Come sail away

No. You’re not crazy. It was just a little more than a year ago that you read my three-part series bidding bon voyage to the cruise industry. The thing is ships have a funny way of making it back to port, and I have a knack for finding a way to board them.

So, I’ve left the old Alma mater to return to the sea, but not without racking up some pretty awesome memories. Here are just a few:

Filmmaking
Traveled to Nicaragua with this guy and earned the title of producer for his brilliant documentary films. He even let me shoot a little.
IHeartFIU
Attended my first college football game. I spent three quarters of it in the parking lot and the last quarter at Denny’s.
Degree
Received a Master of Arts in Linguistical Fancy. Not only is linguistical not a word, but also my name is spelled wrong. For these, and many other reasons, this diploma is framed on my wall.
Marco Polo
Made it completely acceptable to play a blind-folded game of Marco Polo around the office. Perhaps there was also a secret, after-hours game of Hide’n Seek. Maybe.
Office Glee
Convinced the office to dress up like characters from “Glee.” Although they all claimed to have never watched the show, they individually nailed their parts.

There was the week I spent at band camp, and the April Fool’s video that was pulled off of the interwebs. And, how can I forget the major knee injury I earned while sliding across the student union while dressed as a turkey. There’s so much more, but I won’t bother sharing them. Those memories are the ones I’ll keep in my permanent suitcase, as I’m once again waving to my friends from the bow of a ship.

Music sounds better with all of you

I share a lot. Some may argue too much. From the first time I shaved my legs to my first time. It’s all here. For the world to read.

Sharing my deepest and darkest secrets.

One thing I’m always reluctant to share, however, is the contents of my iTunes. I think it sends a mixed message of who I am. It screams I-menstruated-for-the-first-time-at-Lilith-Fair-while-on-ecstasy.

I have just as many Britney Spears tracks as I do David Guetta. I also have every recording ever made by robe-wearing monks. As a matter of fact, I can probably do an awesome monk mashup of Tibetan and Gregorian chants – and set it to a Spears-Guetta mash of I Wanna Go and I Wanna Go Crazy.

There was a time when I wasn’t embarrassed about my music. I made mix-tapes for everyone I knew. And then, when technology allowed for it, I made mix-CDs and gave them funny names like, “The Best Sex I Never Had,” “Are You Gay?” and “I’m Over It.” For the most part, people enjoyed my tapes and CDs, and I tried very hard to stick with the theme, whether it was Musicals or Smooth Jazz.

But that all changed with the invention of the iPod. Not only did the mix-tape become extinct, but we all started walking around with our entire record collection in our pockets. No longer was I judged solely on my selection of 12 tracks of upbeat dance music. Now when plugging my iPod in the hopes of creating an instant party in a room at the Holiday Inn on the Fourth of July I was exposing every dance track I ever owned.

“Change that!” “Oh my God, what kind of playlist is this?” “You actually paid money for that song?”

Those are actual quotes from people exposed to my, “Party People” playlist. Sure, it leads with I’m too Sexy and winds down with Unexpected Lovers, but that’s the kind party I like to throw. I’m pretty certain the inventors of Pandora experienced this same rejection and therefore thought to create their perfect website that magically plays the music you like. Even giving you an option to never hear a song again, in case I’m too Sexy starts playing unexpectedly.

For years now, I’ve kept my playlists secret. Until recently. When I joined Spotify.

Of course, I was scared at first. I worried what were people going to think about my obsession with Everything But The Girl. But then, something amazing happened. I realized that this website was not about music at all. It’s really about the disposition and intent of the person that created the playlist.

For instance, one of my Spotifriends has a workout mix that lasts nine minutes. And by the looks of the artists, it’s an intense nine minutes. If she was too thin, I’d assume that she works out every hour for nine minutes. I’d also assume she was anorexic and this was her way of crying out to me. If she was fat, I’d assume she used this playlist once a week, warm up for the first five and cool down on the last three minutes. But, she’s neither too thin or fat. She’s just right. Which leads me to believe she’s on some amazing, new fad workout technique that gets you in shape by doing some weird yoga pose for nine minutes a day.

Another Spotter has a 12 minute relaxing mega mix entitled, “I’d like to buy a bowel?” I’m pretty sure it’s a joke. I don’t think anyone really has a playlist to poop to. I really hope it’s a joke.

I’m lying. I hope it’s real.

I want to know these things about all my friends. I want to know all of it. I want to know what songs people listen to. I want to judge. And, I too want to say, “Oh my God, what kind of a playlist is this?” And, I totally want to see the time it takes you to get ready for “Date Night,” or “Night Prowling,” or what you listen to when you’re “Locked up.”

And I don’t care about exposing my playlists anymore. So what if you know I listen to Amy Winehouse while I write. And, yes, my “Writing” mix is exactly an hour. Funny enough, I’m on the next to last song, which means I should be wrapping this up, because as soon as I hear Valerie I know to hit publish. If you want to know what songs I dance to and/or how many minutes my sexy-time playlist is, let me know, I’ll send you an invite for Spotify.

What do oreos and nuns have in common?

Eat me.

I went out on a school night this week. Tuesday, I think it was. Yeah, Tuesday. Because it was the previous Thursday that I swore that I would never drink again. Well, drink between the work week. No, I promised not to drink a lot between the week. I don’t know what I promised, really.

I was making the promise while walking up and down Miracle Mile, in heels, desperately trying to sober up. Or, maybe it was when a group of “out-of-town” guys who had “just come from the ATM,” mistook me for a high-priced escort. Although, by the state of my mascara, they probably thought I was just a ten dollar hooker.

I was serious about this promise. Until my dear friend called me to say hello and I answered, “Tuesday, drinks, perfect.”

When she asked me to pick the place, I used an app on my iPhone and it spit up the name of a bar in the heart of downtown Miami on the corner of Shady Street and Purse-Snatcher Avenue. It sounded like a guaranteed good time.

As soon as the bell rang at work, I headed over to my new favorite bar. I valet’d my car at the crack house down the street and walked toward the bar in with my super-sized Coach purse in my hand and Dolce and Gabana glasses on my face. You know, in case of paparazzi. Because the bar didn’t have a door, I took the opportunity to stand at the doorway and take off my sunglasses in slow motion, you know, like in the movies, I even shook my hair side-to-side. That shit is really hard to do, by the way, at least in slow motion.  

However, instead of hundreds of urbanite hipsters squeezing around, there two guys in ties and an old, married couple. And me. So, I quickly mounted a stool and ordered a beer.

I knew I had to take it slow. There was no way I could walk around this neighborhood if I needed to sober up. At least not without getting attacked by real hooker for trampling on her territory or getting bitch slapped by a pimp for not getting into the backseat of a Pontiac.

That and my friend hadn’t gotten there yet.

There’s nothing more unpleasant than meeting a friend for drinks and finding them drunk without you. I mean, that’s just rude. And there’s no catching up. You can’t possibly catch up to a drunk person. That’s a myth. There I’ve said it. If you get to a place and everyone is drunk already, just turn around and go home. If not, you’ll be called a bore and end up holding someone’s hair while they puke on your sensible work pumps.

 Well, about an hour later, my friend, who had finally arrived, and we were deep in conversation about…office supplies when all of a sudden we were approached by another woman.

“Hi, sorry to bother you,” she said.

As I turned to look at her and tell her it was cool, I recognized her. I mean, I recognized her face. Not having a face recognition app on my phone, I had to search my brain for memories. Scary enough, she knew my full name and I couldn’t even come up with the time period of my life where we might have crossed paths. Immediately I felt panicked. Especially when, trying to jog my memory, she said the phrase, “It was my first time.”

Oh boy, I thought. What did I do now.

Luckily, it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. It was worse.

Apparently, it was the first time she had heard a “religious” talk or testimony. And I was giving it.

I know.

There was a time in my life when, well, I was a practicing Catholic. And, I wanted to be a nun. In full habit. Super nun. I wanted to be Kathy Najimi’s character in Sister Act. I wanted to talk about God and heal the world. I wanted to do good and spread the love. It wasn’t until I realized that what I really wanted to do was make it with Whoopi Goldberg that I dropped the whole nun thing and the whole religion thing for that matter. 

A few friends know about this time in my life, others can’t even conceive it happened. And now, there was this woman. This woman who said, “I remember, in your speech, you said how you were like an Oreo cookie. Hard on the outside and soft on the inside.”

To which I responded, “Jesus Christ! Even back then I wanted people to eat me!”