Water, water everywhere, and the last thing that I wanted was a drink.
After completing the horrific flight toFort Lauderdale, I was ready to tackle my next fear head on. Well, I wasn’t really ready; I was swindled into taking this trip.
For as many years as I have known my wife, I have been very clear about one thing, I would NEVER go on a cruise in the ocean. NEVER! Somehow she listened to my repeated confirmations of this for the first 9 years of our marriage however she must have forgotten it on the 10th year. For our anniversary, she bought a package deal that would have us sail to our death as a reminder of her eternal love for me. I still can remember cringing as she said what her anniversary gift to me was. I had bought her a beautiful diamond ring that took me a year to pay for it as her gift. In return, she gives me a gift of death. Was she trying to kill me? Maybe she was thinking that I would never survive the flight or if that failed, the backup plan would be to drown me at sea.
Her rationale was solid. She had researched all over the globe to find the shortest cruise that was possible. Her mangled belief was that if the cruise was short enough, I would be able to overcome my fear of the ocean. Baby steps first. She finally found the perfect death sentence, a Fort Lauderdale to the Bahamas cruise. “You can do it, honey! It’s only six hours!” Her eyes were filled with hope and excitement, but all I heard was an eerie tune from my childhood. Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful trip…… a six hour tour, a six hour tour.
There were so many omens that morning it was mind-boggling. When we woke up it was raining, omen #1. We checked in and were told to “walk the plank” (at least that’s what I heard), omen #2. Easels at every doorway proclaimed, “Warning, rough seas. Take necessary precautions.”, omen #3. Murderously, my wife pushed me past each one toward the biggest breakfast buffet on the planet, where I ate like I was not going to eat for the next two days, omen #4.
After swelling up my stomach, we went to find a place to sit. I wanted to be near the top because I felt claustrophobic when I was inside. I then realized that I tend to get very bad motion sickness, and never took any Dramamine, omen #5. As we walked around to find our place, the staff lined seasick bags along the rails, omen #6. We then noticed that for some reason, it was windy outside, omen #7.
I thought to myself, “This boat is doomed and God has been telling me since I woke up not to get on it.” With fear of the ocean sitting squarely on my shoulders and claustrophobia on my back, our boat headed off to my fateful yet calculated death.
Once we were undocked, we moved slowly out of the port. I thought to myself, this is not so bad. It was much smoother than I thought so maybe we would be ok. Moments later, we hit the open water. Hmmm, what was that?! Is the boat already going down? Wait, this was a short cruise, right? A six hour tour……a six hour tour
The first hour of death row was not too bad. Even though the seas were a little rough, my delusional mind thought that it would be over quickly since it was only a six hour tour……a six hour tour. When we were in about the third hour of the tragic trip, we encountered higher and higher seas. Ten foot seas became fifteen foot seas which quickly became twenty foot seas until a man next to me said, “I am a tugboat captain and I am on these waters every day. That right there is twenty-five foot seas!” He went on to explain how you could tell this by looking into the distance and watching what looked to be white caps in the distance rise and fall.
Remember omen #7? The rain had subsided however the wind picked up. As the sea became rougher and rougher, it tossed our little 190 foot ocean liner like a tiny boat that you play with in your bathtub as a child. Yes, THAT boat! The one that you would always sink! As we were tossed back and forth, I decided I would go inside the cabin. As I walked in I nearly passed out, remember omen #4? Well, it seemed that everyone in that room remembered all about omen #4 because it was everywhere. The smell was excruciating so I quickly went back outside even though it was chilly. Upon my return outside, the tugboat captain was consoling his son who had flown down from Long Island to go to a casino on the island. His son’s head looked as if it was made of rubber because no matter how hard he tried, he could not hold it up. His father pleaded with him, “Son, keep your head up! Do not look down! Look out into the distance but whatever you do, do not look down!” It was too late, yet another omen #4 remembrance.
Remember my omen #5, motion sickness? I sure did! My wife quickly found a waitress and asked for some Dramamine. The waitress said, and I quote, “If you haven’t taken it by now, it won’t do you no good.” Not caring about that I grabbed the pills and swallowed them because I was worried about remembering omen #4 myself. I sat back on the heavy wood deck chair next to my wife. I held her hand in an effort to comfort her because I knew she had to be scared. Right? I wish. She was destined to sacrifice her hand for the remaining 3 hours of the trip. Did I just say 3 hours? …a three hour tour, a three hour tour.
As I sat back in the chair holding my wife’s hand, I started thinking in segments much like I did on the plane. If we could just stay afloat for four more thirty minute segments we might survive. While having a brief moment of satisfaction of the brilliant plan I had made, something happened. Evidently we hit some sort of rough seas and my seat was suddenly and without any warning, catapulted toward the water. I lost contact with my wife’s hand and I was hurdling to my death as my chair went screaming across the deck. There was nothing I could do but watch my life go before my very own eyes. SLAM! BAM! My chair hit the railing and stopped. I looked at my wife and said something like “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!” I was nearly thrown off the boat! I kid you not! Nearly thrown off the boat! Her eyes looked with sympathy knowing I probably soiled my pants on my short drag race to the rail. “Honey, it’s going to be alright. We only have two hours to go.”
Cussing profusely at the boat, the chair, the weather, the water, and anybody who got near me, I walked back to where I had been sitting. As I did, I drug the 150 lb deck chair back to its original spot wondering how in the world did that heavy chair go 0-60 MPH in less than 2 seconds? Ok, no more positive thoughts for me. It’s doom and gloom from now on since the first positive thought nearly killed me. I had a new plan, stand with my arm and legs wrapped around a pole that was mounted to the floor and do not move for the next two hours. I couldn’t hold my wife’s hand so she would just have to rough it out on her own.
Nausea began to rise to serious levels. In the movies, you see people get sick in public all the time, but when it happens for real it’s a whole different story. I would not recommend it. I held it as long as I could, then the #4 omen reminder emerged. Embarrassed, humiliated, with tears in my eyes, I glared at the spectators like Maximus in Gladiator. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?
To be continued….. TRUST ME, the best part is coming!!!