Saturday, March 18, 2017

Day 6: Sailing The Ocean Blue

Today was an all-at-sea day for the cruise; no port of call, no stops, just sailing (and a really nice vista in the afternoon). This turned out to be my favourite type of day on the cruise, though I entirely understand why they don't do it all the time -- the staff and performers need a break at some point! But it was gorgeous and pleasant and extremely relaxing. Which was good, because I spent most of the day feeling worn out and tired. Part of it was me getting over the sunburn / overheating, part of it was the entire week of being polite and extroverted, and part of it was honestly just missing home. The bed was comfy and the meals were great, but as Jean said, we were missing our dog and our garden and our own bed.

They switched up the schedule, so the concert for the day was in the morning; the Doubleclicks did a brilliant show with a bunch of their friends, and it was amazing. They even debuted a couple of songs off their new album, which was pretty damned cool. It was also incredibly emotional in parts; I found myself crying at a couple of points, which is a bit out of character for both me and a Doubleclicks show, but there it was.

We spent most of the day just wandering about the boat, relaxing and not really doing anything. This turned out to be a good thing -- even when I'm not actively interacting with people, being surrounded by strangers is really tiring to me. This was also the day when I was absolutely convinced we wouldn't do a JoCoCruise again; while the experience was great, I was feeling very tired and isolated and alone. Jean was amazing with me during this: patient, kind, caring. She does so much of the emotional lifting in our relationship, because I'm pretty fucked up and she's so committed to kindness. I try to make sure she doesn't do too much, but I'm sure (as a man) I fuck up more than I should.

In the afternoon, our ship cruised through the Bahia Magdalena, which is amazing and beautiful and home to many whales and dolphins and other wildlife, and much wildlife and gorgeous scenery was seen. During the "standing on the deck looking off the rail" portion, my friend Jaques was kind enough to introduce me to both John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton, and instead of giving into my starfuckery and emotioning all over them, I just said 'pleased to meet you, sir' and let them get back to what they were doing.

Jean pointed out in conversation with me that we both think of Wil Wheaton as "a nice young man" -- which is odd, because he's five years older than I am, but my perception of him is stuck somewhere in the past, where I think of him as an enthusiastic and pleasant twentysomething. He does a great job of demonstrating how awesome it is to love something and how fun it is to share the thing you love, regardless of whatever that something is (except hating; that's not cool). This vision of him was reinforced on the first day, by the bye, when Jean was trying to fiddle with my pin on my lanyard and dropped the back, and Wil (who was on his way somewhere, headphones in, gym clothes on, busy and in transit) stopped to pick it up for us and hand it back to us. It was a little thing -- I wouldn't have thought anything of him just walking by, since it was obvious he was busy and in his own world -- but there it was: a small kindness that fits with my personal image of him. Which, to be clear, isn't him. I don't actually know Wil Wheaton; he's not a friend of mine, he's not a pal. He couldn't manage to pick me out of a lineup if the NYPD helped him ID me. But he has a public face, and I am familiar with that public face, and that makes our relationship (as Scalzi has said on occasion) asynchronous. I know things about him because he lives at least part of his life in public, and that makes me feel closer to him, and that closeness is one-sided and mostly artificial. Which isn't his fault; it's by way of the nature of "celebrity" (and I don't have the time or the energy to define that one right now, so just go with me here).

I've tried to live my life as publicly as possible especially in the last several years, mostly because the Panopticon Society is a thing, and getting that toothpaste back in the tube is a job and a half. Plus, I can live that way. I'm a white middle-aged dude in tech. It's safe for me to live publicly, in a way that it isn't, even for someone like Jean. But choosing to live life publicly is fundamentally different from having the world decide (since you're a TV star, or a movie star, or a child actor, or a successful author) that you must live your life publicly. So I appreciate that Mr. Wheaton has managed to continue to be a reasonably good person despite the alternatives.

Later, we grabbed dinner in the dining room and ended up taking dessert back to the room with us, because we were both pretty tired and full. Since we were six days into a seven-day cruise, we got a room charge summary and I damn near fainted. Granted, we had budgeted for the trip and spending, but boy, do those room charges add up when all you have to do is hand the nice young person your room card and smile. It doesn't feel like spending actual money, which is SUPER dangerous. As Angela said about buying their merch: "just put it on your room card, it's like it never happend!"

I'm really glad that this wasn't the last day of the cruise, because while I didn't have a bad day, it would have coloured my entire experience, which wouldn't have been fair. Day 6 was a recovery day for me, and recovery days can be a bit of a downer, especially when you're trying to make sure you're having fun and enjoying yourself. There's a pressure to be having a good time on vacation 24/7, especially on something like this cruise, and that's not a reasonable expectation, at least for me. So it was OK for me to take the time to feel better and I needed to let myself know that. Day 6 was good! I even enjoyed it while it was happening. But I was grading on a curve at the time, and that wasn't fair either to the cruise or to myself.