I know there are going to be no great gasps of surprise over my next sentence:
I am not good at (or in) economy
Gordon on the other hand excels at it.
Gordon believes we should save our money because we might live to be 100, or even 105
I believe we should spend it as we might die tomorrow, or even later today.
Relationships are about compromise. A little tug of war over the purse strings is healthy, but an all out battle is not. There is very little, if anything, that is worth spoiling the last 45 years for. We both carefully pick our battles, and if it isn’t truly important then we let the other have their way.
The story I am about to tell you is a case in point. In this instance I let Gordon have his way. This is a much more common event than any of you (including Gordon ) will believe. But it does happen – and far too often if you ask me. (Something tells me that a comment by Ed might be inserted about here!) Ed: A shake of the head in disbelief will suffice
I also know that you think I am sometimes unnecessarily hard on Gordon, (pause for another comment by Ed) so for once I will tell the story from a completely unbiased point of view. The goal (achievable or not) is to let you, dear reader, have your say without any undue influence from me.
First of all, a little background,
The journey starts in San Francisco, a great plus for us as we live just across the bay. We are to board Crystal Serenity at the Cruise Ship terminal in downtown San Francisco. It will take 23 days to sail to Sydney, where we will leave the ship and start on the next leg of our journey.
We will be in Australia in February where it will be hot, we will be in Bali and Thailand in March where it will be hot and humid, we will be in Japan in April where it will be cool and wet and lastly we will be in Alaska at the end of April where it will be bloody cold. Add to that the fact that for seven weeks of the trip we will be on cruises ships where we should be suitably dressed and where we will have a total of 11 formal nights that require dinner jackets or jackets and ties, and you will understand that packing proves to be a bit of a challenge. I am not usually given to understatements, but that was most definitely one.
The trip is 3 ½ months long. As you can imagine this involves a dramatic loosening of the purse strings. So much so that I thought Gordon would not survive to actually make the trip. He has been hyperventilating for weeks as all the bills start coming in.
Crystal Serenity , as many of you will know, is the epitome of class and style on the high seas. The cost is outrageous, but we will be traveling in the style to which I very much wish to become accustomed.
The Fabulosity Meter has been totally overhauled to make sure it is up to the constant use it will hopefully be put to.
To add to the fabulosity scale, San Francisco to Sydney is the first leg of a Crystal “World Cruise”. The ship will take 102 days to circumnavigate the Pacific rim. A couple doing it in style could easily spend a quarter of a million dollars on the trip. There are 400 people on board who are doing the entire trip.
It is a very big deal indeed. So much so that the greeters in the port of San Francisco who are there just to see that you find your way from your limo to the ship ( an insurmountable challenge for some of our fellow travelers), have been told by Crystal to wear their smartest clothes, with instructions to have their trousers pressed and their white shirts crisply laundered.
We of course are not staying on board for 102 days and are definitely not spending a quarter of a million dollars. We are the poor relations who will get off in Sydney after only 23 days. We know we will be judged accordingly, so it is especially important to arrive in style, dressed to the nines or even tens, if we can manage it. Nothing short of fabulous will do.
So dear readers, now you have the background.
The story begins when Gordon rather unexpectedly decides to give a sharp tug on the purse strings. I had envisaged arriving at the Cruise Ship in a limousine, or at least the grandest car we could book on Uber. I could picture the chauffeur pulling up to the curb immediately beside the ship. He would of course jump out and open the limousine’s door for us. We would present an elegant ankle followed by an immaculately clad body , and a perfect unlined face topped by a beautifully styled head of hair to what would soon become our adoring public.
Gordon, I was about to discover, had something completely different in mind
He announces that we will be getting from our house to the ship on public transport. Yes he really does!
I am completely aware that this is indeed physically possible, but in reality (my reality at least) it never even entered my mind that this would make a suitable entry into Crystal Society. It would mean taking BART (the subway) to San Francisco, getting off BART in the heart of downtown and transferring to a tram that runs along the embarcadero (waterfront) to the pier
My dismay at this unexpected turn of events is something akin to what it might be should Donald Trump win the Presidential Election. But, and here is another surprise, I show enormous restraint.
Gordon can’t have thought this through, I naively think. I remind him that we have an enormous amount of luggage. I point out that we will have to navigate escalators in and out of BART, that we will have to drag our many bags across one of the busiest Plazas in the City, and then across the Embarcadero to the Tram. There we will have to hoist the luggage onto the tram and unload them once we get to the Cruise terminal.
I sit back, sure that my calm reasoning has won the day. And at first I think it has as Gordon readily agrees that this is exactly how it will be. But then he adds that he can see nothing wrong with that and we should be thinking about the economy of it.
My dismay turns to despair
The words “economy” and “Gordon” share a number of letters and have always been hard to separate
But then I get what I think must be a lucky break. There is an announcement on the news that surely must change his mind
The Super Bowl is coming to the Bay Area and the pre game festivities are to start on the day we are boarding the Ship. The Embarcadero is to be closed to traffic as a huge fairground is to be erected on it.
There is no way we can drag our luggage through all of that.
But Gordon is unrelenting in his quest to save a few dollars. He researches everything and discovers that the trams will still be running.
“We can do it” he proclaims with joy, mentally counting the pennies we will be saving
I take a step back from the discussion to decide whether this is one of those battles that is worth going to war for.
I decide it is not.
Not one of my more rational decisions.
This is the point in the story where I would dearly like to interject with a few biased comments, letting you know exactly how I feel about the unfolding events. But I made a promise at the beginning to give you just the unvarnished truth, and I will stick to that, however hard it is proving to be.
So I will finish my little story without any adornments. Just the calm and precise facts of our arrival at the Crystal Serenity.
Having struggled on and off BART and then transferred ourselves and our seven pieces of luggage (Ed: I have two of those) to the Tram, we finally arrive at the tram stop that is nearest to the Cruise Ship terminal. Notice I say “the stop that is nearest to the cruise ship terminal”. From this you might surmise that the tram does not stop exactly next to the terminal, and you would be correct. It is true that it is only a few hundred yards from the stop to the terminal, but those few hundred yards seem like a marathon held in a sauna when you have seven pieces of luggage.
We (Ed: That’s the Royal we) struggle off the tramcar, taking a few extra moments and several deep breaths to lower our 7 bags to the sidewalk. We manage to drag the bags along the embarcadero to where the smartly turned out greeters in their impeccably pressed outfits are helping the elegantly dressed travelers out of their sleek limousines and into the arrivals hall. Porters in slick uniforms rush to open the trunks of the limousines and happily unload bag after bag.
It is exactly now that we should be making our fabulous entry
Instead we are doubled over our pile of bags, fighting for breath, with sweat dripping down our foreheads. We make a gallant effort to look cool, calm and collected as we try to slip unnoticed into a sorority of sophisticated passengers making their way to the ship secure in the knowledge that their bags are being taken care of by the attentive porters
We discreetly drop our bags into the mix, and move elegantly towards the ship.
But when we nervously glance back we notice that the entire area has been efficiently cleared of all but seven of the bags. Ours now sit alone and unattended on the sidewalk. Swallowing what little pride we have left we quietly leave the sorority and return to our bags
The porters are now attending to the next arriving limo. They are only a few yards away but it feels like another world.
We are left with our bags, alone, unwanted and shamed.
It is not a moment the Fabulosity Meter wants to see.
We are ignored for quite some time.
Finally I tap a passing porter on the shoulder and politely ask him to take our bags.
He looks me up and down with a sneer of disapproval.
Disdain oozes out of his every pore.
I think of several things that I would like to say to him.
But for once I let my good manners take control. I say nothing.
The porter, knowing nothing of good manners, speaks
“I require a tip” he says, his words dripping with condescension.
He waits expectantly.
And here I will end my story.
I have told it as it happened. No disapproving or unflattering barbs have been directed at Gordon. I have merely told the complete and unbiased truth.
I invite any comments you might wish to make, but make none myself.
Proving once again, that I am a saint!
(Ed: And that one of my jobs in life is to provide cannon fodder)