Can you imagine becoming homeless, on Christmas Eve, and at the same time leaving on a Holiday Cruise to Catalina and Encinada aboard the Viking Serenade ??? I couldn't .... but that's what my son Jon and I just did.
Ever been on a "Luxury Cruise?"
I "confess." Even at 51, I had never been on one. Never even watched "The Love Boat" that often.
In this case, it was a family sort of event. My parents chose to give Jon and I, and my two step sisters, a family cruise for Christmas. I don't know how many Christmas' it is that we've been going to their house, but it's a lot. It's only been a couple of Christmas' since they moved to Southern California, and they made a big deal out of how much work they would save, cooking and cleaning and all. But, I think they just thought it would be kind of special having the whole family together, and at sea for Christmas.
Must have been a few other people that felt the same way. There was one family of 35 who came from all over the United States, for the same reason.
As it turned out, I thought it would work well for Jon and I. Afterall, better to have your first homeless experience riding on a luxury cruise ship, then in my Escort Station Wagon! Besides, at that time of year, there's not a great deal you can do that you haven't done already. Whatever we were going to do for business was done. Computers were built, yo-yos sold. The Christmas Pages got a record number of hits. Unfortunately my CGI Bin got erased just before leaving ... so I could take no orders all the time we were gone.
But I had already determined that come Christmas time, I was going to be about, celebrating the day of His Birth, regardless of what else was happening. I was going to try and be just as happy over the victory, even if the victory this Christmas, turned out to be a defeat.
For me then, it was no accident what would occur this Christmas morning.
I had happily agreed to attend Christmas Mass with Dad and Mama Peggy. Peggy, a good Catholic, attended every year, wherever we celebrated Christmas, and on this ship would be no exception.
I walked in just about precisely at Midnight. The Mass was being held in the same "room" that the nightclub shows were held, the bingo, the "shopping tips" program. When I walked in, everybody was already nicely seated around a table, and I began to look for a chair. I found one at the table next door to the parents, and, couldn't help but notice that there were two very attractive young ladies seated at that table. Since I was in a very good mood it was easy to smile and suggest I would just sit with these two ladies. They smiled as if to "appreciate" the boldness of this stranger, and I spent the Mass seated with these two ladies.
Frankly, I may have been a bit more attracted to the younger of the two. Turns out one was the "mama" and the other the daughter. No accident, being born and raised in America, loving American television, reading Scorpio literature, that I might be attracted to the younger physique of the daughter. But, I found the mother quite attractive as well .... in a different kind of way ... and, as it turned out, whether they knew what was going on or not, the two of them handled it quite nicely when at the end of the mass, the daughter paid no attention to SoCoOL Bob ... whatsoever ... and the mom and he stayed and chatted for nearly three hours ... right there in the same chairs.
I "confess," I pulled out my positive thinking philosophy for a significant part of my part of the conversation, and the school teacher hesitated not at all to question the philosophy of those who seem to be advocating being happy about everything all the time. She, herself, was going through a bit of a trauma over a personal loss, and thought that reacting negatively to such an incident was appropriate and/or more correct, than somehow trying to translate everything into a positive.
I have to agree, in a sense. That's my job you know. Not necessarily to agree, but to find the positive in even a potentially negative comment. At least that's the job of SoCoOL Bob when he's attempting to function according to the kind of positive philosophy he has found helpful in many situations in the past. Alright ... I confess ...I like thinking that way. It sort of ends up with a smile, no matter what the outcome, although never let it be said that I ever said it comes up that way .... automatically. Heck No .... I react negatively to lots of things, and lots of situations, just like many of us do. It is, perhaps, one of the reasons I ever attempted to become an expert in positive thinking ... cause I was subject to negative thoughts, about a lot of things.
In the meantime, I was enjoying a perception of this young lady ... the mama ... that I find particularly amusing. She had definite beauty. I mean her face was, and is, particularly attractive. There was a lot of warmth expressed in her face ... a very pleasant smile ... a certain wisdom, that probably can only come with age, both of ours, and she was very pleasant. We had a very pleasing conversation, and then, she chose to respond positively to my invitation to take a stroll around the deck.
Now, I suppose this is the kind of fantasy that is a regular part of attending one of these cruises, but I guess I was just happy enough, and being controlled enough by my own vision of the events, that I was quite happy to believe that the closeness, and potential affection that appeared possible between us, was something more than this ladies or my Love Boat Story. But, then, who says, my image of things controls.
Well, I tell you what. It's a very romantic thing to do ... strolling the deck of one of these Luxury "Cruisers," a romantic thing indeed. Spare me the brisk sea breeze, etc. etc., but, I couldn't help but smile myself at the vision of a couple of septegenarian frolickers, kissing top side ... or a couple of other made for each other, cigar smoker/lovers, and once again, run my own movie of their life together ... a story book affair, each and every one.
And mine, too. This very attractive lady, born to me on the Anniversary of the Birth of Jesus Christ, why couldn't this be the woman of my dreams I dare not even dream about anymore. Indeed, I could picture myself, retiring and withering away with this sweet faced, sweet voiced, lovely young lady. So what if she couldn't see these kinds of visions of me ... she didn't even know I was homeless.
Until the next night. Oh yessir, it isn't like me at all to weave a tale, except a truthful one if I can help it, to any young lady, or man for that matter. I like to stick to the truth .... and the slant .... but almost never, make believe. Yes, this woman would know I was homeless sometime shortly after dinner, it would be the only way.
Perhaps, it's because I enjoy seeing the reactions of people, to the truth when it's bad ... perhaps it's just ego to think that if you're going to be with me at all, you'd best be with me and not some figment of my imagination .. except for the figments I publish as such.
P.S. You know, perhaps as interesting as all this ... my son Jon actually did find 'true romance' on this ship. He and a lovely lady are still 'together' and great friends today.