I spent the next few hours drinking, wandering around, and purposefully getting lost on the Inspiration in order to learn the layout of the ship and get used to the place. Inside it appeared to be much larger than it looked from the outside. I got lost on the same floor, in the same corridor, three times at one point. Granted, I'm not Mr. Mapquest myself, but still... Okay, yes, I kind of suck with directions. Fuck off.
The front of the ship (the bow, or the stem as some seamen call it, arrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!) held the rather large stage for tacky song and dance performances (and two levels of seating), the gym, the spa, and the ship's doctor's office (with plenty of sea-sick pills there for the taking [which they only made readily available long after the whole ship needed them]). The mid-section had the sun deck on the top level, the casino, many a bar and dance club, and the fancy-schmancy dining rooms. The stern (the ass of the boat) held some more bars and the ineffable 24/7 pizzeria. I pretty much lived in that pizzeria, though not for the glorious reasons that I would have initially thought. More on that (really shitty) development later.
So, I wandered for a few hours before the life boat drill (which was very disappointing since there were more than enough boats for everybody and no band playing for us till the end) and then I went down to check out the Wolfman's and my cabin: E-185. When the Wolfman first told me how little we were paying for the trip I initially thought we'd be crammed into a closet or some Filipino busboy's bathroom for five days. Yes, our room was small, but it was larger (by a couple of dozen square feet) than I had hoped or imagined. Pleasant surprise of the trip number one.
The TV was busted and the Wolfman was truly pissed about that. And although it kind of annoyed me at first I then remembered that I was on a fucking cruise ship — a ship that was filled with bars and tons of loose women! What the hell would I need a TV for? And as I found out later, although the ship had access to quite a few satellite channels, they were all based in Denver (and were hours behind our ship time). Honestly, by the time I would have remembered a show (like say Heroes or CSI) was on, and I did the math to calculate its Mountain Time start against its EST start time, I would have missed it by hours (seriously, I suck with addition, subtraction, multiplication... anything to do with basic arithmetic). The Wolfman took the broken TV as a personal threat from the cruise company and began calling all the numbers preprogrammed on the room phone to remedy the situation under promises of kidney punches if they didn't comply. I snuck out of the cabin at that point and pretended not to have heard him in case any criminal or civil action lawsuits were brought up.
I then went to the aft of the ship and watched us pull away from the pier; there were maybe five people standing on it waving us goodbye. I thought it was a law that at least half the population of any harbor town had to run out and throw confetti and blow a departing ship kisses as it sailed off into the horizon. Five people... at most. I kind of felt a little depressed over this lack of excitement by the land lubbers at my soon to be fantastical trip, but pushing Don Johnson and his hairy ass crack (see page 1) over the railings and into the churning propellers lifted my spirits up a bit. And I learned a few things because of that too: Number one — don't fall overboard because nobody will notice; and number two — dolphins love the taste of human flesh. That coven of dolphins followed us for miles and miles afterward just hoping for more tasty ass fur. Wow! Honestly, I've been saving that very sentence for years now hoping I'd get the chance to use it sometime.
TONIGHT WE DINE IN [MONTE CARLO]!
I wasted away the rest of the day just drinking some more and chilling out at that mid-ship Violins Bar, and soon enough it was dinner time. We had the second seating in the Monte Carlo room, and at first I was kind of pissed about the 8:30 start time to our meal but with all the other food available whenever you wanted (like I said before, 24/7 pizza, and an almost 24/7 sandwich chef, bars everywhere, and that self-serve ice-cream station) it wasn't really that a big deal. And the wait was completely and totally worth it.
We sat at Table 104, and the Wolfman (who joined me in line for dinner) and I were the only two guys at a party filled with chicks. When I first saw this I went up to Babu (our Maitre'D) and planted a big wet one on his mustachioed lips. Then, after a few minutes of him not letting go I went for his windpipe and hurried back to my seat after picking some mustache hair from my teeth.
Dinner itself was absolutely fabulous. Actually, every breakfast and lunch and dinner I had on board was exceptional. This was far and away the most consistently bestest week of eating I'd had in my entire life. 4-star meals three times a day, and they never once forced me to wear a tie. And even if they did I would have set that fucking noose around my neck on fire in protest (like an insane Buddhist monk). No point to that last blurb; I just sincerely hate ties.
The wait staff was cute and fun (Roma and my sweetie Asya), and most especially in the helping of making this meal extraordinary everyone at the table was a bona fide blast to hang out with. Gator Babe, Crystal Right, Lohan, Beaumont, the 'Ams, and the Party Chicks are what made this vacation as spectacular as it turned out to be... But I'm getting a little ahead of myself, as I am wont to do.
So we all gabbed through the meal, ordering as many plates of the prime rib and lobster as we wanted, and then two or three desserts each, and then we all departed to make it to the opening night show in the Paris Lounge (the main theater). The show was called the "Opening Night Fun Time Show" (or something just as groan-inducing), and it really kind of lied. True, it was the "opening night," and it was indeed a "show..." But "fun time?" Really? I guess there aren't any bait and switch laws in international waters. Personally I'd have called it the "Opening Night Watch People Stick Spoons Down Their Pants Retardation Hour!" Honestly, more people might have come for that one. Though if they REALLY wanted a crowd I would have volunteered for the "Opening Night Watch the Rossman Dry Hump the Hot Dancer Girls Show Spectacular!" People would have even paid extra for that. Even more for access to the pants-optional back-stage party (that my contract would have stipulated quite clearly) that would follow.
After the annoying cruise director got done needlessly embarrassing about 14 audience members, we got some funny, fat comedian named Tony. Not much to say about him except his PG-rated show was way too safe. He told us that he had an "adults only" show later in the week, but we were left wondering just how dirty he could get when his worst joke (not worst in quality, just taste) was about eating too much lasagne. Just like Garfield......... *Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn*.
IF THE WOLFMAN SNORES IN THE FOREST, AND NOBODY'S THERE TO HEAR IT, DOES HE MAKE A SOUND?
It was close to midnight when we decided to retire, and when we got back to the room (which unfortunately didn't have our waitress Asya waiting for me in nothing but a few well-placed dabs of whipped cream) I ordered the Wolfman to put on 2 Breathe-Right strips before hitting his pillow. I stayed awake for a little while, just to make sure that the strips worked — they did. Yes, the Wolfman was still snoring, but relatively quietly, and I could pretend that his low wheezes were just the periodic ocean waves lulling me to sleep. I got about 2 solid hours of sleep until... it happened.
It was around 2AM when the Wolfman must have scratched the Breathe-Rights from his nose. The utter ferocity that his initial nocturnal GROWL hit me with made me jump up from my bed and smash my head into the ceiling (I was on the top bunk bed, remember? Honestly, I just wrote about that a few paragraphs ago... Jesus...). I just stared straight up for two more hours, hoping for a miracle of some sort, as his snoring would crescendo, getting louder and LOUDER as the minutes ticked by. Then, every 60 seconds or so, I would either cough really loud, pretend to snore even louder than him, or I'd simply shout out "WOLFMAN!" He'd stop snoring... for 6 to 10 seconds, then the cycle would repeat. At four in the morning I swore that he was almost laughing while doing it. It was just so fucking LOUD. It was the kind of snore that the 3 Stooges would perform for a comical chuckle... no, I take that back. Not even Shemp could bellow a vocal-chord-rupturing snarl such as the Wolfman that night.
When he barked his loudest at 4AM, that's when I started yelling "Gooooooooooooooooddammit, Wolfman! This is BULLSHIT!" over and over while he then tried to pry the pillow I was stuffing into his face out of his mouth and nose. After he won, I grabbed my keycard, my iPod and shoes and stomped out of the cabin, slamming the door behind me. I don't EVER remember being that pissed off at anything previously in my life; except maybe for that time that James Kaine had me pinned to the ground in gym class back in high school, and he proceeded to fart in my face while the PE teacher did nothing but laugh.
I caught some periodic Z's on the rear most deck of the ship, but got sick of the freaks looking at my toned, comatose, chiseled bod after a few hours. That's when I looked at my authentic Pirates of the Caribbean themed watch and noticed that it was then 6AM; the gym was finally open. Not too enthused about actually working out, I simply wanted to DO something. So I marched all the way to the bow of the boat and found that I wasn't the only insomniac looking to work off a lot of unnecessary aggression and RAGE. There were about 4 other guys in there, all walking the treadmills like I had planned; we all walked together in silence for a little over an hour. It was rather strange, and we each seemed to have our own stories to tell about why we were there, but don't ever let that awkward camaraderie fool you... They NEVER want to hear your story.
That one 60-something guy who came in at around 7:15 and looked around sheepishly at all of us looking at him, proved this theory when he stated (without anyone egging him on) "The missus told me to work off some of last night's dinner this morning if she was going to let me eat anything more today. Heh, I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment!" He must have thought that was the FUNNIEST fucking line ever, but after listening to Opie and Anthony openly and hilariously mock listeners on my prerecorded radio show download on my iPod for over an hour... I didn't find it funny at all. I did find it quite humorous though when I jumped off the treadmill and began laughing like a lunatic while pointing at the old fart. I kept it up for 7 minutes. Nobody else joined in, but strangely enough that old guy never left.
After that I went up on the top deck and watched the sun rise prettily in the East (I'm going to sound like a pansy, but this was simply an awesome sight to behold... As are my cantalope-sized testes), then I got invited to join a Korean sunrise prayer service (I have no idea what made those people think that the sweaty, 6'4" white guy with a scowl on his face waiting for breakfast to start would want to join them in humping a Bible for any amount of time), and FINALLY I made it to 8 o'clock, when the fancy breakfast began. Jesus Christ what a night... And what worried me most was what would lie ahead. This was only the start of the first full day of the cruise and I was already beyond exhausted and sleep deprived. The Curse of the Wolfman™ was strong indeed!