Sunday, May 31, 2009

Norwegian Dancer Light on His Feet — and Work Ethic

My favorite part of cruising starts every evening about 10 p.m. when the curtain goes up on the live entertainment stage. OK, the dude that played the bells that first night was a bit boring after one number.

Correction. Make that very boring. We walked out along after 15 minutes of politely trying to care.

But I was glued to my seat during the musical nights when the singers and dancers put on an hour of high action and talent for us. I tend to pick seats close to the stage (the better to try to rip off an illegal photo with the Nikon hidden in my purse), so after three separate performances, it’s no surprise I became familiar with their faces.

Which is how I recognized the lanky European dancer working the breakfast buffet on our fourth morning of the cruise. I know these employees often do more than one job on a large ship, but typically the entertainers double as … well, someone entertaining. A tour conductor, the gal selling you Bingo tickets in the casino, etc. I’ve never seen one busted down to busboy duty.

Technically, I still haven’t. This kid kept my attention at first because he was a bit bow-legged and walked very oddly for someone with such a flexibility on stage. Second, he was so skinny, I couldn’t help but wonder how he kept those pants up around his hips. And in the midst of all this pondering, it came to my attention I never actually saw him pick up a dirty dish.

Whenever a family would abandon its table, Mr. Teenage Dancer subtly wandered down to the next section of the dining room, carefully looking in the opposite direction of the dishes with their scrambled egg remains. At one point, the table right under his nose became empty. He stood there staring at it for a second, glanced around to see who was watching, and sauntered away. A few minutes later, two regular Joes showed up and bussed the table for the next diners.

Ron and I sat there for a good half hour, specifically to laugh at this performance. We never saw him do a lick of work, unless you count trying to flirt with one of the girls. “If he keeps it up, that boy’s going to get his ass kicked from the rest of the dining crew,” my husband predicted.

We couldn’t stay long enough to see the end of that number, but he didn’t look anally challenged on stage that night, so I’m assuming he managed to dance past the consequences another day.

If anyone plans to take the Gem’s Mediterranean cruise this summer, email me. Not only can I get you a great deal, but I’ll point out this guy so you, too, can watch the side show.

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