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Europe, I hardly knew ye. - johnnyboatshow
Europe, I hardly knew ye.
The ship just pulled out of Barcelona for the last time, and I couldn’t be happier. As I wrote last time, this is a sign of progress. Time is moving forward. It’s nice to get a little reminder every once in a while, because most of the time I feel like I’ve fallen through to another dimension where days pass without meaning. I’m serious. Ship life is like an experimental short story that’s all description and no plot. But today I can at least say, “The ship just pulled out of Barcelona for the last time,” and hang my hat on that a little.

On the last ship I was on, leaving the home port was a slightly disturbing occurrence. Not that I loved Miami. Not by any stretch. Miami is the kind of place that you either love or hate. I hate it. But it was the only American soil I ever got to visit while I was on my last ship contract, and my cell phone worked there, and every time we pulled away and I watched the buildings descend into the horizon, my chest seized up with a sense of misplaced dread.

Not with Barcelona. I’ve had it with this town. Which is odd, because I actually really love Barcelona. I’m just out here alone, and I can’t really wrap my head around the whole isolation factor. Even though it’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it’s also been difficult to fully enjoy because it’s like everything else on a ship: a tree falling in a forest with nobody around to hear it. That old riddle.

I think I know the answer now. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, then it doesn’t matter whether it makes a sound or not. It doesn’t matter what kind of tree it was. It doesn’t matter how it fell or what specific biological processes it will undergo on the forest floor as it rots. If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it, then that tree might as well be called “Barcelona.”

I just want to get the fuck out of this forest. It’s been a nice walk, but the sun went down an hour ago and it’s getting cold and I was starting to worry.

Now I’m crossing the Atlantic over the course of the next ten days, and I’m excited about burrowing into my bed and ordering room service and working hard on my book and watching a tom of movies and hopefully avoiding any major storms at sea with 40 foot waves, although I’m sort of excited about the possibility of coming through this process a hardened mariner. I’m excited about emerging from my transatlantic cocoon and being a real deal American again with things to do.

My birthday is coming up in a week, too. It should be fun. If past experience on a ship is any indication of how it’ll go down, I will probably sleep late, watch some crappy movie on the crew movie channel, go grab something to eat, go back to my cabin and write for a while, then maybe read or work on some grand presentational iTunes playlist for an imaginary occasion that’ll never materialize, like say DJing in the crew bar, then get more food and play a game of Settlers of Catan (the nerdy board game I’m addicted to where you have to build houses on an island out of wheat and sheep), and then get rip-roaring drunk in the nightclub that looks like some kind of Atlantian space boudoir and only ever plays “Sexyback” by Justin Timberlake.

That’s been about my status quo day for a while now, and it’s not bad. As far as places to park your entire psyche for a 4 month holding pattern go, it’s quite tolerable. Every once in a great while I also get to perform a show, which is kind of a mixed blessing at this point. I’m not exaggerating about “once in a great while,” either. Since landing in Europe, we’ve done a total of seven shows. That’s including the two times we had two shows in one night. So a total of five nights of shows in nine weeks. James Brown we ain’t.

Plus there has been a smattering of half an hour short form improv shows, which typically include five improv games. One will be a big group game that kicks things off and has high energy but doesn’t involve a ton of creativity. At least one will not include me. One will be scenic. One will be a song. One will be a guessing game that we have to trick the audience into believing is somehow different from charades. And then when that’s done, we all get together and decide whether or not it “went well” and if so, why.

Then there’s a thing called “Liar’s Club,” which is a game show I’ve been a panelist on because the panelists get free booze and also they get to be funny. It’s basically the same as “To Tell The Truth,” except the winner only gets a tote bag, and it’s more about generating bar revenue than anything else. Liar’s Club is my favorite thing to do on the ship, because it’s my only chance to actually be satirical. It’s a game about being truthful, and it takes place on a cruise ship. It is an ideal soapbox for anybody with a sense of irony that’s more evolved than a tree slug’s.

I mention these performances because it’s likely there will be more of them once we get to America. It’s also likely they will be better received due to the fact that I often speak English in them. So I’m looking forward to that, too. Technically, that’s why I’m out here. Not to put myself through a bizarrely trying quest of spiritual self-flagellation, as I was beginning to believe.

I will also get to see old friends soon in Boston and New York, and walk around and know where I’m going and also, hopefully, care. It’s going to be great. So as the lights of Barcelona faded into the distance, I was able to say without irony, “Good riddance, Europe. You’re beautiful, sure, but it’s not like you did me any particular favors.”

I’ve also heard a rumor about the U.S. Is it true that the exchange rate there is one dollar per dollar? That’ll be nice.
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From: (Anonymous) Date: December 4th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC) (Link)

Play List

Christmas play list for Mom--must include The Jackson Five--"Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and Bing Crosby's "White Christmas" and some non-Christmas stuff--oldies?
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