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Serenade Of The Seas: Part Two

By Scott Gordon

The second of a five-part series.

This morning I'm sitting in the outside portion of the Windjammer dining area, next to the glass-walled corridor inside. To my left is a little fat kid, maybe 12 years old, sitting alone and reading a book. A man walks up to the glass on the inside, looks to where the kid is sitting, and begins tapping on the glass with a fat, hateful porky-finger. Having failed to summon his son the way one might summon a fish in an aquarium, he taps on the glass once more, makes eye contact with me, then points to his son. I ignore him and keep on reading my book. Sure, I like to help people out, but A) it's your kid, and I'm on vacation, and; B) if you're the kind of guy who tries to reach his kid by just plonking your finger on a pane of glass well out of your son's hearing, then you're probably a mean fat fuck, and I'd like to buy the poor kid another moment of fat-fuck-free solitude. Least I can do, don't thank me, and stop breeding.

"Thanks," I hear him huff a second later, as he passes my table and picks up his kid. I ignore him and keep on reading my book. And that's mass-vacation for you: You meet some friendly folks, some folks who are off in a selfish vacation-bubble, some folks who make you want to be friendly, some folks who make you want to seal off your own selfish-vacation bubble. Now, I wouldn't mind popping that bubble open a bit more often, but social options are tricky here. Later on Sunday night, I find a couple of reasonably attractive staffers awkwardly running karaoke in the Safari Club, but I'm too nervous to do karaoke and staffers aren't really allowed to socialize with passengers, as far as I can tell.

  • Part One: Into The Well Of Cheese
  • By day and by night, the Well Of Cheese continues to overflow. It's hard to find a quiet, warm place to read indoors, since the music from the lobby bar - sometimes jazz, later a lounge-country-ish kind of outfit playing hokey covers of everything from "Hotel California" to "Folsom Prison Blues" - reaches you on every deck's central balcony, and putting on headphones would merely produce a brain-scrambling mush of their music and mine. Earlier in the day, there's an art auction going on at the bottom of the Well. Pieces include a very small Rembrandt etching (the auctioneer claims it's an original, I think?), a Thomas Kinkade, and what appears to be a Garfield print. They're all piled up against the lobby walls like discount prints at Linens N' Things. There's also a photo of Whoopi Goldberg down by the Guest Relations desk, for no discernible reason - turns out later that she's the "Godmother" of the ship.

    Since it's a little too cold to swim in the outdoor pool, all swimmers proceed to the Solarium, a pool flanked by two golden elephant heads, fake (?) plants, and chirping-bird sounds instead of Muzak. The ship is a living thing that doesn't know how not to be ridiculous.

    The best view from indoors is on Deck 13's Vortex bar, but in exchange for its near-wraparound window you must suffer its "douchey young people" atmosphere, complete with TVs and speakers blasting new staleness from bands like Seether and older staleness like that Rob Thomas-Carlos Santana collaboration. That said, the tunes are nothing against the blunt-edged coastal cliffs of northern British Columbia.

    This being an at-sea day, the ship's in full shopping mode as it churns the fuck out of the Pacific. I follow my dad down to the main shops area so he can find a digital camera, and we walk past banks of jeweled doo-dads, laid out in sloppy bulk arrays like fish at market. Naturally, the girl selling digital cameras is the cutest thing on board, a pleasantly not-too-bubbly blonde from Lithuania. That evening, I also spot her among the hordes of tuxedo-clad photographers who storm the dining room to help passengers easy-bake some memories of "formal" night. Women in their fussy dresses, heels, and shoulder wraps, men in their blazers and top-siders. Me, I've got my New Balance sneakers, brown dress slacks, and untucked kinda-plaid blue shirt over a green t-shirt, with a black sport coat. Ideally it says, "I enjoy both good food and cool music." Not that anyone is paying attention to such signals such in cruise-ship land, but it's as good a time as any to be vain.


    The Windjammer Cafe


    Comments welcome.


    Tomorrow: That Grand Marnier thing!


    Posted on July 14, 2009

    MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
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    BOOKS - All About Poop.

    PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.

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