My friend and I took a cruise last weekend. Not the kind of cruise that involves lido decks and midnight buffets, but a sweet glide through the pristine Essex River Marsh. The kind of cruise that would disappoint Captain Stubing and Gopher but that delighted two ocean-loving beachgoers. And while we enjoyed the green marsh against the blue sky, the occasional heron, and boat passengers waving as we went by, we were surprised to discover that the tiny pontoon boat had both a bathroom and a bar. Nice amenities for a long day at sea, but kind of odd for a ride that lasts an hour and a half.

While the bar might be a welcome treat for passengers, it is not when one passenger imbibes and then proceeds to talk so loudly as to drown out the riverboat guide who is giving a little history of the area. SOMEONE WHO TALKS THIS LOUDLY FOR THE ENTIRE CRUISE. I started to understand why some women weren’t offered a lifeboat when the Titanic went down.

As for the bathroom: really? A tiny port-a-potty on a boat was exactly that–the kind of place you’d only go if you were truly desperate. Apparently, 80% of the cruisers were truly desperate. I know because we sat by the bathroom. Astounded by the number of people with weak bladders, I was more astounded that the culprits were not the older folks you’d imagine might need a bathroom. They were antsy people and kids and bathroom lovers who I think used the facilities with a saloon-like door for the novelty of it. I was very, very close to making a public announcement about USING THE BATHROOM BEFORE YOU GET ON THE BOAT and REMEMBERING THAT THERE WILL BE A BATHROOM WHEN YOU GET OFF THE BOAT. But then I remembered that I’d be trapped on a little boat with angry people who might pee on me or toss me overboard, which, in retrospect, does not sound so bad; I might have enjoyed a leisurely sidestroke back to the dock with the soft chirping of birds and the gentle lapping of water on the shore.





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