You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Innocent Voyage - Part 1: Moon over Miami

So Matt and I decide to take a cruise and we both survived (neither of us fell overboard). More about interesting and morbid cruise ship statistics later. Now we are back in Minnesota and loving our 2 degree weather. Loving it, I tell you. It's difficult to believe it will be officially spring in 9 days.

But anyway, the trip review. I will try to be as disturbingly specific as possible, in case anyone reading has ever wondered if they would like to go on a cruise. Here's a hint: If you like to eat, drink, and be waited upon as if you had a harem of slaves at your disposal, then yes, you'll probably like it.

But first we had to fly to Miami.

Our flight down was uneventful; I had to sit in the middle, between Matt and another guy I'll call Crosby because he reminded me of the guy from Crosby, Stills, and Nash. Minus the Young. If you have no idea who Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young are, then you get an F minus on the subject of classic rock.

After 15 minutes into the flight, I'm bored. I'm waiting for my Ginger ale, the ONLY soda I drink on airplanes. So I start doodling in my notebook. I write a few pages from the chapter I'm working on, and then I start trying to remember the formula for the speed of sound. The speed of sound has to do with the coefficient of stiffness and the density. I had to look it up: it's 767 miles per hour. Chuck Yeager is the pilot who first broke the sound barrier. The reason I had to look it up was that it was important for something I was writing, and I also needed to know about lightning and how much power it could produce and all that jazz. So I'm explaining this to Matt; he had to listen to me because he's trapped between me and the window. We start talking about lightning.

Matt: Why do some people die when they get hit by lightning and others don't?
Me: I don't know... Hey, maybe the people who live get special powers.
Matt: Like magic powers...I wondered that too. Maybe they have a secret group.
Me: Because I'm sure it does SOMETHING to you. It's not like you would be normal after.
Matt: I wonder what it feels like?
Me: Yeah, I heard that you can tell it's going to hit you, a few seconds before. All the hairs on your body stand straight up. You can smell the crackle coming...

At this, Crosby perks up.

Crosby: Yeah, that happened to me!
Me: Really? You got hit by lightning?
Crosby: No, almost. I was out on a golf course with some friends and there was a storm. Every hair on me stood straight up!
Me: Wow. Then what?
Crosby: Then I fell to the ground and put my hands over my head.

Then we have a long discussion about volts and amperage, and Crosby assures me that lightning has high volts but low amperage which is the thing that is dangerous. Who knew? Crosby turns out to be a good seat mate and pretty soon we arrive in sunny Florida.

Here's what happens next. We have a free shuttle to take us to our South Beach hotel. We have an hour to wait so we sit outside and watch the people come and go. I'm sitting and enjoying the warm air when a group of 5 dudes stroll out. They are dressed like rappers. The littlest guy is wearing a faux diamond encrusted belt, which is situated around his thighs because he didn't get the memo that a belt is meant to be worn around your WAIST to HOLD UP your PANTS. He also has a passel of chains and bling-bling around his neck. He is difficult not to notice because he sounds like a wind chime when he walks. I notice he has Louis Vuitton luggage and I try to figure out what rapper he is while I sit and eat a chicken sandwich and try not to choke because I'm laughing.

It's quite possible that he is just a poser. We are in Miami, after all. Soon, a big black Escalade pulls up (how cliche) and a driver comes out and loads the luggage. Suddenly a group of girls appear and are hanging and mooning around, and the little rapper autographs a copy of some CD. The girls look really happy and I'm tempted to ask one of them who it is, but I chicken out. They might roll their eyes at me and tell me how stoopid I am...

Oh yeah? I bet they don't know who Crosby, Stills, and Nash are!

Simultaneously, not 20 feet away, two Miami police officers are trying to wake up a hobo who's sleeping on a bench. Wake up, hobo! You're missing the poser show!

Eventually they leave and I ask Matt how we will know which shuttle bus is ours. Then it pulls up. It's bright red with a lady painted on the outside. It says South Beach and the door opens and Cyndy Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun is blaring on the radio.

"That's our ride!"

Welcome to Miami...

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