ZOOMERS: The joys of cruising along

Death’s antechamber is how one Zoomer described it.

A little harsh, I thought, but I figured I had better check it out and see what all the fuss is about.

A Caribbean cruise, that is.

Everyone is doing it. What once was considered a vacation for the wealthy has evolved into mediocrity for the masses.

A kind of modern-day version of Love Boat, with forced frivolity around every corner.

Friendly Zoomers everywhere. Thousands of them, many with southern accents.

The first couple I met was Dana and Jolene from Arkansas. Jolene was stuck in a time warp with her bleached blonde ponytail, reminiscent of Betty in the Archie comics.

And then there was the attentive policeman from North Carolina who had been shot in the head. Twice divorced at age 44, he was looking for a third wife, he said, as he wants a child. He was determined to spread his male seed. No need to waste your time with me, I am thinking.

Rick from Kansas City is on his honeymoon with his third wife. Invites me to their cabin to meet her. Not tonight, Rick!

And who can forget Jim, the baker and his third wife from Panama City, Fla. He pinched my bottom as I drank at the English pub and offered me all the bagels I could eat should I ever visit Florida. Does that include the cream cheese, Jim?

Tom, a widower from Gulfport, Miss. has reunited with his childhood friend. They are a couple now, and she looks amazing in her bikini.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that about the majority of Americans on the ship. I saw copious amounts of overflowing flesh, defying the frame it was meant to envelop. Massive girths as wide as the Queen Mary.

Obesity rules.

Fat is the new black.

Pot bellies represent the latest in post-modern pulchritrude.

My Rubenesque self felt positively sylph-like sunning by the pool.

Americans love to eat. Just watch them fill up their plates at the buffets. Mounds of carbs in a precarious balancing act.

And what is with those ubiquitous plastic cups everyone walks around with filled with pop or iced tea – the liquid lifeline of the majority. Might be easier to hook them up with a portable IV. I opted for the freshly squeezed orange juice. That will be $4 plus tax, please.

Or you can choose a fancy concoction liberally laced with Jamaican rum. ‘Medication for your vacation’ they call it. With tax and tip, your happiness will cost you well over $10.

Retreating to my cabin, I am comforted by the gentle, rhythmic motion of the ship as it passes through the Gulf of Mexico at a snail’s pace. I will Captain Jack Sparrow to appear for some lively action on the high seas.

And then it hit me. I now know why Zoomers love to cruise.

Earlier, I had met three identically dressed widows from New Orleans who taught me how to line dance. The oldest, 88-year-old Rosemary, and her gal pals, who live on a fixed income, go to the YWCA five times a week, the casino once a month and cruise once a year.

They are not looking for love; rather, they say, exercise and socialization are the secrets to a healthy and happy life. They are enjoying themselves in the sun and are defying the Grim Reaper.

No antechamber required here. Just some friends and a pair of dancing shoes.

April Lewis is the local communications director for CARP, a national group committed to a ‘New Vision of Aging for Canada.’ She writes monthly.

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