So, yes, I did a lot of people watching while I was away. There is so much you can learn from a person, even while they are in repose; some people never, ever forget they are on display. The ship had over 3,000 guests, and they came in all shapes, sizes and compositions. There were families with small children, singles, couples; some obvious sneak away hook-ups, kids out for a booze-cruise, every imaginable type were on the ship. Far and away, outnumbering all other age demographics were the Baby Boomers. At least 50 per cent or more of the patrons on the ship were 50+ years of age.
The close proximity on a ship forces human interaction. You can hide but only for so long, necessity forces one to surface. And everywhere, absolutely everywhere, on a ship there are people sharing close quarters. We had a variety of social situations while out at sea but the most interesting, because it forced conversation among strangers, was when we were dining.
We sat with one couple who had retired from working and were now spending their leisure years travelling. There was a competitiveness between them, we’ve all seen it, it didn’t matter what she said, he’d correct her, and vice versa. This couple obviously had achievements in life, the lifestyle they were living suggested it, however, it also implied that they’d made a decision at some point to forgo or place second any friends and family so that they could quest after something elusive. It struck me that what they were looking for was happiness. One got the feeling after just a few minutes with them, that they were bound together by shared finances and a shared desire for self-fulfillment in a manner they couldn’t figure out – not relaxing folks to be around. It exhausted me just trying to figure them out. I wish them luck.
Then there was the breakfast where we met the sisters; a bit older than us, one widowed, one not; simpatico in thought and action, the bond blood brings. My own sister even commented on it – something to the effect: “My gawd, that’s us in a few years!” That was perhaps one of the better meals we’d had, no competition as to who had done what or gone where – it was warm and engaging conversation around the table, a genuine interest in the experiences of this particular trip. There was an awareness and acceptance that we were never likely to see each other again; a shared understanding that for now tomorrow doesn’t matter, it’s all about the moment. It’s about calm, peace, rest and release – take it while you can. Sometimes it’s okay to accept the uncomplicated, to stay on the surface and just skate for a bit.
I realized that this venue, a ship, actually worked well for me as a vacation. I suspect that a lot of that has to do with my sister. My sister is a travel agent. She’d booked our cabin for mid-ship on just the right floor, she arranged for us to board first and disembark first, and had done all the other things that good travel agents do. She worked hard to create a great experience and it showed. She’s a gem; the trip was wonderful. What’s left to say other than thank you meine Schwester.