Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I love ships. I'm not a big fan of cruises; those I've limited to vacations in destinations best enjoyed via water (Alaska, the Greek Islands). Cruises are too much like camp for adults, and they require more interaction with other members of the human race than I consider ideal for a vacation. But ships please me. They're so orderly, so cunning. Nothing rolls around. Nothing is loose. There's nothing extra. Everything is designed to fit both its purpose and its space.

We have glass tumblers in our bathroom, but they don't sit on the counter, risking disaster. They fit into little metal circles extending from the second shelf on each side of the sink and exactly the right size to hold them securely but not too tightly, just below eye level. The shelves themselves feature little restraining bars to hold the towels, lotions and whatnot in place. Canap├ęs
arrive each afternoon in dishes ideal to hold them (and incredibly cute) - plates with depressions to preserve pretty arrangements, small square trays on which rest shrimp or vegetables to dip in creamier offerings contained in little bowls fitted into perfectly-sized porcelain slopes molded right in. Several of the office buildings I've worked in have swayed more than this ship does; in them, I routinely watched coffee slosh in cups, pencils roll back and forth across desks. But aboard ship everything is stabilized. All is spare, uncluttered, and cleverly designed.

Perhaps that's why people find cruises relaxing - and not just people like me who can't stand clutter and disorganization. Maybe even people who have no problem living and operating among disorderly throngs of stuff are soothed by order and
purposefulness, cunning and fitness, in the things around them.

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