The Phlebotomist

This treatise is a prayer:  Spirit, please shift me.  You’ve done it a zillion times before.  So do it again NOW!  Her own personal spirit was in the dumpster and dumpster diving wasn’t her thing.

She sat sunk into the burnt orange circular sofa on deck five across from the bar outside the dining room.  It was seven o’clock in the morning:  One hour until her scheduled final breakfast with the meet up group before de-barking.  (The key word is ‘barking’ –woof woof).  Her attitude was inverted, feeling like molten steel that cooled and hardened in the heart and veins.  Call it ‘Rearden Metal – lighter and tougher than the normal variety.

This was a C R U I S E, damn it!  She was supposed to be light-hearted and joyous, not like some railroad track spiked to timbers!  How could such an exquisite Italian vessel designed with the finest detail, from the finest, brightest minds, be so inane, shake like a level 3 Richter scale earthquake, and have such lousy food?  From the mediocre food at best to the self-centered roommate, to the crowds of exclusive cliques… the trigger on the D90 became ‘best friend’ for 814 images over four days.

The roommate, unknown before the cruise and absolutely forgettable afterward, was 59, a Latina primper who birthed seven children, the last an ‘accident’ ten years ago.  She took one hour in the bathroom in the morning and she took one hour at night before bed, banging and clanging relentlessly, regardless of the hour:  The bathroom was inaccessible during that time.  Then, upon exiting, she would unscrew her little bottle of lotion and bang it, plop-plop-plop against her hand, and spread it on her arms and legs.  Me… ignored, like an invisible fly on the wall of observation.  She flew down from Queens, New York to accompany a couple, reportedly also ‘difficult’.  Not once did she extend any “care to join us” invitations, at any time.  It was all about her, all the time.  Isn’t consistency precious?

As my ragged soul sat on the orange sofa, Source was beseeched to shift the ‘anchored’ mood.  (Digressing for a moment, notice how S H I T and S H I F T have one letter to separate the words).

“Thanks for the zillionth and one time. 

Bring joy and peace where sadness and conflict are. 

Bring a sense of importance where being ignored by the cliques for four days reigned. 

Bring presence and self-acceptance and inclusion, where there was N O N E on the POESIA”.

Finding the blank side of her cabin-charges-bill (the bar keeper could barely understand her English request for a sheet of paper to write on), fetching the Boca Art Museum gift store seven-year-ball-point-pen, the words were ‘spilled guts’ on the green document.  ‘C U R S I V E’ writing never had a more appropriate name!

At five a.m., the Latina’s cell phone started dinging.  It was a different ding than when her children could get through, docked in Key West.  She lay still, as though still asleep.  It went off fifteen minutes later.  Again, not a stir.  “Your phone is ringing”.  “It’s messages coming through”, she exclaimed with her accent from Puerto Rico.  “It’s five o’clock in the morning!”  “S O?!”.  She didn’t add ‘you bitch’, but it was loud and clear.

At six o’clock the phone in the cabin rang with her wake up call, closing down the bathroom for an hour, like clockwork.  Gargling loudly in the shower, cursing (assumed), in Spanish opening/closing bottles.  That was it, being wide-awake at that point.  Falling back to sleep was not an option.  Being raised to be considerate of others first, living four days with a stranger, gifting her the benefit of the doubt was always present as a way of life.  Apparently, not so much with the Latina.  This was HER vacation, away from unemployment and the kids.  Her freedom did not include polite common decency, unless it served her personally.  And her name was not ‘ME-ME-ME.’

As she exited the cabin, “maybe next time you cruise you might consider getting a single cabin, I know I will”.  “That’s YOUR PROBLEM honey!”  Maybe it was my problem.  Rather, SHE was my problem.  A sigh of relief escaped.  The door shut and she was gone.  Not once, when she came in late, when the cabin was dark, did she close a door by turning the doorknob silently.  It was always pulled shut, clicking loudly.  In the afternoon, while obviously napping, she came in and turned on the TV, making it low, as if it wasn’t audible on the other side of the room.  It could be heard through the silicone earplugs necessary to block out her snoring.  Not once was she told WHY they were necessary and it wasn’t volunteered.

In addition to the roommate consternation, the gorgeous Italian Line Ship MSC Poesia, either hit rough seas throughout the trip, or had lousy stabilizers.  Not only did it rock side to side, it thumped and bumped all over the place, making sleeping just about impossible, where out cabin was located.  Heavy winds and sailing in circles to kill time in the short amount of distance cruised, was the culprit, knocking us around.  Standing at the bar, ordering one of the three drinks purchased in four days at sea, the bar appeared to be moving from side to side, like modern constructed skyscrapers would do in an earthquake.  Thinking insanity finally took over my mind, the people standing there confirmed the boat was moving every which way in addition to forward.

As the Latina took her carryon luggage and her chicken-legged body out the door, her imperious final morning behavior was the final straw of this patient, dad would be proud of me, four days.  Wishing she would take her divorced Latina ass and her seven kids and grandchildren back to the state south of Florida (Miami was never declared a state), the circular-not-looking-so-‘burnt’-orange couch was an inviting respite.  Reminiscing the ships higher nature, the awareness, the artistic consciousness responsible for coordinating the material aspects of Divine thought in action, over-took her  dumpster state of mind.  Spirit comes through once more!  The hardened Rearden Metal in her veins began to soften, heat up, and flow again.  Ah!  A heart-core smile and laugh emanates audibly.

By the way, the Latina’s profession?


She draws blood for a living.


© Jacqueline Sacs 2023 All Rights Reserved