I have just been reminded that the Royal Caribbean cruise vacation I bought Mom and Dad, sailed today. Joy. If anything, I truly felt the excitement for them....and I am excited for myself. With my parents away all week that can only mean 1) less nagging via text messages from Mom, 2) no probability of Mom showing up at our home unannounced to a half-naked David attempting to hide his nipples with his fingers whilst opening the door, 3) no probability of Mom and Dad questioning why I have starved their beloved and only grandson when all I had done was to accidentally finish his bar of chocolate in the fridge and 4) no probability of having a row with them over my third rate parenting just because I had grounded their beloved and only grandson for doing something stupid.
Some months back, Mom and Dad had suggested that we organize a family vacation. So I bought them a cruise vacation, without me. The thought of spending a week with the "Addam's Family" in a vessel that has no "exits" was rather nauseating.
With Dad's limited mobility, a cruise was the best vacation option that offered him all the trappings of a luxurious holiday, from fine restaurants, a movie theatre, staged performances, a casino, a gym, a swimming pool and various sporting activities like rock climbing. As rock climbing, swimming and gym do very little to excite my rather adventurous Dad in a wheel chair, I thought a marathon meal-round-the-clock type of activity might. And the lady at the tour desk had promised me that Dad would be delighted by the scrumptious food available all day at the different dining rooms on board the ship. So that's Dad taken care of.
Then there's granny. Last I heard, she was not into swimming and rock climbing too. Her favorite sport is mahjong. The lady at the tour desk did mention mahjong when I asked if there were more challenging sporting activities other than rock climbing. She also mentioned casino. Granny's eyes lighted up like the neon signs at Las Vegas when she heard that the casino in the ship was world-class. Well, at least with 2 adventurous old folks to look after, Mom would know where to find one. No one's going to get lost on this ship.
Then there's Mom. Mom's idea of a vacation is to wheel Dad into every restaurant and join him in his "foodathons". The luxurious spa and beauty facilities offered in the ship do little to excite her. Food does. And the best thing about cruise dinners is that the dinner service comes complete with nightly staged performances. Mom loves that. She would sit at her table, mesmerized by the music, the costumes and the dancers. I am quite sure that secretly, she wished she was a glittering bustier-clad dancer with 5-inched heels and feathers in her hair.
So I am happy that I have sent them all off on their cruise vacation and even happier that I haven't joined them. I can't possibly think of a worse nightmare than to be stuck in a ship with my parents, granny, uncle and aunt, David and Joel, and with no where to run. How claustrophobic! I am not a sociopath but really, some space would be great. My idea of a great vacation is at a secluded beach surrounded with just the warm tropical breeze, rolling waves and miles of powdery soft sand. From time to time, I might tolerate 1 or 2 vendors selling me a sarong and possibly David singing with his ear phones on or even, Joel pestering me for money to buy a paragliding session.
However, on the whole, I would love a vacation with as little people around me as possible. After all, isn't a vacation meant to allow one to recoup and recharge in the environment of relative peace and quiet? That's why I didn't quite enjoy Siem Reap with the hordes of tourists descending upon the temple ruins and the cheap margarita bars everyday.
At this juncture, I would like to affirm that I am not a sociopath. I just appreciate a lot of space around myself. A mental picture of bliss to me, is hovering above the Iguazu Falls with just my co-pilot ( preferably a handsome one) and myself in a helicopter, or walking across the hills in the Scottish highlands with David and Joel... preferably with my blackberry in tow.
I hope the family are having a great time with the Royal Caribbean. Maybe when I am less selfish with space, I might join them some day and you might spot David and I camped out in a wee corner of the ship, far from the maddening crowd, each nursing a colorful alcoholic drink dressed with a fancy mini umbrella and a small signage strapped across our backs that read "I am an Ogre. Get out of my swamp."