Tuesday, September 21, 2010


(Dante:  He Hath Seen Well; Jean Leon Gerome; Artrenewal.com)

Note:  In the original version of Dante's "The Divine Comedy," Dante and Virgil visit the inhabitants of Hell as they wind their way through the nine circles of ever increasing depravity.  My next few blogs will depict the journey of their newest doomed companion - the longest of the long suffering - Bob.

If I'm completely honest about it, I have to admit that Bob's arrival in Norwegian Hell began the night before we arrived in Oslo.

Me being me, I felt duty bound to fully explain my increasing excitement at the thought that I would finally be walking on the same land that my Norwegian grandparents had trod over a century ago.

Our conversation went something like this:

Merry: "Now, honey, you know that I have waited nearly three million years to get to Norway."

Bob: "Yes, dear."

Merry: "And you know that we are going to be in Oslo barely seven hours."

Bob: "Yes, dear."

Merry: I know that you completely understand that our time there will be very precious to me."

Bob: "Yes, dear."

Merry: "I am so afraid that we might miss something very important."

Bob: "Yes, dear."

Merry: "And do you remember how I walked with you all over the beautiful village of Michelfeld, Germany where your grandparents were born?"

Bob: "Yes, dear."

Merry: "I'm going to need that same support from you tomorrow when we visit Oslo."

Bob: "Yes, dear."

Merry: "Basically, it comes down to this: if I ask you to do something in Oslo - even though it may seem ridiculous to you - I will need you to put your ideas and your feelings on the back burner and simply support my Norwegian experience in every way."

Bob: "Yes, dear."

Next, we discussed the setting of the all important alarm clock.

I wanted to see those little black hands land at 5:00 a.m.

Bob held out for 5:30.

We wisely decided to meet in the middle.

The alarm would be set for a sprightly 5:15 a.m.

This would give us enough time to eat breakfast and shower before we stepped off the ship and onto the hollowed ground of Norway in the early morning hours.

Fortunately, I awoke at 5:00 a.m. without the assistance of the pesky alarm.

I am using the word "fortunately" because Bob forgot to actually set the alarm.

I am going to take the high road here and assume that this was an honest mistake on his part.

But if I had decided to take the low road - which is my usual destination of choice - I might have accused him of deliberately trying to sabotage our already skimpy time in Oslo by "accidentally" setting the clock for 5:30.

I watched Bob sleep like a baby for what turned out to be the longest 15 minutes of my life.

Then I boldly startled him out of a deep and restful sleep with these fear-inducing words:

"Honey, it's time to get up!"

Magically, his eyes opened.

He stared at me and asked, "What time is it?"

I smiled at him and said, "It's time to arise and greet the beautiful city of Oslo!"

He stared at me blankly.

Stumbling, we crawled into our clothes and shuffled off to the Horizon Court for breakfast.

We crammed enough food down our gullets to stoke us for the next six millenia.

Then we waddled back to the Baja deck like the over stuffed penguins we eerily resembled and opened the door to our stateroom.

I quickly jumped into the shower stall that was mysteriously growing smaller every day.

I said to myself: "Girl, you have GOT to stop eating those to-die-for pastry swans stuffed with vanilla pudding every time you plop yourself down in the Horizon Court!"

Like that was seriously going to happen.

Minutes later, I clicked the blow dryer into high gear as I said to Bob, "Honey, you have to hurry. I don't want to miss a second of this day!"

From the bowels of the darkened closet I heard these words, "Yes, dear."

The inhabitants of Hell were already grinning.

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