Days 8+9: Asea, a Birthday, Canada + a Gateway Dance

Thursday is finally a day of rest and another missed sunrise. While it’s hard to hide away on a boat of three thousand, I manage to find solitude on the back decks where the kids don’t flock and adults have seemed to tire. I haven’t found another book that I’m interested in reading, so I fill my day with another session of Duplicate Bridge, some deck walks and dinner with Faye’s family. Oh, and I finally made it to the gym on board where I squeezed in some strength training to justify half of my wardrobe for the week being workout clothes. (Turns out exercise doesn’t happen by osmosis.)

We decide to celebrate Faye’s birthday at the stroke of midnight with some dancing at the glamorous One-5 lounge on the (you guessed it) 15th floor. I even get Faye to dance her famous discos and I’m happy racking up my steps count on the fitbit.

Despite docking in Victoria, BC early on Friday, I start the day with laundry. Being Faye’s birthday and all, I decide to let her sleep in and only wake her when laundry is nearly dry so we can squeeze in a quick walk on land. Like Juneau, we’re only docked in Victoria for a few hours. Opting out of any planned excursions (and costs) we follow the walkway to downtown though only get as far as the wharf. The floating village is adorable and we watch kids feed a fat seal and snag another real coffee. (Have I mentioned how bad the cruise coffee is yet?)

We even spot a chowder cart off the beaten path and fill up on some chowder with halibut confit (read: delicious heaven) and fish sans chips and a coke. Soda on the ship is astronomically expensive, yet happens to be one of Faye’s favorite delights – so instead of sneaking on more bottles of wine, we decide to bring back a coke.

Without knowing it’ll be my last, I make it for another day of Duplicate Bridge. I’m with Jean again, the well dressed, laid back risk taker from my first day of Party Bridge and I like her style. We hit a stride in a few hands and she patiently puts up with my learning in others. We’re East/West again, which I like since that means we get to walk in between rounds. That first day we were North/South and I felt far too much like a programmer again, being glued to my chair and punching numbers into the scoring computer for hours. If I knew I wasn’t going to make the final game tomorrow, I’d do a better job of saying goodbye to everyone, but I leave as if I’ll see them all tomorrow.

The evening blows by with the great buffet birthday dinner, family portraits, napkin crown and evening at the One-5. Being the last Formal Night of the cruise, the dance club is filled with the crew’s entertainment staff and what reminds me of what I remember of freshman year fraternity party sorority girls. Only I’m not having to snatch passed out girls out of the arms of untrustworthy boys. (Growing older has its perks!)

I’m not sure why I’m not in the mood for drinking, so I play with the discomfort of dancing – of being visible – in front of people, fully inhibited. When a country song comes on, it’s like I just took 5 shots of whisky. While I never liked country growing up, I loved dancing to it as those town dances were the prime opportunity to meet boys from other towns! The gentleman I find free to dance isn’t very coordinated, so The Pretzel is out of the question. Still, we manage to make it through without any major injuries and I no longer feel awkward dancing alone, sober and to a variety of music I will not remember tomorrow. My realization is that country is my gateway dancing music*. I wonder if I can use that next time I’m in a situation, room or mood where I’m too anxious to move. I might need to add another Power Song to my iPod…

* I’ve used the gateway practice most commonly with food. For example, I never used to like tomatoes. One day I discovered a pasta pomodoro dish that I absolutely loved. I used that to like tomatoes. Raw onions? It took a Russian raw onion, tomato, basil and sunflower oil salad. Blue Cheese? Cranberry Stetson on steak. Gin? Still working on it via Hendricks and a mix of bitters, Saint Germaine, soda water and grapefruit juice though not all at once. The list goes on.

Extra: Today* is Day 34, Post 28 of my 30 day blog challenge. Click ‘Follow’ at the bottom of the page to receive weekly updates in your inbox or follow me on Tumblr if that’s your scene.

* Living on a boat for 10 days, I had limited access to the internet so post-dating my entries for the date written (vs the date actually uploaded).