Sunday, January 11, 2015

Also, France.

I haven't blogged about what's been going down in France because, here, it doesn't exist.

I mean, sure, we get a little four page newspaper summary every night (of which one page is actually news, and all of it is about 24 hours late), and, depending on the seas and our location, we have television access to some of the 24-hour news channels, but, by and large, the real world doesn't exist.

Which is really weird.  I imagine that if I was at home, this would be the Number One topic at lunch for days on end; there would be that somewhat numb feeling that comes when there is a horrific terrorist attack somewhere in the world -- and you sort of have to recalibrate your default settings of general safety and understanding of the level of shitty behavior of which our fellow human beings are actually capable; some cautious optimism for any good that might come out of all of the coming together that we've been seeing; and some general pessimism for how someone, somewhere will very likely turn the coming together into a justification for something hateful, and we'll all return to our partisan corners and maybe nothing good at all will come out of something legitimately horrible.

But the weirdness, the utter weirdness of being on a Caribbean cruise when something like this is going down is that there is, by and large, a general unspoken consensus that we're here to ESCAPE the real world, and nobody is going to really BRING THIS UP, unless it is to just generally make sympathetic noises about how (obviously) the attacks suck.  And while I could understand this happening on the ship, where everyone is presumably on vacation, the whole conspiracy of silence seems to be going down in our destinations as well.  (Even St. Barts, which is, as previously mentioned, French.)  Now, I don't know if after the last cruise ship of the day leaves, everyone gathers in the local watering hole and has the conversations I would be having if I was at home.  I mean, perhaps they think the tourists (on whose dollars a lot of them really depend) aren't going to spend money if they're thinking about the real world, so it will just be Happy Party Rum Times on the islands until the tourists pack up and go.  But there is definitely a disconnect between a happy island escape and the world we all know we can't really escape FROM.  But we keep proceeding in our reality-free vacation, even though each and every one of knows reality is actually out there.

So, yeah, it's still snorkelling, and shuffleboard, and bingo, and shopping, and team trivia, and casino games, and no "Je Suis Charlie" anywhere, and no raising our voices against extremists, and no acknowledgement at all of the extraordinary events going on in the world.

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