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Saturday, September 23, 2006

There's Got to Be A Morning After -- My wife's work had a dinner cruise on Lake George last night, and she asked me if I wanted to go months ago, and somehow I guess I was sure that in the intervening weeks I would either work up some enthusiasm for the project or somehow weasel my way out of it. Turns out, neither. So off we went, believe it or not, on a three-hour tour.

Part of my reticence, I suppose, has to do with the history involved. The first time I accompanied my wife to one of her work-related events, it was a Christmas party in the early 1990s. At the time a fairly significant (as these things go) ex-girlfriend of mine was also working at the same place, and I was reluctant to spend hours in the same room with her. "No need to worry," laughed capricious fate, "Because she'll be right across the fucking table from you." Mmm, comfortable.

The first time I agreed to one of these cruises, now sometime into the mid-1990s, it wasn't an ex-girlfriend at issue. Rather, along on the cruise was a girl who I had cheated on another ex-girlfriend with, and who, of course, in the interests of full disclosure, I had told my wife all about when we were revealing all to each other. Why wouldn't I be honest with my wife about this sordid incident from a few years in the past? It's not as if we'll all be trapped on a goddamned boat on Lake George someday, after all, I am sure I would have thought, had I thought about it much at all.

Last night's cruise didn't turn out to involve any exs or ex-co-conspirators in infidelity, but it did come after a particularly un-fun week at work, and at the end of the day on Friday I really just wanted to go home. "Ah, go and get loaded," advised a friend at work, but alas, medically it's probably inadvisable to get loaded much these days, and furthermore combining two activities known to occasionally lead to vomiting (getting loaded and boarding a large vessel bound for deep water) made the idea of drinking only a fond, futile fantasy. Just as well I didn't drink, because I'll tell you, we weren't even detached from the dock before my observations of the teeming throng of party-goers had me sunk low into an Ivan Brunetti-like loathing of my fellow man.

Oh, it all came on me at once -- I won't even elaborate on the reasons for my sinking into such deep hatred for everything and everyone around me, but to sum up the moment, let me note that as the boat began moving out onto the water and I at least could take comfort in the beauty around me...and I swear to God I am not making this up -- the band played the fucking Love Boat theme, full length, and utterly destroyed my ability to enjoy another second on that goddamned boat.

Of course, as we enjoyed the truly mediocre and utterly bland dinner buffet (someone asked me in line why I wasn't taking anything, and I kept thinking as we moved down the line that there would be something worth taking, and BAM!, here we are at the end of the line. "Would you like some roast beef, sir?"), I could not help but share with my wife my utter disgust with all humanity. My dark, sour mood was relieved only by the waitress bringing me tea, and I drank three cups in relative peace until it occurred to me that my wife might be under the mistaken impression that my barely-controlled feelings of hatred might somehow exclude myself. So I tried my best to explain that, "No, honey, it's not that I think I am better than these people, it's that they remind me of how much I truly fucking hate myself." It seemed important to share this with her, somehow.

Despite it all, she seemed to enjoy the cruise itself -- after the lousy meal we went out on the deck and watched the sun go down as we cruised the lake. The food, company and musical accompaniment -- hell, even the decor -- were all repugnant, but, the water and the shoreline were something to see. Seeing all the beautuful lakeside houses and the lights of the houses dotting the occasional islands in the middle of the lake, I was once again reminded of the fact that I wish I lived anywhere but where I do, and that I wish I was anyone but who I am.

"There's got to be a morning after," someone sang in a movie about a boat 30 or so years ago, and unfortunately, she was right.



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