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Monday, August 10, 2009

Mexico Cruise: Drive By Friends

As I sit on my lounge chair by the pool, sipping the drink of the day, I stare at the waves and reflect about the people on a cruise; in particular how the boat mixes people from all economic, cultural and philosophical ways of life. Our dinner, a generally intimate even reserved for family members and friends has placed us at a table with two thirty something sisters (one a married housewife with two kids, one a divorcee student), and an electrician mother and her fifteen year old daughter.

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At first dinner was awkward, we sat, we exchanged names and then Ms. Ivey League and I started the ‘song and dance’. I tend to take control in situations where there is not a clear direction, or who am I kidding I take control anytime I can. So I started the entertaining act. The quieter people get the more animated I usually become and we kept on performing until the table was laughing uncontrollably, I sure tried to get wine to come out of someone’s nose but that dream was unfortunately left unfulfilled.. Since by the end of the meal my life story was bared for everyone to see, tomorrow Ms. Ivey League and I have decided to try and work out drawing out their stories.

Aside from strangers while you eat there are people you meet rambling around the boat, waiting in line or on excursions that you take at the various ports. Throughout the trip I collected email addresses from people on our various connections so I can share photos that I took of them or of things that we saw together.

The fact that I am not at all shy and that I can talk to anyone is one of my favourite traits I possess, a trait that may have gotten me into a little trouble one or two times but for the most part has enabled me to get along with anyone.

I remember my first cruise; I was 15 and had just walked into the recreation center for the young teens. The room was full of listless teens; everyone was milling about eyes cast down to the floor just asking the too tropical carpet to swallow them whole. Finding a secluded nook to await direction was never my style so I marched into the center of the room and directed everyone to sit in a circle. Perking up at directions the mass of kids in the room sat and I began to ask kids names, where they were from and why they were on vacation. After completing almost the entire circuit a frazzled woman stepped through the door, papers askew, introducing herself as the Junior Cruise Director and apologizing in her Jamaican accent for her tardiness in arriving. Curious glances shifted between the woman and I until the long pause was broken by a wide-eyed mischievous blonde “If she is the cruise director who are you?” Our Cruise Director cocked her head and as the room of eyes all focused on me I revelled in the moment of holding the entire room in expectation. “I am Ms. Rogue.” simple, to the point, and perfect.

The mischievous blond, whose name was Mercedes and I ended up being fast friends, inseparable for our eight day cruise and because of the first day in that recreation room I ended up with the nickname Cruise Director (this nickname became a reoccurring one in my life). So, Mercedes and I ended up spending every free moment together and yet after we stepped off the boat we never spoke again. Mercedes made my first cruising experience something wonderful. Sometimes drive by friends are wonderful like greasy drive-in food, drunk, at three in the morning. They won’t sustain you like a long term friend will but they can be just what you need in the moment.

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