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches there.
Sherlock Holmes and other movies
In the detective story, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Sherlock Holmes inspects a visitor’s cane left behind at 221B Baker Street and deduces from his observations that the guest was a retired London doctor and that he had a spaniel. Along those lines, when my parents returned to our room one evening, I managed to deduce from one sentence that 1) my parents watched the Sherlock Holmes movie on deck outside and that 2) my father fell asleep halfway through the movie. How did I do this? It didn’t take much. This is what my father said to my mother: “What happened in the end, did they solve the case? What happened to the bad guy?”
I knew my father fell asleep during the movie because the day before, my dad went to watch another movie at the indoor theatre on the ship. He fell asleep halfway through that movie and when he woke up, he was alone in an empty theatre.
Lecturing me about French fries
After returning from a short trip to Monte Carlo, we had our lunch at the buffet on the ship. I put a small serving of French fries on my plate. The next evening, at dinner in the dining room, my dad lectures me about not eating too many French fries. That would have been okay had it not been for a few peculiar things about his dinner in front of him:
– My dad had ordered an appetizer, a hot soup, a cold soup and a salad before even starting his main course.
– Because he couldn’t decide between two main courses, he decided to order TWO entrees for dinner.
– One my my dad’s entrees was mussels and came with a huge dinner plate of French fries.
– The other entree was a complete fish dinner.
So, my dad is in the process of completing a 6 course meal with a giant plate of fries in front of him, and he’s telling me not to eat too many French fries? And on top of that, he ordered dessert and ate it all. He said he only thought of my eating French fries when he saw his giant plate of fries.
Money is no object, as long as it’s free
One of the great things about going on a cruise is that all the food is virtually free. We had the option of requesting a bowl of fruit delievered to our stateroom in the afternoon, so one day I filled out the tag and hug it on the door. My dad freaked out at first, thinking I was ordering room service. When he realized that the fruit bowl was complimentary, he said “Go ahead. Money is no object, as long as it’s free.”
You don’t do any of the work
We had all watched the movie Julie & Julia on deck at the ship’s Movies Under the Stars feature. It’s actually very nice. They show a movie on the digital screen on deck, and you get to lay on the deck chairs outside and watch the movie by moonlight. The ship provides cozy blankets and even hands out popcorn, cookies and milk during the show. We all enjoyed Julie & Julia (my dad didn’t fall asleep during this one), but he did ask me who played Julia Child and how did Meryl Streep end up looking like her. (Makeup, costume design, wardrobe!) Anyway, there was this one scene in the movie where Julia Child and Simone Beck confront their third collaborator on the cookbook and tell her she deserves only a small portion of the profits from their cookbook since she isn’t doing any of the work. That scene turned out to be an appropriate metaphor for this entire trip. During the trip, my mom and I were doing all the work. My mom had packed and organized everything, and printed out all the important documents we needed for our trip. I did all the talking in Italian, Spanish and French and I was the one researching every port of call to figure out how to get into town and what to see since my dad didn’t want to buy any of the ship’s excursions. My dad, on the other hand, simply sat back and enjoyed the fruits of our labor.