Poolside Puzzles

Dearest Rachel –

It’s probably not something that you would consider to be an issue, or at least you would figure out a workaround. After all, you were determined to swim as often as you possibly could, whereas I’m not sure why I’m bothering. So if I run into a situation poolside that I consider to be untenable (which would happen sooner for me than for you, because it was never my ‘thing’ the way it was yours), I’m not about to power my way through, but rather just head back to my room to figure out what else I might want to do.

Or I might simply give up and do nothing – which I know I shouldn’t do, but don’t always have it in me to get out there and try again right away.

This is the challenge of dealing with a sea day; for all the things available for one to do, sometimes you just panic and lock up, and you find yourself doing nothing. Which you’d think would be perfectly acceptable – you should be allowed such an option when you’re on vacation. But like with so many other nice things I can’t find it in me to grant myself, it doesn’t feel right to indulge myself like that.

Bikinis versus Blue Jeans

Yesterday, you’ll recall, I was chasing after all the headline activities to tell you about them. Most of them were topside, course, so I was wandering, fully dressed, from one end of the ship to the other as I cased everything that was available to engage in. And while most of the people actually engaging in these activities were as fully dressed as I was, the vast majority of those on deck were nowhere near that. The upper deck, in particular, was all but carpeted in deck chairs, and occupied by sun worshippers as far as the eye could see.

A pleasant sight, no doubt, and you’d call me a liar if I claimed I’d not enjoyed – or even noticed – such a view in the past. But the dynamic is different these days, honey, and I can’t say I like it at all.

This may be why certain single women complain that all the good men are either married or gay; it’s the only way a guy can be comfortable talking to an unfamiliar female.

It’s a paradoxical thing, but I feel that somehow, everyone can see that I’m unattached. However, on the other hand, when I see a lone female (or a group of them), I automatically assume that I am just not seeing their husband, boyfriend or significant other, and are therefore off limits. Yes, I know this means I fail the Bechtel Testhard – but it’s how my mind works when it comes to these things.

And I suspect I’m not alone in that. What guy has the confidence – or the nerve, depending on how you want to look at it – to chat up a half naked female out of the blue like that? Someone who’s got nothing at stake, and therefore nothing to lose, by doing so. When I belonged with you, chatting with a female was just that, chatting. I was no threat to them, and I could be comfortable in the interaction. Now, it feels like I’m trying to start something. Even if they don’t notice it, it’s always in the back of my mind, and I find myself worrying if it shows.

It doesn’t help that I have what can charitably be described as a ‘dad bod,’ and lack the motivation to do what needs to be done in order to render it saleable in the current market. I was never an Adonis, and I can’t kid myself into thinking that I ever could be. Again, it was one thing when there was someone who loved it regardless of its shape, but those days are long behind me now.

So, with all these thoughts engraved in my mind and memory, how do I strike up a conversation when I’m in blue jeans and she’s in a bikini? Yeah, no. My brain isn’t about to let me do anything of the sort.

Not a Seat to be Found

And then there was this morning. As we sat becalmed in Kingston Harbor, unable to go ashore – because this is obviously only for the individual who needs medical attention – but unable to enjoy certain amenities simply because we’re within Jamaican jurisdiction (translation: the promenade shops and the casino are closed due to being effectively ‘in port’; it’s a strange neverlandish situation), I decided I might as well check out the pools topside. Ideally, in fact, I was hoping to find a seat in the solarium, which appears to overlook the ship’s helipad. If said patient was to be medivac’d off the ship, I could at least watch as it happened.

So I grab myself a couple of towels from the…rental place? library? I don’t know what you’d call it, but you swipe your room card, and check out however many towels you might want; all you have to do is return them, and re-swipe your card in order not to get charge for stealing them. Anyway, towels in hand, I had into the solarium to look for a seat. Maybe a deck chair, maybe one of those ones floating in the pool. Maybe I’ll be able to set my stuff down, and actually do a little swimming.

Or maybe not. I’m sure you read the header to the section, and you know what transpired – or rather, failed to transpire. Every seat, every chair, had at least a towel on them (many fastened with these cute little flamingo clips), and quite a few had other items on them, like some articles of clothing or a bag, or a book, or a bag with a book and some articles of clothing in them. I couldn’t find a place anywhere.

Even when I left the solarium for points aft, everywhere was already occupied or otherwise taken. Eventually, I returned the towels without using them – it was just that crowded. I suppose what else is there to do at this moment, but swim and tan?

Now, if you were in the situation, I know full well you would not have taken ‘no’ for an answer. You would’ve set your stuff down somewhere, even if it was just on the edge. But I don’t have your level of determination, especially when it comes to hanging out by the pool. I just packed it in and went downstairs, although I at least took the time to check the Cruise Compass for any other activities, which I may just tell you about later on.

I also had to check about our – sorry, my – shore excursion, and whether it would be postponed or canceled. Evidently, they’ll send me a message one way or another before the end of the day to let me know. I’ll see if I can’t fill you in on that as well when I find out.

Until then, honey, wish me luck. It seems I’m going to need it.

Published by randy@letters-to-rachel.memorial

I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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