Today I was nominated for table hosting duty. What that means is that, at certain meals, an officer is assigned to a table and asked to 'host'. Schmooze, entertain, whatever.
I made sure that I asked everyone else if they wanted to do it. I didn't want to step on anyone's toes. I think I might have even offered to do someone's laundry for a month or something, but no...the honor was all mine.
So I get dressed up in the uniform and head up to an early lunch in the passenger dining area. Fine table settings, china, fancy napkins, the whole bit. Now many of you who have worked with me in the past know, I usually try to skip out and eat my turkey sandwich lunch as far from other people as possible. So this is not really my comfort zone.
That's OK, I am somewhat used to being outside of my comfort zone. It's kind of my comfort zone.
I get there early, as directed, and sit. I rise when woman arrive and sit when they are seated. You know, sometimes the world throws you a sign. Literally. The placard in front of my read, 'Medical Officer'. The placard to my left read, 'Dorothy Dull'. I was to be seated next to Mrs. Dull. I am not afraid that she will read this, she didn't speak English. She was a lovely, if quiet Japanese lady. Her husband was sitting next to her. Somehow it came up that this was only my third week on board (one of the men mentioned something to the effect of that was probably the reason I got stuck coming to the lunch.), so I mentioned that I had been in the Navy before, so ship life wasn't new to me. Mr. Dull took the opportunity to say that he had been in the Navy too. In WWII.
Yeah, the Japanese Navy. Awkward.
He was apparently a weather forecaster for the ship based aircraft. I didn't press for more information as another one of the table guests was of the age that, had he been close enough to hear, might have taken offense.
So, where have your cruises taken you before?
The husband of one fo the couples was on his first cruise. His wife and her friends had taken several. He wasn't too keen on it though, he said, "too many people on here." They were from the Black Hills in the Dakota's. I mentioned that was one of the reasons my family and I had left Houston, too many people. We gave up the city life for a life of travel. The older gentleman across the table asked if I had heard about the sailor that decided to give up his life at sea.
"He picks up an anchor and walks off the boat. A guy asks him what's he going to do with that anchor. The sailor replies, 'I'm going to carry it until somebody asks me, "What is that thing?" and then I'm going to stay there.'" How is that for screwing up nested quotation marks? The Chicago Manual of Style would shake itself in shame at that demonstration I'm sure.
Only two more days and I head home. I need that.