29 December 2011

Bluehairs wit Attitude

So, I may have mentioned that my recent cruise experience left me with the strong impression that, en masse, the geriatric brigade are deranged and a menace to society. Before you jump all over me I'll have you know that I have anecdotes. That's right..anecdotes. As in anecdotal evidence, aplenty. Also, I am quite aware not all, and maybe not even most, members of the 70+ plus crowd are rude, obnoxious, oblivious, violent, confused and pervy...just the ones I'm about to tell you about.

Did you know that North American old people have no compunction about just cutting in front of you in line? (I don't want to speak for those of other nationalities, and the ones I saw cutting spoke like Americans, or close to it. And, you rarely see young or middle-aged North American adults doing this. I have no idea about the denizens of other continents.) And there are a lot of lines on your average cruise ship. You're just standing there waiting to disembark or whatever, perusing the Indentured Servant of the Month photos, and by the time you've figured out what Great-Gamma's been maneuvering that walker to do, it's too late: she's in front of you. And who has experience chastising random old people? Not me. It is ingrained that we treat them delicately, and boy do they take advantage. Since I'm still not comfortable giving little old ladies the what-for for their bad behavior I had to develop a blocking mechanism. This worked well as I move faster than they do and refuse to make eye contact. What are they gonna do? If one of 'em hits me with that cane the gloves come off.  And I'll win.

Thirty-seven old people and nine scooters will pile onto an elevator with no regard for the weight limit. It is really best to get off at that point because you don't want to get stuck with them if the elevator malfunctions. Also, this is way too good a situation for POGs, or pervy old guys. (See below for more detail.) And speaking of elevators, and this is just sad, sometimes they have difficulty navigating. It's truly cringing and painful to see some poor old dear who has apparently gotten separated from her keeper going up and down the elevator because she can't figure out where she got on and where she should get off. I walked in on this situation when some slightly less geriatric people were snootily steering her off the glass-enclosed elevator to wander god knows where. Did I intervene? Hell no. I am an observer. I observe and snark, I mean "report." I'm sure she found her way home, or at least to a deck chair.

Ok, POGs. Yeeuucckk! Day one: I'm attending the mandatory life vest, muster station training in the Princess Theatre. Here's another line: this one to get out of the theatre, now that we all know how to put on our vests and blow our whistles, which I am tempted to try out because, really, it doesn't look all that functional, but I refrain because I don't want to put it in my mouth unless there really is an emergency. And also, I don't like to call attention to myself. So, because eighty per cent of the passengers are over age 55 and 65% are over age 70, this line takes awhile. Okay. Uhh...what's that on my waist??? I whirl around. It's POG who up to now I thought was a harmless old guy who'd been sitting next to me, with his nice old lady wife. "Excuse me," he says. I'm too stunned to answer and I just want to get away. Excuse you? That was not an accidental touch. How do you "accidentally" cup your hand around a stranger's waist? When I get a chance I glom on to my husband and whisper what happened. "So what'd you do?" What'd I do? Nothing! He said "excuse me." He took away my power! Ugh! Just reliving it makes me feel dirty. Yak!

Another thing about POGs: they must have just completely lost their filters. More than one boarded the elevator and proceeded to gape at my breasts for the whole trip. Granted, they are spectacular, but do these POGs think I can't see them? Discretion, please.

Moving on. If you think my menace-to-society characterization was too harsh, try this one on. The very first night my husband comes to bed (I'd turned in early) and tells me I've missed all the excitement. Up on the top decks, the passengers had to clear out and the crew had to batten down the hatches (or something like that) to make space for the helicopter from Aruba. (Btw, I  now know where Aruba is. It's nice. You should go there, and as long as you don't wander off with strange young men, you won't be abducted and sold into white slavery. I promise.) Why, you ask, would an Aruban helicopter need to land on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, in the middle of the night? No one knew for sure, but they knew that someone was sick enough to need more medical attention than Doc could provide. (Did you know that Princess Cruise Lines was the same one that the Love Boat was part of? But I didn't see Isaac or Gopher, and the captain's name was Fabio.) Several days later my husband, apparently having found the ship's gossip hub in the cigar lounge, reports the following: that first night an 87-year-old male victim of a scoot-and-run was discovered hobbled and possibly maimed writhing in some hallway and, in addition to missing the whole cruise, is now responsible for the $16,000 that it costs to get an Aruban helicopter to airlift your broken ass out of there. Did you notice that I said "scoot-and-run"? Yes, a crazed scooter driver ran over this poor man and just left him there. Now, I think they could figure out who did it if they wanted to. First, there were a limited number of scooters on board. They should have interrogated all the drivers! And examined the scooters for forensic evidence! And, I heard tell of one particularly reckless scooterer who would barrel down hallways and through doors with no regard to what was in front of him. I'll never see those commercials for scooters with all those harmless-looking old people in them in the same way.

And, yes, I am fully aware that if there is a hell, I am going to it.

But then again, so are THEY!