A Three-Hour Cruise

by Bella Rum

The phone was ringing. I was in the office with an ancient speakerphone that H inherited from AT&T a hundred years ago. It does not have caller ID.

H ~ Answer the phone.

ME ~ It’s probably another one of those political pollsters. They just want to know what I think so they know what to put in their commercial.

H ~ Answer it.

ME ~ Hello.

CALLER ~ This will only take five minutes. These are scary times, and we know you’re tired and concerned about the state of [fill in the blank] but if you would take five minutes to answer a few questions and tell us what you think, we’ll give you a free coastal cruise.

Me ~ Really? A coastal cruise?

H ~ Hang up.

CALLER ~ Yes. A coastal cruise. Just stay on the line after the survey is completed, and you’ll be connected with a travel agent.

H~ Looks extremely skeptical

I listen a little more, and I finally hang up.

ME ~ It was a free coastal cruise!

H ~ Nothing’s free.

He’s right. Nothing is free, but why does he have to be right? I’d like to get a free coastal cruise for answering a couple of questions, questions that don’t have any right or wrong answers. No one has ever valued my opinions enough to give me a free cruise for them. I had visions of tropical waters, sun drenched days and starry nights. H said it was probably a three-hour cruise from Yorktown to Norfolk. He’s probably right about that, too. We’d likely get stranded on an island with¬† a goofy first mate, inept skipper, a left-wing professor and movie star and a couple of right-wing one percenters. What a social nightmare. We wouldn’t fit in anywhere.