Has it come to this?


So I am sitting in the LazyBoy with a glass of Merlot in one hand and the Sunday New York Times Travel Section in the other. I have already skimmed the features about places that I wouldn’t go to even if I had money, and I am just about done with the cheap ads way in the back. (The ones touting fat farms in the Adirondacks, that sort of thing.)

Then I spot an ad with a photograph of a magnificent, white cruise ship.

Immense, with dozens of decks; like a bright white floating wedding cake on steroids. It reeks of spendor, champagne in silver buckets, caviar by the kilo, white dinner jackets at luncheons. And, being the bon vivant dude that I am, I can hang with that.

Then I read the caption: It reads: “Don’t just read action-adventure novels, live them”

Now I don’t want to give you the wrong impression, but as I sat there casually spewing red wine all over my Sunday newspaper, I was clearly horrified.

I am not a Indiana Jones type, I am more of a “had a glass of wine at lunch, now it’s time for a nap” type.

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I do not hang glide, I do not bungie-jump. I do not rappel anything, except for women (and those I repel) I do not like heights, I do not climb big walls or even itty-bitty ones. As a matter of fact, I don’t do extreme anything. Unless you count “all you can eat desserts” as an extreme sport, in which case I might qualify.

I admit it, I confess, I voluntarily swear upon a stack of Lonely Planet guides that I am not living in an action-adventure novel.

Has it become to this? Have folks of a certain age, who (for a variety of reasons) can afford to (and have chosen to) seek the placid waters and white linen tablecloths of luxury ships (registered in the Bahamas), have to deny that they are relaxing?

Having a good time? Maybe sitting around in the sun? What the?

“Oh no, can’t do that!” they might think. It has to be EXTREME, grueling and somewhat dangerous. Is there but a trace of Puritan misery (combined with neighborly peer pressure) to never let your guard down, never to have any fun?

They even have gyms on these ships, for crying out loud. My idea of a perfect vacation does not involve standing in line to lift weights, it mainly consists of lifting forkfuls of prawns to my mouth. Why aren’t people allowed to just go on a vacation, get away from their awful jobs, their awful commute, their awful routine and just take a chill pill? (double occupancy required).

Leave the extreme lifestyle to the young Aussies, and let the rest of us eat cake.