As Ian and I prepare to go on a cruise (Alaska, ho!) in a couple of weeks, my mind drifts back to the last cruise I took, In 2000, the company I worked for at the time gave employees a cruise in the Bahamas as part of an end-of-year bonus. This is the point in the story where people ask me why I ever stopped working for the company. The cruise was a very nice perk, of course, but I had my reasons for leaving, the soul-crushing commute being top among them. But I digress.
We spent the first day of the cruise…well, cruising…at sea. Ian and I headed up to one of the pools with hopes of making our Chicago January skin slightly less pasty as well as upping our cholecalciferol production (actually, not really, I was wearing 4-digit spf like all good redheads). I settled back into a deck chair. After just a few moments of relaxing, I shifted positions, apparently more violently than I realized, and heard/felt a snap. The plastic clasp on the back of my swimsuit top had broken. Thankfully, I was able to reach back and grab it, so as not to expose myself and make a bunch of new very good friends. As we headed back to our stateroom, I grumbled. I was going to have to shop for a swimsuit, which I find about as pleasant as getting a bikini wax, except that, with swimsuit shopping, the agony is more prolonged. Not only that, but I was probably going to have to spend a mint to buy a swimsuit on board the ship. Perhaps I should have known better than to pack a single swimsuit for a Caribbean cruise. That’s a mistake I won’t make again.
I changed in my stateroom and set off to find a new suit. I perused the shops on the ship, thinking that this was not only going to be expensive, but I probably wouldn’t even find anything very cute. What I discovered was, if not worse, certainly more perplexing–there was not a single non-child-size swimsuit for sale on board the ship.
How is this possible? They have you captive on a ship that has multiple pools on it and is headed to Caribbean beaches, and they don’t sell swimsuits? How much money could they make from people who either lost some luggage or forgot to pack a swimsuit. Are they crazy?
I knew I could probably find an acceptable swimsuit on one of the islands, but it actually never came to that. I was browsing through the sundries shop looking for something that I could possibly use to fix my swimsuit, and I found the answer: black shoelaces. I could no longer get into my swimsuit on my own, but with the black shoelaces threaded through the back of the suit, it could be tied shut. Of course, before the shoelaces could be threaded through, I had the arduous task of removing the remainder of the broken clasp from the suit, which was accomplished as Ian and I took turns hitting it repeatedly with whatever heavy objects we could find in our stateroom. How the thing broke while I was just sitting there, I’ll never know. But anyhow, all’s well that ends well. In the end, shoelaces, some elbow grease, and a little creativity saved the day!