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I'm being ridiculous. - johnnyboatshow
I'm being ridiculous.
Well of course things are better.

I think. I think things are better. It’s hard to tell.

Everything about being on a ship is completely devoid of context. It’s a separate world where you do things like “hang out at the crew bar” and “complain about blue card status” and then you “go to eat lunch at a place in Casablanca that some lady from Oregon decorated so it looks almost exactly like Rick’s Place from the movie” and then “see the ruins of an ancient Andalucian palace.”

The highs are so high they don’t make sense. The lows are so low they don’t make sense. You’re tired of seeing the same people even if they’re great. You’re trapped inside of your own head for days at a time, and it’s all happening while you’re seeing things and going to places you didn’t even know existed and wouldn’t have considered to be a destination for anybody ever until you find yourself suddenly there.

It’s all so strange.

So the last thing I wrote about was the frantic doldrums, but out here one’s frame of mind is liable to change as quickly as Chicago weather and with even less reason. Please don’t worry about me, everyone. Think of me as on some ill-conceived opulent vision quest into the heart of malaise itself. It’s just something I have to do for some reason.

I have now had two people tell me that I’m not supposed to be in the crew bar. They have a point. I am not supposed to be in the crew bar. These weren’t official complaints, though. These were just a couple of people telling me that I’m not supposed to be in the crew bar. But they were official people, though, each with the power, if not the inclination, to have me removed from the crew bar and to further enforce all of the terrible terrible restrictions inherent in my contract.

And you know what? I’m fine with it. It’s oddly giving me a sense of purpose. I’m going to see how far I can go with this thing until a Nepalese security Gherka does the Vulcan neck pinch on me (they do that, they’re like crazy martial arts warriors who just like regular smiley 5’3” Nepalese dudes) and carries me out of there in the middle of my seventh dollar can of Heineken.

Also fun is now, as a result of these crackdown threats, I have at least one ship nemesis. This is how things work on a ship. You get all wrapped up in the logistics of it, and then so does everybody else because that’s all you have to think about that’s not some weird incommunicable analogy about salad bar and the nature of true freedom sprung from inside your head. So you turn into a gossipy schoolchild and sink down into a level of minutiae you thought you’d be too mature to care about this time around. Like I said, though, it’s kind of great.

Now I have a motive for creating friendships and alliances that has nothing to do with small talk conversations about the geography of Peru with a real live Peruvian blackjack dealer just for the sake of not being trapped in my room for another hour. Now there’s stakes.

By the way, the crew bar is still great. I met a casino guy the other day who was a three time Russian club league rugby champion. He didn’t have a neck. If the shit hits the fan in the crew bar, I plan to get between him and the Gherkas. Their Vulcan neck pinch will be powerless against him.

See? Stakes.

And of course I could grow up and just stop going to the crew bar since I’m not supposed to and it’s also not healthy to always drink all the time, but I’m in too deep now. This is war, and my liver is collateral damage. Sad, yes, but unavoidable.

I get a vague sense as if from another past self that I’m being ridiculous, but I don’t know what to do about it. I live on a ship, and as far as I can see, based on my surroundings, I’m supposed to act this way. There’s nothing I can do. I’m deeply intuitive by nature. And I live on a cruise ship.

Some people have shown interest in having the ship’s address and my schedule and stuff like that.

Well here are some interesting dates:

December 3rd – The ship’s last day in Barcelona before we cross the Atlantic, also known as the cruise full of very very old people where the ship never stops anywhere and everybody goes stir crazy and I have my birthday in the middle of it.

December 12th – The ship arrives in Boston and actually stays at the dock overnight. So I’ll get to have a night of running around in Boston in some of my old haunts.

December 18th – The ship sails from Boston to New York without any guests on it, which is going to be weird, and then I can start to get mail at this address:

Ben Johnson
Guest Entertainer – Second City
M.S. Norwegian Gem
First Class Cargo
104 South Central Avenue #18
Valley Stream, NY 11580
(this is for letters and small mail items)

Or I can get packages at:

Ben Johnson
Guest Entertainer – Second City
M.S. Norwegian Gem
182-25 150th Avenue
Springfield Gardens, NY 11413

December 22nd – My family comes on the ship for the Christmas cruise, which I am looking forward to as if it were a parole hearing.

January 26th – I get off the ship and don’t have to get back on it ever again unless they ask me to and I say yes for some reason.
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