Thursday, March 27, 2003

The following is the remainder of my typed writings accumulutated during the cruise and in the Orlando International Airport on my way home. It's rambling, but in my defense I was drunk a couple of times while writing. I chose not to edit beyond what was done immediately following each writing session.

Saturday, the 15th.
The ship shoved off at 5:20 PM, EST. I was watching the jellyfish. There were a lot of jellyfish. I watched them carefully. Why doesn�t this cruise have a costumed character of a jellyfish? I mean, we�re floating on more jellyfish than water.

I have been singled out several times for being alone. As I had boarded, a photographer was taking pictures of the families coming on. They took one of me, alone. I blinked on purpose, but they just took another.
An announcer was, well, announcing the names and origins of each family as they passed through the atrium. I tried to sneak by, but I was caught and announced as �William Lopez from Phoenix, Arizona.� I thought about giving out a �Yee-ha!� and a �Goldurn it!� but he had already moved on to a real group. I went to the dining area where I was seated by myself. This was to be a recurring theme. Kate found me shortly after.

Monday 1800

Last night was amazing. At last I have fulfilled my boyhood dream of getting trashed with a bunch of cartoon characters. I didn�t manage to fulfill my other boyhood dream of smoking a cigar in front of Ernest Hemingway�s house while it was pouring rain. All the elements were in place while I was on Key West, I just didn�t know how to get back to the ship and it was uncomfortably close to the final boarding call. Oh yeah, I was running through the streets in the pouring rain looking for the ship. I was actually looking for water, since boats seldom stray far from it. I found it with ten minutes to spare. I could have smoked, dammit! Ah well, at least I was soaking wet.

Man, whose idea was it to combine actors and sailors?

I haunt this ship. Whenever Kate is working, I wander about alone. My favorite spot is the very front of the ship on the bow. The wind is fierce, and I sit and stare out at the water. Then I go off to lurk some more. I think it is really good for me. I get my alone time in so I can be moody, thoughtful, pensive, observant, or whatever it is I do. Very good for me. I seem to be suited for a wraith-like existence. I could be a poltergeist on weekends. It is beautiful being on the ocean. Long since gone are the murky green waters filled with tumbling grey jellyfish of Port Canaveral. The water grows bluer as I watch. It�s about the right shade, so I hope it stops soon.

The people here are fascinating. �There are over fifty different nationalities represented here.� boasted the captain. He�s French. I was jamming with a Jamaican guy down the hall, sitting in the hallway with some smoking Philipinos, trying to practice my Italian with Luigi, getting warning about women from Essex by a Scottish rugby player with metal in his leg (something about their white heels and handbags) and even listening to a comedy CD an English girl had about the 9-11 attack (there is a song for Al-qaeda and for the US,) swapping army stories with a South African named Shaun (his were much better than mine.) Unique. It�s like a little world right on the ship. Tomorrow I�m going to rally people to go after the Canadians, thus fulfilling yet another boyhood dream.

That earlier post cost me $12.75. I had to waddle out of the internet caf� because I had this mysterious soreness in my ass. That�s only five dollars less than I pay for my share of my monthly internet bill. And the guy next to me was playing solitaire. Just buy a damn deck of cards! Then throw them away and buy more next game! You�ll still come out ahead! I have to be cautious of my internal monologue; it has been threatening to not stay so internal as of late.

*I have just returned from the crew bar. Best St. Patrick�s Day ever! Catholicism is making much more sense now. The place is bitchin�. The place is packed with people, lights are flashing, the whole dance floor is swaying back and forth because of the choppy seas, waves are crashing up against the portholes, cigarettes dot the club like fiery mosquitoes, I�m dancing with this beautiful woman who is claiming that she really misses Americans and buying me Coronas (no lime,) there is some kind of giant metal door off to the side of the dance floor, everybody is just having a good time, singing along, dancing so many styles, some Scottish guy glaring at me because I �stole his woman*)
*I was sitting in the hallway outside of Kate�s cabin with the Scottish guy and this English masseuse�does this sound like the beginning of a joke? Anywayz, we are all talking and I think maybe she�s flirting with me, but I�m not sure because she has to reach over the Scottish guy to touch my arm. We all talk, and I ultimately make plans to meet up with her on one of the islands because she has a day off. That�s that, she�s cool, I made a new friend, I�m happy. Kate comes out and we all walk off to the crew bar (this all went down last night.) The bar is at the other end of the ship, about three football fields away. We�re about to go in the bar when some random English guy says, �Hey, I heard you�ve hooked up with Eve.� I was dumbfounded. �What? � I exclaim, �That was two minutes ago, and what do you mean hooked up?� It boggles the mind, but I learned an important lesson. The ol� Theatre Co. has nothing on this place. Everyone knows you�ve �hooked up� before you�ve even done it, or in my case, even thought about doing it. She is cute, though. Oh, back to tonight at the club:
�the most awesome place, more so because it�s underneath the most rated G place in the world, (all those R�s and the NC-17�s have to go somewhere) in short, incredible. I�m going to sleep now, in a bed this time. Sweet.

Oh yes, it�s 80�s night, and I feel all right�

Marie is amazing.

She is outgoing. She is funny. She can be shocking. She can sing in Italian and dance in Spanish. I miss her the most. Oh, I�m back at Orlando International again. This week flew by. I feel as if I have lived a lifetime in seven days. The problem is that I am still alive. I feel like a ghost again. I read a book called �Double Phoenix� when I was little about a boy. Actually, it was two stories in one book. But the boy follows a phoenix into another world where he fights dark knights, saves the girl, falls in love, and experiences aspects of life hitherto unknown to him. Throughout the story, he is drawn from place to place by the sight of the phoenix, leaving to go after it. It�s a shorter story and the whole experience for the boy seems to be only a few days. He reaches his final destination, a temple. Then he awakens in his own body again, but it is no longer a boy�s body. He is an old man. His final sight is of the phoenix soaring into the heavens and his soul following it. I feel like that right now.

I have not experienced such emotional discord in a very long time. It isn�t exactly depression. I do not regret being so happy. But it does hurt. I cannot push it out of my mind. Every moment I think that I am getting over it, another wave crashes into me. It seems to be triggered by little things. It is a bit like high school graduation, Basic Training graduation, and moving all combined. I will never see most of these people again. I will see Marie, and Kate, and maybe Jesse. But I want them all, even the surly Scottish rugby player.

I essentially fell in love when I knew I was going to have my heart broken. And I�m glad, I�m so glad. I fully understand �Tis better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all.� I�m stronger now. I love this entire world more knowing that there are such people in it. (I love writing and realizing things such as the following: ) I feel insignificant! I feel of so little worth. I felt that I was liked there. But I wanted to have an impact on their lives, immortalize myself in their hearts and minds. I admire them all. They are professionals. I have never been among so many people who are just so good at something. The techs, the actors, the rest of the crew. They are all following their phoenix.

A movie I like too much is �Wing Commander� with Freddie Prinze, Jr. I know now what a big part of it is. In the film, they were space fighter pilots, and whenever someone died everyone pretended they never existed. It was the only way they dealt with losing someone. The fighters were living their lives in fear of violent death, but more afraid of being left alive after becoming to attached to others. This is how I feel as well. Left alive, left behind, forgotten but unable to forget.

I can no longer measure myself by my impact on other people as far as amusing them. People tell me I can be very amusing. I would hope others would think so, since I pour so much energy on it. I try to utilize every physical and mental resource I can tap into to jump, jive, and jest. Unless I�m feeling like a bum, then I just bum around, speak quietly, and avoid eye contact.

I want my phoenix. I want to be borne along, passionate and furious. I have been afraid of finding it before, because I wanted to collect everything I love and have it forever. A few months ago, I tried to live up to my new screenname, �AlwaysEphemeral.� Didn�t work. At all. But I know that it was a step in the right direction, something I had to face about myself. �Seize the day!� You hear it everywhere over and over and over again. But how do you do that? I�m working on it, and this is what I have so far: Day in this case doesn�t really mean day, it means your life in it�s unknown entirety. What you actually seize are the moments. It�s difficult to talk about time after reading so much damn philosophy, but here goes: A moment is perhaps a miniscule part of your life, but it is all you have of life. The right now. But a bunch of points are useless until a pattern emerges. I�m done talking about this.

There is a quiet desperation on the ship as far as relationships go. It is quite incestuous on there, thus my earlier comment on combining sailors and actors. Everyone has slept with everyone. But the majority of the people do not date in any traditional sense. There is just the being together, almost completely. It is as if they get married on a whim. The sex is often immediate, if not the sole precursor to the relationship. They each work and afterwards come home to each other. It is nigh impossible to �take things slowly.� And should Cupid�s arrows become firmly imbedded in their posteriors, there is always the chance of a contract (Disney contracts them for four to eight months at a time after which they can renew) expiring just when they are happiest. It isn�t pleasant, but that�s ship life. Hell, that is life. It is a decision that can be made in advance, thought, as to whether or not to expose yourself to that kind of emotional flak. It is disheartening that there are those who wish that maybe things will go well, but not so well that they wouldn�t be able to get over it.

Crap, why did I put on Sarah McLachlan?

Well, I�m in the mood to discuss Kate now. I�m listening to �Angel� a track of the �Surfacing� album. This song I�ve always liked, but it is haunting to listen to. Sky Kurtz once said that when he dies, he wanted Kate to do this song at his funeral, since she can play the piano and sing. Sometimes I think people are just going out of their way to depress me : \
For the record, I didn�t sleep with anyone during my trip. I did kiss Kate, but that was during the kissing contest, which I lost anyway.
I don�t like to explain why exactly I still find her so important. It is simple enough. I have to believe that there is hope for her. Then I can believe that I have a chance, too. Sound familiar? Frodo expressed a similar sentiment for Gollum in �The Two Towers.� But I thought of it first, and have been for the past couple of years. If it wasn�t apparent, I had serious difficulty in dealing with my problems not long ago. It took quite a bit of time for me to work it out, longer than it should have really, because I was so stubborn about going to my friends for help. But I have improved. It is possible.
Now that I can sit and analyze exactly what went on during the trip, I think I will. Kate and went from talking rarely and seeing each other even less over the past two years to all out living together in 25 cubic feet of space. No transition or anything just Bam! roommates
Since I had so much time to murder before my flight, I took a bus from the airport to The Florida Mall. The public transportation �round these parts is impressive. The buses even have little televisions that show the route, the next stop, and public service announcements. I was walking by Old Navy and I saw Jessica, a very cool girl that works on the ship. She wasn�t the only crew member that was in the mall. It was a shock, since I had already accepted the fact that I would never see them again and then here they were shopping. I was pleased that they were just as surprised to see me. Once I discovered that there were crew running around the mall, I tried to cover as much ground as possible. I walked quickly, rubbernecking madly to see who I could see. I also stopped in a couple of stores to pick up Thank-you gifts for Kate. I got her a blank card and wrote her a short poem while I was sitting in the food court. I think it is completely obvious that it was written in a food court. It went as follows:

There aren�t enough words
in all the English-speaking lands
To express all my thanks
but I�ll do what I can

I wanted to give you a present
that you would like a whole lot
But I suppose if you don�t
then at least there there�s the thought

I don�t really know how you darken your hair
And to be frank, I don�t really care
For a girl�s head is something that is always in need
of a wash or a dry or a trim or a tease

Your heart is so strong now
that I haven�t a doubt
That whatever you wish for
You won�t be without

I think it�s appropriate. I got her some Bath and Body works stuff and a 50 dollar gift card to some salon in the mall. She needed to dye her hair again, and the lady told me it costs about that much. I don�t think I believed her, but I must have since I bought the damn gift card.

I think that I�m feeling a little better now. It has been a long transition from sea to land to air to the land of my home. Time is getting funny again, the way it was for a while a few years ago. Maybe it was always funny and I just stopped noticing.

I�m in Washington right now, the ticket says Dulles, but I don�t know what that means. The place was a ghost town when I got here. Now it�s getting lively.

Cozumel, Mexico was probably where I had the most fun. Kate, Marie, Scott and ,I took a taxi to The Reef Club where we bought day passes. Oh yeah, all you can eat, all you can drink. I got more full than drunk. Actually, I didn�t get drunk. I only had about 6 drinks all day. But I did go kayaking and snorkeling. It was fun. We went back to the ship, got changed into our dancing shoes, then headed back out to Carlos and Charlie�s. I got in, ordered a few tequila shots and a giant margarita thing, then hit the dance floor. So cool. But not 20 minutes later, we were back at the ship. We had gotten there late, and the �All aboard� time was coming up. There was a number called the �Deck Party� on the deck of the ship we were all going to see anyway. So I�m making my way up to the deck of the ship when I realize I�m completely trashed. I�m surrounded by families and there kids just drunk out of my mind, but of course, I don�t care at the time. The music comes on, the lights start going, the cartoon characters come out, all of us are dancing and all is right with the world. Afterwards Marie and I grab a couple slices of pizza and proceed to the back of the ship where we talk and she draws smiley faces in the fogged up windows of the restaurant where a server she thinks is cute works. I don�t think he noticed, but it�s the thought that counts. That pizza was a college student�s dream; pizza whenever you wanted it.

End of typings.

Monday, March 24, 2003

Written Thursday, the 13th.

The from Phoenix to Denver was uneventful. I had a window seat. Once during the flight I looked out and saw white patches of snow. I had shivered involuntarily. Still, it was nice having a window seat.

The flight from Denver to Orlando was slightly more eventful. I was listening to some decent techno on the complimentary headset when I was rudely interrupted by the captain�s droning voice coming through my earphones. After observing the people around me looking up and around I assumed that it was playing over the loudspeakers as well. �Ladies and Gentlemen, I am now going to turn on the �Fasten Seatbelts� sign. I would ask you to please remain in your seats while we try to find a smoother path through this turbulence.� Hmm. It had been getting bumpy. I hadn�t really noticed. The sun had gone to sleep while ago, and I had been in kind of a half-dream state, listening to my music and making music videos in my head.

I was working on this cool one where a grim and determined-looking man is traveling across a vast alien wasteland. From time to time he would bend down and pick something up off of the dead ground, peer at it for a moment, put it in his pocket, and then look even more grim and determined as he walked on. The sun is beginning to set as he comes upon a sight that is shocking in its familiarity: Rows and rows of neatly made beds, warm and cozy and bright and incredibly out of place in this harsh landscape.
The expression on his face is unreadable. He walks among the beds. There are many different kinds here, but there is one trait they all share. They are all children�s beds. Brightly colored, some shaped like rockets and race cars, flowery designs, and some still with those little guardrails that keep the little innocents from rolling off the sides in their sleep. There are even a few bunk beds.
The man's step has grown wary. His eyes scan the rows. It is clear that he is searching for one bed in particular. The sun begins to set.
We are watching him now. The darkness growing underneath the beds around us is stirring. We can only see his dusty boots and legs approach as we peer out from underneath the beds. The boots stop. A hand reaches down to pick up a single strand of yellow yarn. While he is distracted, the first of us strike.

That�s as far as I was when the captain began droning at me.

The plane shuddered and rocked. The passenger�s heads all shook in unison like a hundred bobble-head dolls. The plane dipped sharply, and then veered to the right. It began to climb. I stared out my window as the frail-looking wings shuddered along with everything else. The people were getting nervous. The growing tension was almost palpable. The captain dipped, veered, and climbed some more. The turbulence got worse. The lady next to me hugged her child and buried her face in his shoulder. �Way to not frighten your 11-year-old,� I thought. The meal had been served earlier, (I asked for and received a vegetarian meal, which consisted mainly of some pathetic tomato and a few pieces of cheese) and some people were still nursing little plastic cups of soda or coffee. I watched them focus entirely on not spilling their beverages. �Yes, for the love of god, whatever happens, don�t spill the drinks!� I almost said out loud.
A man stood up and began to make his way down the aisle. The captain�s voice came on again. �I�m going to have to ask again that everyone please remain in their seats until the �Fasten Seatbelts� sign turns off. Thank you.� The man gave an embarrassed grin and sat back down. I grinned too as I thought. �I don�t think it really matters where you are in the plane if it crashes, just the fact that you�re in it when it does has already significantly hurt your odds.�
I don�t think I was scared. I�ve been scared before, and I wasn�t acting like I had been in any of those times. I was just waiting to see what would happen. Also, it was kind of fun. Planes are usually so boring. The way it appeared to me, the plane was either going to crash or it wasn�t. There wasn�t really any other option. If it crashed and I died, then I wouldn�t have anything to worry about. Since it hadn�t, at least not yet, I didn�t worry about it. I just thought of a plane crash as kind of a lazy way to skydive.
The turbulence continued for at least a quarter of an hour before it stopped. But, as I�m sure you�ve already gleaned from my subtle foreshadowing, we didn�t crash. I thought of a lot of things while the plane was batted about. I thought of Alyx and Kendall, and how what seems like a long time ago we had all wanted to go to San Diego just for the day. I wondered what they would be thinking if they were here.

Horrible beasts of all sorts of horrible shapes leap, crawl, drag, and ooze out from underneath the beds, howling, hissing, roaring, and sputtering. The man blasts the first few that reach him with a sawed-off shotgun he had underneath his long jacket. Those few monsters fall, but more are still emerging. An insane battle follows, the man running, diving, and even jumping from bed to bed, firing all the while. It�s pretty bad-ass. All the monsters get obliterated. All but one, of course. A black wrought-iron four poster queen bed with those leopard-print drape things is the hiding place of the largest one, a monster that looks like a cross between a gorilla, an octopus, and a wheat thresher. The man fires at it, but it leaps out of the way and the man only succeeds in shooting off one of the iron posts. The drapes fall and ensnare the creature, leaving it open for an easy shot. Click. Damn, out of bullets. Wielding the gun like a club, the man attacks. Entangled though it is, the monster easily knocks the gun away and grabs the man with one pair of its arms and begins to pummel him with the other pair. A girl�s scream cuts through the fetid air. The monster is distracted, and the man shoves it back, impaling it on the broken iron post. The monster screams, gouts of greenish-black bile spurt from its maw, and it slowly slides further down the spike.
The man doesn�t wait to watch it die. He turns towards the source of the scream. It is a little girl in a nightgown, peeking over the side of the top bunk of one of the beds. She has been crying, and when she sees the man the tears begin again. He reaches out his arms, sleeves torn and still bleeding a bit from some minor wounds. She climbs into them and buries her face in his chest. She had been clutching something, but drops it now. It is a doll. Most of its hair is gone, but a few of the yellow strands of yarn remain. Still holding her, the man begins to limp back the way he came. They disappear into the darkness. Having served their purpose, the doll and the shotgun lie together in the dust, forgotten and unneeded now.

I want Viggo Mortenson to play the Grim-And-Determined Man, Deon Sanders to play the Octo-Gorilla-Wheat Thresher-Pus, and Samara from �The Ring� to play the Little Girl. I�ll have a cameo as The Slug Monster.

I�m sure you see now why I try to keep busy.