Monday, September 01, 2014

The Train In Vain Shares News From a Cruise

I've been away for the past week on a cruise, in case you've wondered why I haven't posted any observations recently.  On the cruise, I noticed some parallels between vacationing with thousands of strangers and commuting with thousands of strangers.  In this post, we'll explore some of the similarities and differences between a cruise commute to Bermuda and a train commute to New York City.

Bad weather happens, and there is stuff that is out of your control.  The conductor on the train will infrequently, but occasionally, announce that there is a problem at the destination.  Sometimes there is a track fire. Sometimes there is human tortellini on the rails because a person played chicken with an earlier train.  These issues can cause a train to be rerouted to an alternate NY-based terminal, such as Atlantic Terminal, Brooklyn.  On this trip, Hurricane Cristobal caused the Captain to reroute the ship from Bermuda to the Bahamas.  I have to say, there are worse things than hanging out at the Atlantis Hotel on Paradise Island among friendly Bahamians (instead of on pink sand with snobby Bermudans) and taking advantage of a fun water park.  

People like to eat.  Wow, do they like to eat.  I've spoken time and time again about the eating habits of train passengers.  People down pizza, pretzels, popcorn, sandwiches, beer, wine, and soup on moving trains.  On a moving cruise ship, people like to eat just about anything.  You haven't seen people stuff their faces into oblivion until you've been on a cruise.  And every cruise I go on I've observed the same phenomenon.  If they bread it, season it, and drop it in a pan of hot oil, people will eat fried towel and rave about how good it is.

This leads to the next point, which may be a tad unpleasant.

People are not afraid to show skin.  And many should be.  Sir, that tattoo across your chest may have said "Mom" in your younger years. Now it spells Mooooom. May I offer you a wet shirt?  At least on the train, these people wear clothing.

Well, usually they do.
Some announcement I don't need to hear wakes me up from my snooze. I've got my book, a lounge chair, and a drink. Kids are in the pool. I fade away, and.... "THIS IS YOUR CRUISE DIRECTOR KEN  SPEAKING, WE WILL ARRIVE IN NASSAU, BAHAMAS ON TRACK 17."  No, I'm just kidding. It was Track 18.

On trains, announcements come from people who'd rather not tell you anything.  On ships, announcements come from a super pumped up guy who would use the same tone whether announcing a port of call or confirming the vessel is sinking.

Shows followed by entertainers trying to sell DVDs and CDs. This blog wouldn't exist without great shows on the train, right?  Well, I saw some terrific entertainment on the cruise.  The "Tenors of Rock," who have been featured on the "The X Factor," and Mike Price, an incredible juggler who appeared on "America's Got Talent," provided amazing performances. These shows were just slightly better than the "entertainment" we often see on the subway.  The key difference was that there was little chance of an entertainer kicking us in the head as he did back flips.

These guys hawked DVDs and CDs when the shows were over.  They probably would have had open guitar cases with change and dollar bills inside, but no one carries cash on a ship.

My four year old informed me that he wants the juggler to be his daddy. I expect Mr. Price will make contributions to Danny's college tuition fund.

Signage providing odd guidance. On cruise ships, one is expected to not throw tissues, diapers, and of course, small automobiles into the toilet.  Makes me wonder what kind of toilet/vehicle incidents happened in the past that led to the production and placement of these signs above every toilet on the ship.

There were many other comparisons I made, but I was too busy stuffing my face to write them down.

Happy and safe commuting, and may you encounter uncommon sense.

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