Thursday, January 6, 2011

CRUISING


I have mentioned before that when I worked at the bank, I had been unsuccessfully trying to live on those meager wages banks called salaries. Though I loved the job of banking, I was always searching for something that might net me a few extras in life.

Luckily I am female so my entertainment and a lot of meals were taken care of by dating. We girls didn't have to split the tab in those days. But all the other little perks of life were denied me. I just squeaked by.

As I perused the want ads one day, an unusual job jumped out at me. It was a help wanted ad for a female crew to work on a 118' passenger yacht that was currently docked in Palm Beach. They intended to cruise the Caribbean and needed women for cooking and cleaning or at least that is what the ad indicated.

I had a few suspicions more was expected but the chance to see more of the world was a strong pull. That and the fact that I am totally at peace on the water, meant this needed to be checked out.




Not a picture of the ship but one similar.

A friend from the bank who was fresh from divorce and seeking something exciting in her life, went with me to apply for the job. Jeanne' was interviewed by the rather handsome captain while I was interviewed by the not so handsome, but much richer owner. That we were going to be expected to keep the passengers "happy" raised a flag. I was asked many things but the one that stuck out was when he asked me near the end of the interview, ”How do you feel about sex?”

By now I was pretty sure my duties would entail more than just making the beds. Realizing this just might be a floating brothel for rich dudes, I had pretty much decided it was not for me. I knew I wouldn't be going but wanting to appear cosmopolitan, my flip reply to his sex question was, "I think it is here to stay.”
I don't think he was impressed. Think he was looking for a lot more enthusiasm. "Insatiable" as an answer might have gotten me the job.

Jeanne' had a similar experience with the captain that we laughed about later. Our interviewers had let it slip that an infamous Palm Beach socialite had also applied for the job. This young, attractive heiress was constantly in the papers and had a well deserved reputation as a total wild child. Kind of the Lindsay Lohan of her day. "Insatiable" might well have been her answer to the sex question. She obviously didn't need the money and was probably more into the kinky aspects. Seriously doubt she knew how to actually make a bed.

While Jeanne' and I were a bit hurt that we never got the opportunity to turn down the job (no one called), we felt a bit better when we heard the socialite was also not offered a berth.

We had stopped by the lounge where I sometimes worked to have a drink one day not too long after we realized we weren't considered brothel material. We were laughing about our failed attempt and rejection when the bartender, who was a good friend, asked incredulously, “Why on earth would you even want to sail around the world as a glorified maid?” We hadn't mentioned the “extra”duties.

A few seats down from us, sat an attractive, much older woman waiting for dinner reservations with her date. She had quietly been listening to our story. She started to chuckle and answered his question softly, “So they can become interesting old bats like me.”

We fell off our stools laughing. Not mean laughter, but delighted laughter. Her date confirmed she really was an “interesting old bat.” She then proceed to regale us with all she had done in her life. She had actually worked for a legitimate cruise line as a singer, touring Europe. She had done a tour with Peace Corps, was currently CEO of a cosmetics firm in Paris, once was the muse of a famous painter and had married 3 times, not necessarily in that order.

We were so sorry when they were called to dinner and the stories ended. I never got her name, but whenever I feel uncertain about making a change of direction in my life that might take me out of my comfort zone, I think of her, that one phrase, start to chuckle and plunge ahead. Sometimes it only takes a few words to set us free of fear. Many thanks to that "old bat.”

Anyone like that in your life that very subtly steered you with just a few words?

40 comments :

  1. "No person in person"...but maybe a book or two! You are a true story teller in my book, Patti! Love all I have ever read here, but I have been away and need to catch up on quite a bit in the blog world.

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  2. You are a font of fabulous stories!! I can't think of anyone who affected me in the same or similar way, but I'm sure there were a few. You remind me of the time I ran away to NYC and was handed a business card by a guy on Fifth Avenue, while waiting for a green light to cross the street. He was supposedly a model's agent. After I went back home, my mom wouldn't let me call him (she was afraid of "White slavery" and so I probably gave up my chance to be the next supermodel....LOL

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  3. Not yet and prospects are getting pretty slim at 74!. But you never kow what may pop out of the oven next. Ha HA

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  4. That was quite a story, my stomach began to hurt reading and thinking about what might have happened on that boat. To many creeps in this world.
    To your question, I have had several, all were mentors in one form of another. The one the comes to mind first is my wife. She has always told me, " you could do that." Useully I don't believe her but now and then I do.
    Good post.

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  5. You have the greatest stories...and you are a natural born storyteller.
    One thing I don't understand...about the bank job...didn't they hand out million dollar bonuses in those days?? (Oh, I do realize they don't give bonuses to the worker bees even today.)

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  6. Did banking myself, so I understand. Wow...what a great story. I don't know if you just have a lot of stories or it's the way you tell them??? but, you sure have a way, and I always look forward to reading them!

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  7. Wonderful story! So many people influenced me when I was young I wouldn't know where to start.

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  8. When I was in my 30's and still looked good in a bikini, I was sitting on the beach in Florida watching my kids play in the water. There were a group of older women sitting next to me, three of them were really skinny and looked pretty bad, wrinkly and waaayyyy too tan and one was a little plumper and wasn't as leathery. She asked me about my boys and we talked for a little bit. She mentioned that she felt a little out of place with all the skinny people on the beach and I commented that I thought she was lovely..

    She said,"Well as you get older, you have to choose between your butt and your face," except she didn't say "butt". I always remember her and it is kind of comforting now that I'm a grandmother and not the slim young thing I was at 30!

    Funny the things that stick with you!!!

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  9. Dear Patti,
    You could take a story about shoveling snow and make it exciting. The art of story telling. WOW
    You really have the gift, babe.
    I've had male dance friends who have been Dance Hosts on cruise ships and that was just dancing. In fact I think there was an old movie about that with Jack Lemmon. I never had that urge.
    Love and peace

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  10. What a great story, patti! I love that "interesting old bat." I'm sure I must have crossed paths with someone like her, someone who lived life in the most unconventional ways, but at this moment I can't dredge up a single encounter.

    That cruise yacht sounds like a nightmare you were spared having to live through. Yikes. Roger and I watched the first hour of "Days of Wine and Rose" just the other day. Your story reminds me of the work Jack Lemmon was doing for his boss, procuring babes for some rich guy and his pals on a yacht. Creepy stuff.

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  11. My husband says regularly, "life is short, what do you want to do?" Keeps me thinking and trying to make the most out of each day. Of course, I get some great ideas too. Great ideas that cost a lot of money. LOL!

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  12. Funny story, Patti.... I'm sure I've affectionately been called an 'old bag' a few times myself..... Love it!!!!!

    I cannot think of a particular word or words that steered my course in life --but I do remember telling my family that I was wanting to get a divorce... That was the hardest thing I have ever done I think because nobody in my family had ever been divorced... I needed their approval and love --but wasn't sure I would get it... Bottom line: I got their approval and was then ready to change my life for the BETTER.....

    SO--the words were just love and approval, ones that I desperately needed at that time in my life.

    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  13. Great story yet once again, congrats. Yes, I did have a wizened ole bat (she wasn't that old at the time) but she was a font of real life info. She lived across the street, had 4 kids of her own and just was the most open, honest, loving adult I had encountered by age 13. Sue Gross, thanks for steering me along my path. TOB, Linda

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  14. Great story! Wonder what would have been different in life if you'd said yes.

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  15. A lot to think about in this post. Always on the look-out for new things to try is good in my view, not including a floating brothel. We miss so much in life when we're afraid to embrace new things.

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  16. Well, you were mature enough to know the extra duties entailed by the add. Did you ever get out and see the world?

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  17. I cannot think of any one person or words that affected me in the way that lady did you. What I know and things I did were mostly due to my being stubborn and some just being plain stupid...I guess you can say I grew up with hard knocks to remind me to keep going.

    Another great post. Hugs

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  18. Wanda,
    Me too on some books. Thank you so much for thinking so. Do hope hubby is back to fighting form soon.

    marciamayo,
    Gosh, thanks.

    kenju,
    Thanks Judy. Just think, had you access to Google in those days, you could have checked him out and would not longer have to wonder. I'm thinking he was legit.

    Nitwit,
    Like you say, you never know.

    Grayquill,
    Glad you listen to your wife GQ. Who knows your talents better?

    Olga,
    Thanks so much. In those days we were on profit sharing. Think my share never topped a hundred for the year.

    turquoisemoon,
    Thanks so much. I just hope I don't run out.

    Iowa Garden Lady,
    You evidently ran into some wise folks in your day.

    Rocky Mountain Woman,
    That lady was brilliant. I know when I try to lose weight, the first to suffer is my face. Guess I should be satisfied with the butt.

    Manzanita,
    Thanks so much. I do remember that movie. I really wish I had seen more of the world but now I am thinking that seeing more of the old USA is more doable.

    robin,
    I guess that is what I liked the most about her, she just did things most people would talk themselves out of doing.

    islandwonder,
    Now that is the kind of guy I need to find. He sounds like a keeper.

    Betsy,
    You got from your family exactly what you needed to move on with your life with out added stress of disapproval. A blessing.

    Linda in NM
    Old bats come in all forms. I am glad you found one when you needed her.

    Linda Myers,
    Pretty sure it would have been a long swim back.

    Linda,
    That is the truth. Fear is a real crippler.

    rosaria,
    Just the islands and Canada. There was so much more I wanted to see but making a living got in the way. Now I am concentrating on our marvelous country.

    Mumsy,
    Hard knocks are not the preferred way to learn but it lasts the longest.

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  22. Another GREAT Story, Patti...So very interesting and another wonderful rendering of more of your life experience.
    There have been important touchstones--mostly from books I've read. Things I never forgot and still hold as important lessons...!
    I cannot wait to read more of your incredible life-lessons, my dear!

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  23. Like I have said, you need to write a book of your interesting jobs and almost jobs. LOL I'm sure this was one you're glad you didn't get.

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  24. Great story Patti. I love it. And no not in my life. My choice of career was totally boring. My father was a successfull banker and hated it. I learned the importance of being happy in you work and knew I was. Forty years of it and no regrets. Getting out of my comfort zone tended to involve things like flyfishing in grizzly bear country. :) Or canoeing in whitewater rivers.

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  25. A good memory for you - and a great story to share. Sometimes an unexpected encounter can have a big influence. Yes, I've had similar "chance" meetings that have changed my life's direction.

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  26. This captivating story should be published with all your other stories! I agree with Wanda and the other bloggers commenting.

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  27. What a gift you have in telling your stories! Thanks for sharing!!

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  28. I can't share it here. I discovered that everything I write by way of a comment shows up somewhere else in cyberspace.

    Besides, I am not yet uninhibited enough to share ALL my past. Perhaps that will come in time.
    Also, I have an "image" to preserve...don't want my hubby to die of a heart attack. He thinks I am so innocent. He'll find out when we meet Saint Peter and not before.

    Hint: I have been married three times. (He already knows this)

    Meanwhile I am enjoying your posts tremendously. Dianne

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  29. Interestingly, I've had thoughts this past week about how 'boring' I am...not at ALL interesting~ In fact I had a co-worker who told me I'd be more fun if I drank! I don't think she meant harm by it but I often wonder...
    I am a quiet, reserved, 'watcher' who enjoys the company of one or two people in a small intimate manner. I'm not loud, gregarious, or in any way, 'the life of the party' and lately have been wondering about that...
    so you pose an interesting point!
    thank you...

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  30. OOLOH
    Thank you Naomi. Those thing that resonate, do stay with us.

    Patty,
    Gosh, I am about to run out of jobs, though there are a few more.

    troutbirder,
    Fly fishing in grizzley country is pretty daring in my book.

    Barb,
    Sometimes I wonder if the people who unwittingly steer us are aware of what they have done.

    Reader wil,
    Thanks so much Wil.

    mel
    Thank you for thinking that.

    schmidleysscribblins,]
    Ah we do have to keep a little mystery don't we.

    Tracy,
    From reading your blog, I in no way think you are boring. Tell your co-worker to read your blog, that should change her mind. If everyone was the "life of the party"---that would make most parties pretty scary.

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  31. Awww, Patti, I just read your comment on my site and thank you very much. No, she doesn't read my blog but I guess what just came to me is her idea of fun and mine are different I guess and that's okay.
    thank you so much Lady, for touching my day!

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  32. Fabulous story! As usual you have made it as interesting as before.
    Have a good day!

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  33. You are a natural born storyteller. I loved this story. I will think about your question. I've had many I'm sure. I'm just not sure I took their advice as seriously as I should have.

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  34. What a great story! I loved your answer! That would have been an awful job to have anyway...spend the night entertaining a man (which I wouldn't have done in the first place), then have to serve him food or clean his toilet the next day? haha...That'll never happen!

    Thank you for stopping by my blog! I love hearing from you! I'm surprised we're getting the snow and not you! You're turn will be coming soon I'm sure!

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  35. Wow what a story! Love the ole bat...haha How women like us impress us is amazing. I met one like that yesterday and just wish I had met her in my 30's.
    Glad you share such a great story. I have to say my dear sweet friend you have had a interesting life. One that I am so happy you share with us now
    Love ya
    Maggie

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  36. One job I almost too was a model in college, I often wonder what or who I would be now. Great story about the old bat, as you know Gary had his old bat story. His father and mother both worked on cruise lines when they were young, his father also worked as a butler and his mother as a governess. I now take much more time talking to people as they all have some interesting stories to tell, especially the older ones.

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  37. To become an old bat is not difficult, to become an interesting one is more so.
    You've managed the second part without having attained the 'old' part.

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  38. Patti, your comment this morning made me laugh!! Thanks for starting my day off right.

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  39. Tracy,
    Glad you all ready figured out her way was a pretty empty way.

    Elen Susan,
    Thank you and back at ya.

    Retired English Teacher.
    Thanks for thinking so. I usually follow the bad advice and ignore the good.

    Tina,
    I think you just laid out the job description of a "wife". Course, doing all that for love makes it better.

    Grandmayellowhair,
    Enjoyed reading about your interesting old bat.

    Linda Starr
    How true that everyone has a story. The smart take the time to listen. I need to be smarter.

    Friko,
    Thank you for thinking that but fear I have "old" sewed up and am a work in progress on interesting.

    kenju,
    Glad my pitifulness tickled you. That was a funny cartoon.

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