So, we all woke up the next day to ever-strengthening winds, and sheets of rain that obscured the shoreline just a quarter-mile away. You'd think that everyone would be in a foul mood. Personally, it felt like a typical late-autumn day in Ohio to me...in other words - miserable weather that makes you happy just to be able to stay warm and dry inside.
Meeting New Friends
After a mid-morning practice session in the Orpheum theater, I decided to shake things up by going to the dining room for lunch instead of the buffet. My favorite part about working for Royal Caribbean is the outstanding salad bar they provide on each sea day. You know I was going to be happy this cruise, as they were all going to be sea days! Shrimp, roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes, mini-mozzarella balls, and enough spinach to defeat an ARMY of Blutoes (how do you pluralize that?)
As it was just myself, and the salad bar is self-serve, I walked right by the seating station to fill my plate. Once satisfied with my towering mound of greens, I asked a server if there was a vacant seat he'd be willing to shove me into. Well, this guy was good, because he seated me with a group consisting of a married couple and their two friends...all from northeastern Ohio! Larry, Darlene, Jean, and...wait for it...Sandy! With a hurricane of the same name raging outside, you know the jokes were flying around the table at her expense (most of which she started herself.)
As it turns out, we met for lunch every day without prior planning. Truly we were a group on the same wavelength.
Mom, Is That You?
Another great thing about Royal Caribbean is that the entertainers are allowed to gamble. Now, I will say that I got most of the gambling bug out of my system when I was in my twenties, but when you are confined in a ship - even one as large as the Enchantment - you gotta maximize your options.
On this cruise, they had a table with a $1.00 minimum, so you can imagine how long you can make one Andy Jackson go! In the middle of the first shoe, a couple of more elderly ladies - Rose and Susan - sat down next to me to join the fun. They were obviously new to Blackjack, and I offered them advice as each hand was dealt. After an hour of talking and playing, we were best of friends. Our paltry bankrolls blown, we decided to keep the fun going by meeting up with the rest of the ladies in their church group, who were waiting in Boleros Lounge for trivia.
It was there that I learned that Rose had lost her husband just a few years back. My mother was suffering from the same malady, so it was nice to have a sympathetic soul with me. She was actually like a surrogate to me that week, and I couldn't have been more grateful.
Finally, the day of show arrived. I always love show-day, because it is always busy. Practice/set-up, tech rehearsal, a bit of lunch (in the dining room, naturally), warm-up...there's quite a lead-up to curtain-up! On top of all that, we were asked to do a juggling workshop after lunch. We were only too happy to oblige. After all, it was the fourth day of the cruise, and we (like so many of the guests on board) were getting cabin fever. I'd happily build all the activity into my day that I could!
Once showtime was underway I noticed that the crowd, while usually enthusiastic, was even more so this time around. After we finished performing our grand finale to a thunderous ovation, Marlo and I turned to each other and said, "No wonder!" You see, by getting to spend that extra time with the guests throughout the cruise, not only did we alleviate the worst effects of cabin fever, we "stacked the deck" for our show. A nice side-benefit, to be sure!
Lemons Into Lemonade
What did we learn from our little adventure? Well, I can certainly say this: no matter what the circumstance, one always should make the best of a situation. Good can come from most anything - even natural disasters!