After I wrote the sea beaver piece, I was talking to Stumpy about it, and how we've got a bunch of stories that really need to be told. I think I'll be working on a few of those in upcoming posts. However, as a followup to the honeymoon sea beaver story, I gotta tell you about my Deliverance Breakfast.
Contrary to popular myth, there is not a buffet open 24 hours a day on a cruise ship. They shut down for a few hours each day. Not many, mind you, but they do. I guess they eventually have to do dishes, or something. Now, because Stumpy can't get central standard time out of his head, when his internal alarm hit "breakfast o'clock" he was awake and ready for his pop tart. Or, whatever he was eating those days. So, groggy as I was, we tromped up to the Lido deck to get ourselves good and gorged on the breakfast buffet.
Let us not forget that this is the fogey boat, so half the guests have been up for over an hour, and the dining area is a beehive of activity by the time we get there. The only place we have the option to sit is at a table that makes up half of a two-table booth horseshoe. Not a problem. I like people, and I'll talk to anybody. We'll take it!
So, I plop down to hold the spot while Stumpy goes through the buffet line. When he gets back, I do the same. As I'm walking back to the table, I see that he's struck up a conversation with and older gentleman who's taken up his perch on the adjoining table.
Now, let me tell you a little about the differences between Stumpy and myself. I will talk to anybody,! More often than not, I find myself talking with the people around me just because. Sometimes I'll start a conversation, most times it's someone else commenting on something of mine. It could be the hair, something I'm wearing, or something I've got with me, like my tablet. Stumpy, on the other hand, blends pretty well into the background, and isn't one for idle chatter. Well, at least not at the same level I am. It's not a slam, it's just how we're different. So, you can imagine why my ears pricked to see this conversation in progress as I'm walking up to the booth.
I soon come to discover that they're talking sports. Natch. Stumpy is a walking billboard for the NY Yankees or Nebraska Cornhuskers. Sometimes both at the same time! This particular morning, he's in his red 'skers jersey as he's devouring his bacon and pancakes. He and the stranger are talking about football, and I walk up to hear them say "Fired the guy? Hell, if our coach had the same win/loss record, we'd have bought the man a car!". (This was shortly after UNL had fired head coach Frank Solich.) Stumpy starts going on about something football related, and I heard words like "tradition", "honor" and "championships", but I don't give a rip about Husker football, so I tuned that out and focused on my cereal.
I've got the cereal bowl tipped up to my mouth so I can finish the milk. This is where all the marshmallows are, in adult cereals, the clusters of whatever goodness there is can be found, don'tcha know. This is when I notice the first lull in the conversation. I lowered the bowl so I can see over it, and this is about when I should have heard the Deliverance banjos. The stranger sized me up with his beady little eyes, makes this hybrid clicking and smacking noise with his mouth, and says "I got me one of them back home." He acknowledges me for the first time by jutting his chin at me and giving me a nod, and continued; "Redhead, that is.".
My skin is crawling as he swirls his toast through the last of the egg yolk on his plate. In my head, I imagine a room with women in cages, or a living room with stuffed heads on the walls. Luckily, since he already has a redhead, he doesn't have an empty plaque with my name on it. Seriously, the guy was from Alabama. I get that slavery used to be ok there, but get with the times, guy! Sadly because this was before I was both entirely awake, and the magic of my 30th birthday when I received my very own sharpened tongue, I didn't have much to say to the guy. As entirely unthrilling as it is, all I did was hastily finish my breakfast and contemplate taking another shower as soon as I could get back to our stateroom. As soon as I was away from the dining area, I had a moment of involuntary body shake like a dog drying off.
Speaking of staterooms, ours was on the inside of the ship. Meaning, we had NO windows at all, and unless you had a light or the TV on, it was as dark as the deepest cavern. This is NOT the place to be reading Steven King's "Survivor Type". Learned that one the hard way.