Part 3: It's the Love Boat
I was the youngest
person on board by 25 years. The only people my age were
the international staff. The waiters were Italian or Mexican,
busboys Filipino, salon attendants British. With 2000 passengers
and nearly 1000 crew members, I felt like royalty. Every
time I opened the cabin door, my steward was standing there,
smiling, ready to provide towels or replenish my fruit basket.
A gorgeous Jamaican bartender offered to entertain me in
port. As the stationery promised, "it's not just a
cruise - it's the Love Boat."
I dreaded dinnertime,
though. The good 'ole boys at my assigned table discussed
posting the Ten Commandments to avert classroom shootings.
They made nigger jokes while I stared out the porthole trying
to make myself disappear. "You're so quiet," Thomas
bellowed. "What do you think?"
contingent of football fans from Green Bay, Wisconsin wore
matching sweatshirts proclaiming themselves Packer Backers.
"Yoo hoo!" they'd call whenever they spotted me
at the buffet. One night they even took me along to sing
"That's Amore" at the karaoke bar. They couldn't
believe I'd backpacked alone around Alaska. But you know
what they say about meeting a man in Alaska: the odds are
good, but the goods are odd.