Husband and I returned last week from a Celebrity cruise to the Caribbean, and while we were flying home to JFK on JetBlue, Husband glanced over at me with a strange look that wouldn’t be explained until the next day. Seems while I was watching Law & Order on the inflight TV, he was viewing the news. So he knew about the Costa Concordia running aground and tipping over with 4,200 people onboard a day before I did. Which explains the evasive smile and shoulder shrug on JetBlue when I asked him what he was watching. What he didn’t want to watch was me go berserk in midair over a disaster that he knew I would see us narrowly avoiding by being on a different ship. Such is the intimate knowledge marriage bestows regarding a spouse’s neuroses.
True, I tell people I’m not afraid of flying, just of crashing. On the other hand, I’ve never had the slightest fear of getting on a floating city that will be miles from land for days on end. Far from feeling trapped, I always find it liberating. I’ve even told others who express uncertainty about cruising that it’s as safe as checking into any luxury hotel. Provided that the hotel’s captain is not a lying coward willing to sacrifice humanity to save his pitiful ass. America has Bernie Madoff, and now Italy has Francesco Schettino.
In case you’ve been on an intergalactic cruise and aren’t aware of this current event, the Costa Concordia is sinking into the Tyrrhenian Sea off the coast of Giglio even as we speak. More bodies are being found daily by rescue crews risking their lives to find the victims of Captain Schettino’s criminal negligence. Schettino made the decision on Friday to sail too close to the coastline in order to make a grand showing of the towering vessel under his command. In so doing, he caused the gigantic liner to be gouged by an underwater rock formation, flooding the ship and requiring an immediate evacuation which he didn’t stick around to oversee. Description of the captain’s actions almost defy believability, so here is the actual transcript between the Coast Guard and the commander of the Costa Concordia.
The day following the disaster, one New York paper ran a headline above the captain’s picture proclaiming, “Chicken of the Sea!” In Italy, people are already sporting T-shirts emblazoned, “Get Back On Board, Dammit!” For the loved ones of the twelve confirmed dead and the 20 still missing, the time for jokes will never come. My heart aches for them and their families. The disgraced Schettino, currently under house arrest, has added insult to injury by saying he never intended to leave the ship; he just fell overboard and landed in a lifeboat. How do you say as if in Italian?
Husband and I took a Costa cruise several years ago and our trip was the subject of a blog entry written shortly afterward entitled Talk Amongst Yourselves. It was a humorous look at being onboard a ship where almost no English was spoken. I said to Husband at the time that if the ship was going down, we’d be the last to find out. On the doomed Concordia, speaking English was only a minor handicap. The main one was putting faith in a captain with no honor.
Daughter’s Featured Fotos survey the Surroundings on Land