Baby, Let’s Cruise Away From Here (Here Being These Horrible Memories)

Catherine: Ahoy, mates!

Happy New Year. I hope you listened to Jana’s New Year’s advice and are as such not starting off the new year in a mild/severe depression.

Anyways. So. Come with me and travel back to 2004, my senior year of high school. My music teacher had invented a club solely for the purpose of being able to take a trip somewhere. It was aptly entitled “The Music Travel Club.” In its first year, it was decided that we would go on a CRUISE! SUPER EXCITING! (Less exciting however, considering that the following year they went to EUROPE.) But no matter.

As I excitedly packed for the magical vacation, I envisioned boys fawning over how cute I looked in my … shorts? I don’t even know what I was packing when I really think about it. My senior year of high school I wore, without fail, either sweatpants, scrubs, or massive gray sleep pants to school. Often paired with a tight fitting t-shirt. So, I’m not sure what I packed, but I know they were all small, girly-ish type things (that I don’t have any recollection of.) This trip was gonna be the best, guys. Having high expectations never meant the worst could happen. Not ever in history.

The morning I awoke at about 5:00am to get to the airport an hour away (we were flying out of PROVIDENCE, which, perhaps you will recall from Jana’s earlier post, is a city of vile, terrible, horrible things) (I mention this because I live 15 minutes away from Boston’s Logan airport) – this is all one sentence guys – anyways, that morning I got my period. If you are a guy, and that grosses you out, do NOT read on, because it is all downhill from here. I put on my dirty sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and headed out. Who am I kidding, I was already wearing the sweatpants. I lived in them. These were – and remember this you guys – my only long sleeved or long legged items.

At the airport, a cold I had fought off (I thought), returned with an angry vengeance. So. Period, bad. Stuffed up, barely able to breathe. Check. Ok.

We land! Beautiful Florida! Except, what’s this? What is happening? Why can’t I HEAR out of my left ear?? Oh, right, because my ears haven’t popped yet. Just the left one. Super uncomfortable. This goes on a long, long while.

Moving along.

We get on the boat! We have an interior cabin. AKA, the room with no windows that is very, very small and that, when you wake up in the middle of the night (or morning) because you are pretty sure your period is EVERYWHERE, will be the blackest black you can imagine. Ok. Period, dirty sweatpants, stuffed up, ear still hasn’t popped, cabin of despair. You with me?

As we change out of our travel clothes into our cute ‘let’s explore the boat’ clothes, it begins to come to my attention that our room is FREEZING. There is no visible way to fix this. So, we get out of there quickly and hope hope hope that that gets fixed. Exploring, we are explorers. Ok. Hmmm… now, this is weird. The rest of the boat… it’s sort of cold too… and by cold, I mean they are blasting the air conditioning. Reallllllllllllllly going for it. Three day cruise on an ice cube ship and what are my clothing options, let’s go back and recall – sweatshirt, dirty sweatpants, summer girly attire. From here, you are free to envision what I spent the duration of the cruise looking like.

Skip to day two, we arrive in KEY WEST! AWESOME! As we (roommates and I) get dressed, we turn on the TV to see the live feed of the outside world – their substitution for not having a window, nor one out in the hallway, or even anywhere on our deck – which is, by the way, above water. Shouldn’t have been so hard to do. But yea, Key West, a chance to get out of my dirty sweats and into some sexxxy clothes. But no. It’s raining. And, when we get outside, it comes to our attention that it is also windy. And cold. We shop around, half heartedly. I purchase a pair of terry cloth black short shorts with Corona Extra written on them. I am 18. I am SO cool.

Later that night/morning, I awake (probably to blow my EXTREMELY STUFFED UP NOSE) and find that, hmm, I can’t open my eye…? That’s weird. What is all this goop on it? Why does it feel goopy? I stumble to the bathroom mirror in the black blackness and find that my right eye has been encrusted in goop, goopy crust, and like, tears. I have NEVER seen this shit before. Ever. My roommates are, rightfully so, disgusted. When the ship pharmacy opens in the morning, I go to them. They ask what is the problem? I look at them, with one eye, and am dumbfounded. At some point they must have said, ah, I see, “YOUR EYE IS COVERED IN GOOP AND IT IS PUFFY AND GROSS. You have conjunctivitis. We are actually out of the medicine that treats that, so here are some eye drops that might help, perhaps. They are $18. Hope you aren’t in high school, when this might be extremely embarassing!” THANKS GUYS.

QUICK RECAP: Period, nose that doesn’t even let air in or out, dirty sweatpants, ship that you could leave ice cream out on and it wouldn’t melt, puffy conjunctivitis that they can’t treat. Let’s continue, because yea, this post is long, but we aren’t even done yet.

We arrive in Cozumel. It is gorgeous. It is lovely. I look horrible, but I am happy to be off the ship. In Cozumel, the legal drinking age is 18. I consume. Kamikaze shots, Sex on the Beach, B-52s, I get drunk. We bring an empty pineapple that once had a drink in it back to the ship. We are all drunk. It is a good day.

The night comes. I wake up, in the middle of it, and go to the bathroom. And everyone – we are about to get real. If you do not want to get real, please skip to the next paragraph. Ok. You still here? Alright. We are getting real now. I have the pooooop explosion, as can be expected from eating Mexican food and getting drunk, and also, what I don’t know at the time but know now, is a hemorrhoid. As an 18 year old, I had NO idea what this thing was, no internet on the boat, and no, I wasn’t about to go up to a chaperone and go, “HEY! I think my butthole is like, eating itself? Or is, oh, I don’t know, enflamed?” So this I held to myself, in fear, and discomfort.

FINAL DAY. For once, it is sunny outside the boat. Let’s go tanning! But instead of sunscreen with a low SPF, or even no sunscreen at all, let’s use tanning oil, because just because we have fair, fair Irish skin, that doesn’t mean we don’t deserve to get tan. Even though we have never had a tan before, ever, and there is no reason to think that it is even possible that we could get one. Awesome. Let’s all fast forward to two hours later – I see myself in a mirror, I look AWESOME. I. Am. Awesome. Let’s go forward another hour, HOLYFUCKINGSHITIAMAMONSTERWHOWILLNEVERFINDLOVE,MOSTLIKELY. To be clear, what I saw was a raccoon mask of red on my face. I hadn’t put tanning oil on my face, I’m not stupid, but I had touched my face and eyes several times with tanning oil remnants on my hands. So, picture, please, the brightest red imaginable, the color of a lobster will do, then put it in a splotchy, rorschach pattern, on my face. And just know that I had an improv show the week I got back, and also that I woke up 30 minutes early every day that week to attempt to put makeup on my face, and also know that it ended up looking like I was a burn victim trying to hide something by making their face as pale as a ghost.

So yeah. That was my cruise. My performance on this ship, as that was the “music” part of it all, was atrocious, because I developed a very sore throat. I got my period, wore dirty, dirty sweatpants, endured the cold of Siberia while on a luxury ship, had my nose defect from my body, got conjunctivitis, probably also got a bunch of zits, (if you didn’t get real skip this part – but yea, I got hemorrhoids), had a red lobster face, sore throat, and all this transpired as I returned, nightly, to the room of darkness. I haven’t been on a cruise since, but, weirdly, I REALLY want to.

This picture was taken the summer after high school. I am, as you see, in sweatpants. I cropped everyone else out of the picture because I don’t wanna be like, wanna be in my blog post I wrote about that time I got conjunctivitis? But yea, even though they aren’t there, I want you to know that none of them are in sweatpants. Just me. 

Jana: For me, this post explodes when you describe your butthole as, I don’t know, eating itself. Because WHAT the fuck is a hemorrhoid, honestly. Catherine, this vacation makes me want to die a million little deaths. On a personal note, I am reminded of how FUNNY I thought it was when I got pink eye in 6th grade or so, and my mom thought I was playing a trick on her when I wouldn’t open my eyes in the morning for school. Of course, it turned out that I was actually incapable of doing so, because of the goop that was glueing them together. Oh, we laughed and laughed.

Life is just so full of disgusting ailments, is what I really want to say. Some people manage to avoid them in public situations, and some people get them all at once, rapid fire, while on a cruise. This is just the kind of people we are.

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3 thoughts on “Baby, Let’s Cruise Away From Here (Here Being These Horrible Memories)

  1. Michael says:

    I don’t really remember you leaving for the cruise but I do recall you getting back…and looking, well, like a roasted bedtime Buffy infected by various disease that target the eyes, throat, butt and ability to stand. I also recall the flickers of happiness that lifted your otherwise completely devastated spirit when you recounted the one successful evening, drinking in a real bar for the first time! Why does this stuff always happen to you?

  2. Meredith says:

    I posit that the only thing possibly worse than having conjunctivitis as a high schooler (though not worse than the combined effects of this horror cruise) is having conjunctivitis as a sort-of-adult (ie: of the age where your students still aren’t quite sure you’re old enough to be teaching them a thing or two) who works with high schoolers on a daily basis. Yes, that’s right, this fall I had the pleasure of catching conjunctivitis from a young relative during Thanksgiving, just in time to return to the real world, high schoolers, and parent-teacher conferences.

    Spoiler alert: I ended up wearing prescriptionless glasses (slightly tinted, in a sort of “Transitions Lenses” style) for a day or two to “hide” the effect, which mostly resulted in people staring intently through my glasses and wondering to themselves if my left eye was, indeed, that much squintier than my right.

    • janacath says:

      That is wonderful. Anytime when your conjunctivitis has to interact with the real world is phenomenal – that there were high schoolers involved? That’s just a wonderful, wonderful bonus.

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