Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Formal Night

 ... my cruise clothing coach ...

Wyona’s previous cruises made her more aware of formal night than I, and long before I got on board she was making sure I would be appropriately dressed. She doesn’t pass by a rack of formal wear that has a 75% off sale sign on it.  Before we left on the cruise she had seen that I had dress-up black to wear for the nights when formal dining occurs and even for some nights when we dress up and no one else on the ship does.  The entertainment value of doing dress-ups is high for two little prairie girls who grew up either watering wild crocuses or using her mother’s canning jars to keep car of the frogs she caught in the pond.

Last night, the men were in pleated white shirts, black bow ties, and there were many stylish black suits as well as formal tuxedos on the scene at night.  As well, the ship’s cruise director wore a red sequined suit, something I have only seen on stage before. The women sparkle with rhinestones and glitter.  Even if there were no food involved, it would still be a grand evening, with even the waiters in splendid finery and a piano/string trio playing on the mezzanine of a fine two-story staircase. 

 At 7:45 pm, suddenly the dining room was empty.  “Hey, what are they running off to that we are missing,” I asked. 

“The theatre,” said Wyona.  ”They must be vying for each other for those theatre seats.  Time for us to stop the fine dining and queue up with the rest. ” 

We got our places in row G seats 1, 2 and 3 and settled back for our usual 45 minute nap between a formal supper and the entertainment. 

But there was action 2 rows ahead of us.  The two people on the end of  Row E were leaping up and down, letting people into that row.  Seats were being save – about ten of them, and as couples would come to take them good naturedly, the people on the end would bob up and down.  Now there is a large electronic sign high on both side of the curtain that says in large florescent letters:  out of courtesy to other patrons, the saving of seats is strictly prohibited and not allowed under any circumstances.  The words NOT ALLOWED are in florescent bold as opposed to just florescent.  Still, the seats were being saved in front of us, until someone came marching down the isle with her friend, bobbed past the two on the end, and went to take those seats, since the saving of them is strictly prohibited. 

“These seats are saved,” said the one woman.

“You aren’t allowed to save seats,” said the new comer, pointing high to the sign.

“I am saving them.”

“I am taking them.”  The argument went back and forth, with the woman who had come in to take the seats, finally acquiescing and saying, “I will give you the benefit of the doubt.”  But on the way out, another person in the save-sies group blasted at her, “Well, I am nearly 100 years old.”

“Well, I am too,” said the woman who had been leaving, but now turned back to take that seat again and reiterating, “You can’t save seats.  I am taking these.”

The theatre is broken up into quadrants, waiters going up and down the aisles and delivering pre-theatre drinks and cocktails, which fit nicely into the arms of a person’s chair.  One of the waiters must have alerted one of the Assistant Cruise Directors that there was trouble down in front, for a handsome blonde lad in a tux was down trying to sort out this mess, and shadowing him was the second in command of all of the directors.  “I apologize.  I know we are crowded.  I am so sorry this has happened.  But you can’t save the seat,” said the first assistant director, siding with the women who was taking the seats. 

By now the people on our isle and the isle behind us were taking bets on how the fight ahead of us was going to end, Wyona, turning backward to report to the row behind us, and keeping the people there apprised of all of the initial action that they had been missing. 

The end couple were still bobbing up and down, letting people in and out, for the woman with the courage to take the seat that ought not to have been saved, wasn’t followed by her friend, who slipped quietly back out of the row and away to some other place in the theatre.  But someone else looking for a single slipped was in there, and before we knew it, the woman who had been there for 45 minutes, saving seats for all of her friends hopped out of her seat and huffed off, scattering more scurrilous words along her way as she left.  And all of this going on, dressed as we were in our best formal attire.

I thought the whole event was over and laid my head on the backrest, hoping I could get enough sleep in the next ten minutes to stay awake for the show.   But the man behind us sounded, “Round Two”, at which point we looked down to see that the end couple had bobbed up again, to let an angry husband into the row, who was shouting and looked as though he was ready to knee-cap the woman who had chased his wife out of the auditorium.  Apparently he had arrived back from his stateroom to finish the battled off.  

“I am not afraid of you,” shouted the tiny woman at the large man looming over her, the end couple no longer bobbing  up and down again, but just perched on the end of the seats, knowing that someone else had to come out of the row, though they didn’t know who it would be.

Greg was the happiest of all to see the house lights go down.  “Greg is wanting to give up his seat to anyone, just to have the quarrel over,” Wyona whispered to me. 

And the show? 

Was it good? 

Yes, every bit as good as the pre-show entertainment of the passengers dressed in their formal attire fighting with each other for the best seats in the house.  

The idea of British Comedy -- brought to a new high for me.

1 comment:

  1. That night we had three shows for the price of one. The British do not back down.