This is the most wildly social cruise we have ever been on. Everyone talks to everyone. They even talk to us.
Dinner invitations are offered, accepted and returned. Cocktail parties are hosted almost daily by the more furiously social guests. Catered by the ship, with waiters and barmen serving hors d’oevres and cocktails, they are held in private suites or in meeting rooms. Each host fights for the most interesting, entertaining or influential guests, and competition is fierce. Many extra points are earned if you can get a senior member of the crew to attend.
We scored big time by being invited to a cocktail party hosted a San Francisco couple. He is a major real estate player in San Francisco and was President of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors back in the day, and ran for Mayor in the 80’s. We have never met him. They somehow had two senior officers, the Hotel Manager AND the Captain to their party along with a small select group of guests. It is the clear winner so far in the best party stakes as no one else has managed to snag The Hotel Manager let alone the Captain. The hosts were delightful and chatted to us for a while, despite having no idea who we were. We were equally in the dark as to why we were invited and after spending some time with them we still are. But it seemed rude to ask. So we will just assume it was our witty repartee, charming demeanor and dashing good looks
It is an impressive group of passengers and we feel financially challenged in their company. However the invitation has moved us rapidly up the scale of the socially sought after. We now have to keep a diary for our dinner invitations, and find ourselves fully booked for the next week. The fabulosity meter is for once quite proud of us.
Many of you have been asking about Mary and Joseph. They have become quite the couple on the cruise. They have a suite on deck 10 (the top deck) which is a suites only deck and is home to most of the wealthier passengers. These suites are on the same floor as the observation deck, a large lounge and bar where drinks are served all day and where passengers can sit comfortably and watch the view through huge panoramic windows. Mary and Joseph can be found there almost 24 hours a day, holding court over a crowd of admiring acolytes. Mary has an Ipad on her knee and an I10 in her hand, as she shows off her most recent photos of the day. She is convinced that she takes better photos than anyone else which is rather annoying. Even more annoying is that she is often right. She also has a series of cables at her side and will happily connect your computer to hers in order to transfer her favorite photos to your computer. She will even “air share” her photos. We resist the temptation, not wishing to acknowledge that our photos are so inferior or that we have no idea what “Air share” means.
However we seem to have become fast friends, at least for this cruise. They are easy to spend time with because she never stops talking and Joseph never stops listening, which is rather charming. He seems to hang on her every word, which takes some doing as there are a lot of them. They are obviously a very happy couple. When Joseph does speak it is in a soft mild voice. It is hard to hear him at the best of times, but if Mary is speaking it is impossible. She has a voice that takes no prisoners, and threatens to put fog horns out of business. When Mary talks the whole room listens whether they want to or not.
Her two most endearing characteristics are that she loves to drink and she loves to gossip about the other passengers, and usually in that order. My kind of girl. And the more she drinks, the more she gossips. Even better. And she drinks a lot. She only drinks vodka, straight up, in a tumbler so that the unsuspecting might think she is drinking water. She doesn’t drink wine as it gives her a headache, while the huge amount of vodka she imbibes has no effect whatsoever other than making her tipsy and even more talkative.
Joseph on the other hand is a wine connoisseur and has a collection of over 2,000 bottles of wine stored of course in a climate controlled wine cellar. But he stopped buying wine when Mary stopped drinking it. Imagine having 2,000 bottles of wine which you have to drink without anyone’s help. What a terrible fate!!
Mary never remembers anyone’s name. She was a loans officer at a bank and tells us she didn’t have to remember the customer’s names because most of them were never going to qualify for a loan. Besides, it was their job to remember her name. Now there’s an attitude I can appreciate.
They have a beach house in Newport Rhode Island, which she goes on to say is actually too big to be called a beach house, and doesn’t actually sit on the beach, but they don’t want to sound ostentatious so they just refer to it as their beach house. Of course telling us that is more ostentatious than ever.
Mary and I share a fascination with another couple on the ship. I confide in her that I have been taking secret photos of them and she is delighted. I have to “air share” them with her. I would if I could. She thinks he is Warren Beatty’s double, which would have been very flattering a few years ago, but if you have seen him lately (Warren Beatty that is), then not so much now. Neither of us has met him or his traveling companion but we happily exchange theories as to who they might be. Mary promises to find out. I have faith in her. And I am sure she will.
Warren, as I will call him, is clearly part of the elite on board. The entire ship’s staff fawns over him. At dinner, the maitre D, the sommelier and half a dozen waiters dance attendance. Dinner plates arrive and depart at an impressive rate. Wine glasses are lined up in front of him and are filled and drained at an even more impressive rate. He demands and commands attention at all times. At any moment I expect the waiter to feed him like a spoiled child
He is a fey little man with precise little gestures, a pinkie that is always pointing skywards and lips that purse regularly into a moue of discontent. He wears nothing but black. It is his favorite color, at least until a darker color comes along. He thinks it gives him a mysterious air. He has a large ego and short pudgy fingers which suggest other inadequacies. A huge diamond studded gold ring nestles in the folds of the third finger on his right hand while the left hand is unadorned.
He has more hair on his head than anyone his age has any right to, which draws attention to the fact that most of it belonged to someone else in the not too recent past. His skin is like parchment paper, drawn so taut across his cheeks that it could split at any moment. Large quantities of face cream have been applied to prevent that from happening, but it gives him an oily iridescent look. His eyebrows have been pulled so high up his forehead that they resemble two little coolie hats.
His companion turns more heads than a chiropractor. She is an Amazon of a woman who stands well over 6 foot tall with large features, huge hands and feet, and shoulders that would look better in a football jersey than an evening dress. She is no Annette Benning. They are always together at dinner but rarely during the day. While the staff all gather round him they pay little attention to her
During the day he is seen prowling the decks with an enormous lense on his camera that does little to allay the fears of his inadequacies. It is really too big for him to hold and it seems as if he might topple over when using it. He affects a dramatic image of a professional photographer when taking a photograph. Striking a pose that Madonna might be proud of, but which makes him look slightly ridiculous. More Martin Short than Warren Beatty
While I have been writing this we have received a dinner invitation from our San Francisco politicos. Just the four of us. This should really push us up the ladder of the socially sought after.
However we have accepted an invitation to dinner tonight with four Australians, which will probably have the opposite effect
What was I thinking