Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.

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Safe and Sound and Upside Down

By Milt Abel | February 20, 2012

| February 20, 2012

Safe and Sound and Upside Down

The forest fire was hundreds of miles away but it didn’t stop Perth from being smoked over. It was a testament to the size of Australia, the fire had to be huge, but barely worth mentioning by the news and locals. As our driver transported myself and another act from the airport to the ship, I asked if it was always this smoggy in Perth. She replied casually there was ‘some forest fire’ three hundred miles away, like it was some neighbor burning a pile of leaves. I think we consider Australia to be a mere island, not a continent, and look on it like one of those scaled-persepective maps, so popular in touristy places, where geographic size of other locales are comically rendered in proportion to their importance. Australia was filed away in my mind as something larger and just beyond Catalina; until it took me five hours (just like the U.S.) to fly across it, then it got re-filed.

Especially after the fifteen hour flight from L.A. to Sidney. I was already loopy from that flight before starting yet another long flight across the continent. I joked with the audience on the Crystal Serenity that I was in that airplane seat so long I started getting mail. Before I left for this trip on the Serenity, February 16 through February 26, I was also telling friends that my flying to the ‘far’ side of Australia sounded redundant. It’s not so redundant when you actually do it. Monotonous would be more accurate. In fact, say monotonous for about 20 hours and you’ll get a hint of what it’s like to fly to Perth. The smoke-covered sky was just a bonus texturing.

Crossing the International Dateline was another bit of disorientation. All of us on that Virgin Australia flight from L.A. to Sidney didn’t have a chance to observe February 15th. It was never entered into the books of our lives. One second it was February 14th and a second later it was February 16th. Poof. Gone. Like a forced amnesia. Had there been some incident that called for us all to be grilled by the police on our whereabouts on February 15, we’d all draw a blank and cause the investigators to think something was hinky. “They can’t all have forgotten!”

I’ll cross back on February 26, but you don’t feel like a day is given back. I’ve done it before, flying back, and you feel like the day is too long, but not a return of something taken. I did wonder, in the monotonous hours of flying westward, if I had a five-o’clock shadow as a crossed back, that I would suddenly not need to shave for a whole nother day.

Crystal Cruise Lines has a reputation of being at the very top in experiencing elegance and luxury aboard a ship. It’s quite nice, I’m not going to argue that, but the unlimited free alcohol I’ve enjoyed on some other premiums lines, is conspicuously missing. It wears off after a while, having a beer or two at lunch and cocktails in the evening, you get kind of mildly sick drinking so frequently, but I’d prefer to have the opportunity.

I made a point of packing nicer clothes and getting a haircut before the trip. However I did pack my older suit, the one that has a stitched repair in the right shoulder, for my shows. Onstage you can’t see it, but offstage, at a Captain’s cocktail party, where casual conversation with strangers will look for any thread to hang an exchange on, well then it becomes an issue. I don’t have a tuxedo, so, in an effort to honor the cruise director’s request I attend the formal party, the dark stage suit was my only choice. Seeing the stitching would unquestionably undercut the goal of looking nicely appointed and that I belonged among the monied and nicely dressed. I made a point to keep my right shoulder close to the wall as I circulated around the room. I didn’t stay long, just one quick lap, like a minute-hand running backwards; like maybe I could go back in time and live that lost February 15th; albeit tattered.

Topics: comedy, cruise ship, humor, travel | No Comments »

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