Well after the last post, I thought something a little more light hearted might be needed to break the tension.
The Sojourn has 440 passengers onboard. Unfortunately 72 of them are Australian. It stands to reason that we are going to have an encounter sooner or later. Sadly it is sooner!
We are sitting in the ship’s theatre watching a disco musical review performed by the ship’s company, when a large woman of around fifty plops herself down on the sofa next to us. It’s like being on a spring board: her plop shoots both of us into the air. She looks at us and laughs. She has long light brown hair hanging loosely down to her shoulders, framing a pear shaped face, a matching pear shaped nose, a mouth that is permanently open revealing a gleaming row of white teeth, and an extra chin in case something happens to the first one. She is deeply tanned, wears no make up and hasn’t brushed her hair for a couple of days. She is wearing a fuschia dress that looks as if it has had reinforcements to help contain an enormous pair of breasts and an equally large belly. The short sleeves have an odd assortment of ruffles and ribbons attached to them.
She is full of energy and fun, and has a habit of hitting you playfully on the arm to make a point.
She even has her own Kermit who goes everywhere with her. He obviously adores her but hates the fact that he is shorter than her. She of course knows that and so wears heels all the time. He is a little overstuffed without being fat, has rather short arms and very little hair. He dithers behind her, huffing and puffing agreeably but not saying much. He is long suffering and adorable and I just want to give him a cuddle.
We haven’t even settled back down on the sofa before she’s called the waiter over and orders a cosmo.
It’s a girly drink delivered in a martini glass, with a colour that almost matches her dress. It is clearly not her first drink of the evening and it is not going to be her last. Clasping the drink in her pudgy little hand, and flipping her hair back with the other, she turns to us and starts talking. She talks loud and fast and periodically throws her head back and laughs at something she has said. It is uncanny. She not only looks like Miss Piggy, she behaves like her. All the time she is talking, she is bouncing around in time to the music. The people around us are not amused. A rather stern looking woman in front turns round and shushes her.
“Silly old fool” says Miss Piggy, just a bit too loudly
The woman glares and tells her to be quiet.
“She’s clearly not getting any sex” says Miss Piggy just as loudly.
The singers then go into a selection of Abba tunes. You can never be on any cruise ship for very long without hearing a selection of Abba tunes.
Miss Piggy squeals with delight. “I love Abba” she shouts, and proves the point by standing up , singing along enthusiastically, and doing the dance routines. Her enthusiasm is far greater than her talents. She sings out of tune and her dancing puts everyone nearby at risk. She is the only person in the audience standing which doesn’t bother her at all. Nor does the fact that she now has several people glaring at her and telling her to sit down.
“Boring old farts” she announces loudly to no one in particular.
Kermit just sits quietly on the other side of her watching the show. He is clearly used to her behaviour.
The tribute to Abba is mercifully short and Miss Piggy sits down again and returns her attention to the Cosmo and to us.
She grabs Gordon’s hand, who has the misfortune to be sitting right next to her, and pulls him closer.
“I need to tell you something” she says. We have known her for about seven minutes and can’t imagine what she could need to tell us at this point in our relationship.
She searches our eyes for understanding. Finding none, she carries on anyway.
“The day before we left on this trip my son came out to his father as gay” she says. Tears well up in her eyes. AH! That’s what she needs to tell us!
She lets go of Gordon’s hand long enough to pick up her cosmo, empty the glass in one swig, call the waiter over and order another. Then she grabs Gordon’s hand again and continues.
“I am heart broken” she says “I will never have any grandchildren. This isn’t what I wanted. I can’t understand it. Where did I go wrong?”
Tears are running down her cheeks
“Do you know what my husband said to him?” It is phrased as a question but we presume she doesn’t expect an answer.
“ All he said was that it wasn’t important whether he was gay or straight. What was important was that he was a wonderful person and he loved him”
Before we had time to say what a terrific response that was, she continues
“I don’t understand why he would come out to his father and not to me”
It is phrased as a question but this time we presume that she wants an answer. We have one, but now doesn’t seem the right time to tell her.
“Do you think I should confront him when I get back?”
Miss Piggy is clueless.
“Absolutely not” we say in unison.
We talk it through with her for a while as her eyes dry and her cosmo disappears.
Then incredibly the band steps in to save the day. They play a few instantly recognisable chords and the singers break into “Rescue me”.
Talk about timing.
Miss Piggy manages a smile in recognition.
Then one hand wipes away the last tear while the other flips her hair back. She throws back her head and laughs.
“I love this song” she says, and leaps up once more to dance.
“Lets all go on to the night club” she says.
This may come as a surprise to you, but we decline the offer.
The next morning we pass them in the corridor.
Kermit stops to say hello.
Miss Piggy keeps on walking.
She has no idea who we are.
“I’m sorry” says Kermit “She had three more Cosmos at the night club and doesn’t remember anything about the evening”
We will try and forget it as well, but we have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Miss Piggy.