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••• The International Writers Magazine - Our 20th Year: Life's Little Annoyances at Sea

Cruise LLAs and TGHs
• Martin Green
As we senior citizens know, the older you get the faster time goes by. I thought the year was just getting started and here we are closing in on December.


Worse, it means still another birthday coming up for me, and a big one. More on this (maybe) in future columns but the important thing right now is that I don’t believe I’ve had a full column on LLAs (Life’s Little Annoyances) and TGHs (Things Guaranteed to Happen, usually bad) all year. Unfortunately, Beverly and I recently chose to go on a cruise and, although I’ve written favorably about cruising before, cruises also come with a full load of guaranteed LLAs and TGHs, especially for us oldsters. So here goes.

The first LLA occurred even before we got to our ship; on the drive down to San Francisco we ran into a monumental traffic jam. We’d ordinarily have arrived at around eleven but didn’t get to the ship until one. We’d long before requested wheelchairs, but, no, no wheelchairs. They finally produced one for Beverly and then, after a wait, for me. An LLA. Then on board we had to change to another pair of wheelchairs, more delay. Another LLA. We’d long before requested twin beds. When we finally got to our cabin, pardon me, state room, no twin beds. Later that afternoon when we returned to our room they were in the process of converting to twin beds so we had to go somewhere and kill time. Still another LLA. We got back to our room and, more LLAs, no bar by the toilet but a high step to get into (and out of) the bathroom. Plus, the cabin door weighed a ton so it was a major project to go in and out. To cap off this first cruise day we ventured to go to the night’s show, where the cruise director as always told us what a great time we’d have and then introduced a so-called comedian who’d give us a sample of his show. After five minutes of potty “jokes” we left. At least we were forewarned not to go to the complete show.

I won’t go into a day-by-day account of the remainder of the cruise, but the LLAs and TGHs kept coming. As I’ve written here before more than once the ship’s elevators are a continuing LLA. On land, elevators pretty generally go up and down and you have no trouble getting them. On a cruise ship, the elevators are always going in the wrong direction, If, for example, you’re trying to go up from your room to the buffet on the 14th floor (deck), all of the elevators will be going down. If you’re trying to go down to the dining room all of the elevators will be going up. Finally, in desperation you’ll get on any elevator no matter what and hope to eventually get to your destination.

On our second day we eventually got down to the “internet café” since, our cruise line, unlike some others, we were told, did not provide free WiFi. An LLA. They did allow us a chintzy 150 minutes for the week. So we had to find a time when the one or two persons available at the internet café to connect your Pad or Phone to the ship’s WiFi were there. This of course meant a wait when you’d rather be doing something else. Another LLA. What made things even worse is that whoever did Beverly’s iPad neglected to tell her how to disconnect it so she lost almost all of her minutes.

Then there was the matter of getting off the ship to go ashore at one of its stops. In our younger days it didn’t matter so much where the ship docked; we’d just walk to wherever we wanted to go. Now that we are hobbling along it is important to know if there’s someplace close we can get to. At each of our ports we asked for information at the so-called information desk and nobody knew anything. By this time, I figured this was a TGH. The one time we did venture off the ship, aside from the first stop where we had a tour booked, it was docked in downtown Vancouver. This sounded OK but what nobody told us is that it’s miles to even walk through the pier building to get outside. About halfway through somebody told us there was nothing too interesting outside so we turned back to the ship. Another LLA and probably a TGH.

Possibly the worst LLA/TGH came on our last cruise day when we were due to disembark. We were told to report to a certain area by 9 AM to get off in wheelchairs.. We dutifully did so, arriving even before 9, and watched various other passengers being wheeled off while we tried to ask staff when we were getting off and being ignored. Finally, Beverly cornered someone, told him we had to be on a bus, and we were able to get out. Sure enough, we’d missed our bus, but fortunately we had seats reserved for us on a later bus. If not for Beverly’s insistence we’d probably still be on the ship and off on another cruise with more LLAs and TGHs.

If readers get the idea that this cruise was not ideal they would be right. I may possibly write something more about the cruise if I can bring myself to do it, and maybe there were some good things about it if I can think of them. Meanwhile, I’ve fulfilled my intention of doing a full column on LLAs and TGHs. Now on to that fateful birthday. Tune in next month.

© Martin Green 11.5.19

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