Su Lum: Setting off to sea " part II | AspenTimes.com
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Su Lum: Setting off to sea " part II

One of the advantages of embarking on a seven-day sea voyage is that, in the fever and fervor of packing and crossing the hundreds of things off your “to do” list at home and at work, you find yourself tidying up loose ends that you have put off for years.

Mine started when friends and co-workers asked me where I was going on the Bahama cruise that I will be (eat your hearts out) midway into as you read this.

All I knew was that it started and ended in Miami and that the last stop was Nassau, but my daughter Hillery had given me an itinerary that I wrote down on a scrap of paper and it was while looking for this scrap that I began shuffling through and then attacking my Papers, which were decades overdue for sorting.

The upshot of that was that when the sun went down, I had a 30-gallon garbage bag filled with outdated crap that had accumulated in various piles and drawers, a tidy file of Current Papers in my desk, and discovered that I had been charged $200 for oxygen TWICE by United on my recent trip to New Jersey.

I also found a Living Will form, which I filled out, and the scribbled itinerary, which doesn’t tell me much: Half Moon Cay, Phillipsburg, St. Thomas, Nassau. I’m so ignorant, I don’t know if these are the names of islands or towns, and I’m in too much of a packing twit to get out the magnifying glass and the atlas.

I have put this long-lost itinerary, my passport, flight information, immigration questionnaires and Holland-America booklets into a Manila envelope, on the face of which I drew, with Magic Marker, a cheerful sailboat floating on inverted M’s representing waves.

My granddaughter Riley (who last year cruised to Alaska) spotted this and, on a separate sheet of paper, wrote a correction. “What sailboat?” she wrote. “This is supposed to be a cruise!” Big arrow pointing to her drawing of a four-story building bouncing atop seven rows of treacherous-looking waves, hovered over by a blazing sun.

This reminded me to pick up some Bonine seasick pills at Carl’s, but when I read the small print it said ASK YOUR DOCTOR if you have lung problems or take sleeping aids, and AVOID alcohol, so now I have a prescription for patches that you wear behind your ear ” lord knows how they work.

Of course I, whose total boat experience consists of two memorably awful English Channel crossings 25 years ago, have heard everything from, “Those cruise ships are so big you don’t even know you’re moving,” to, “Oh my god, we were tossing so hard I could barely get into my bunk and was afraid I’d be thrown out of it!”

The Xeroxed copy of the “Craps” chapter of my gambling book is packed.

I haven’t worn a watch in five years, but I got a new battery for my Timex and it started ticking. I figured that between the flights and the ports of call, it behooved me to be able to keep track of time. I wouldn’t want to miss the boat and be stranded on a tropical island, basking in the sun, not needing to be on an oxygen tether, would I?

Would I?

[Su Lum is a longtime local who may or may not see you later. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times]


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