Uncommon Ground
Volume 4 Book 3 of
Living in the Bonus Round
(Part 7)

[ Book 4-2 ] --  [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ]  [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
[ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] [ Pt 12 ] [ Pt 13 ] [ Pt 14 ] -- [ Book 4-4 ]

March 20 - 31, 2005.
More Cruise Diary.
Our friend Barney Martin died this week. We had just been talking about him and the, boom, there he is on the news. (He played Seinfeld's dad on the sitcom). Long ago, Jim was in a Raisin Bran commercial with Barney.

That Jim on the far left. Barney is third.

Barney and Jim at Big Voice workshop opening.

Barney Martin was a really nice man. Everyone loved him. He's going to be missed.

Also, the reason this diary is so late is because I've been working on a song. My agent sent me over a script and said, "Write a song for this movie." So I read the script, took some lines of dialogue and themes from it, and turned it into a song. Then I went into my loft and quickly made a demo of it.

All in 48 hours!

Meanwhile, back on the ship...

February 23, 2005.
An Oscar Extravaganza!

It's getting to be Oscar time but the real Oscars won't be available to us here onboard. So, instead, in order to entertain the perpetually bored rich people making this cruise, Jimmy's been busy working with the staff to present a big Oscar show on board complete with parodies and staging and, with the passengers "accepting" the awards, pretending to be the stars. Fun, huh?

The whole ship is getting decorated, Hollywood style.

Louise looks for her star.

We were at sea yesterday and as we venture further north, the hotter and stickier the air gets. I'm still coughing up green gunk so I don't know if the antibiotic I brought with me is doing any good or if all this crap is settling down in to my lungs. (I have this image of me getting off the ship with walking pneumonia.) Unlike the last cruise, where I ended with the flu, I don't feel sick. It seems like everyone is hacking and coughing onboard.

The other morning, I was sitting up in my "office," which is what I call my corner of the breakfast buffet where I set up my laptop every morning when I was approached by a guy. He said, "Is your name Steve?"


"I'm onboard with Bob Gunn."

"You're kidding."

[Bob Gunn is the music director at MCC-LA where Jimmy and I go to church here in Los Angeles. We had to go all the way to Sydney to get to hang out with Bob, someone I've been wanting to get to know better for along time but never do because it's Los Angeles and doing anything in Los Angeles is a big pain in the ass and you'd rather stay home and watch teevee. Kent gives lectures on conflict resolution.]

I remember having seen his bio, but I was so consumed with doing my own thing that I totally missed his presentation, which was in the Avenue Saloon earlier that day.

Kent came over to the "office" -- he gets up early; his Bob and my Jim sleep late, and we get to talking. He mentions that he is a Texan from a very conservative religious denomination. I mention that I'm a Texan from a very conservative religious denomination. We have a very lively conversation about the state of the whole gay versus fundamentalist disagreement. And since he's a scholar at a majorly respected University studying this issue, I had a great time.

Anyway, after meeting at breakfast and playing the movie for him, we all had dinner together. He said, "I went into all my files and I found this letter. It was an apology from a Southern Baptist minister to the gay community, and it was addressed to you. Your name was on it. Now what was this all about?"

"Well," I told him, "it's a long story..."

[I'm sitting at this very moment in the Guest Laundry. I was in here about 5. In cruising the barrier reef all the guest laundry rooms were locked. Water conservation was the word of the day. The bottom of our closet (which is our "dirty clothes area," otherwise they'd be all over the room which they are anyway) was getting quite full. I'm the only one here so far although one lady dashed in around 5:30 and tossed something in the machine. She looked at me and giggled.

"We're the only ones up!" She said.

"Yes," I told her. "I wanted to do ours so that I wouldn't be in anyone's way. Besides, I like waking up early."

She got a big smile on her face and said, conspiratorially, "Me too!"]

Saturday February 26, 2005.
There was a note on our door last night. It said that the entertainment persons were congregating too much in the bistro. That they set up computers, make "offices" and talk about what they're going to present. This kind of work should not be done there and no entertainment personnel should wear cargo pants or cargo shorts.

Since I'm doing all of the above, except in a different room, I neatly concluded that they couldn't be talking about me. After all, I'm not on the entertainment staff. Or are they??

So this morning I'm sitting in the sealed off night club realizing I only have one other pair of slacks with me. Two. One is olive. One is my blue suit pants. I can't wear the blue suit pants during the daytime. They're midnight blue. So that means I have to wear shirts that look really nice with them. How did I not get the fashion gene?

Maybe it's a kind of rebellion. Who knows.

I've been having a lot of fun time with the home movie. It feels like a jigsaw puzzle. Or a quilt! Here on the ship they are creating a quilt celebrating the world cruise. People can contribute ideas. They sew the squares. It's a very nice community project. It was a vivid dark blue washing up into white. I thought about the incredibly brilliant red to white quilt at the hospice in Columbus Ohio.

The home movie is a hoot. "You Mean She's Here?" will thrill absolutely everyone.

Who is in it.

I think a showing is being planned.

Concierge: Sir, those pants you're wearing. Do you really think they're appropriate shipwear?

[ Book 4-2 ] --  [ Pt 1 ] [ Pt 2 ] [ Pt 3 ] [ Pt 4 ]  [ Pt 5 ] [ Pt 6 ] [ Pt 7 ] [ Pt 8 ]
[ Pt 9 ] [ Pt 10 ] [ Pt 11 ] [ Pt 12 ] [ Pt 13 ] [ Pt 14 ] -- [ Book 4-4 ]
© 1996-2005 by Steve Schalchlin.
You have permission to print from this diary and distribute for use in support groups, schools, or to just give to a friend. You do not have permission to sell it.