One day we had a Greek tour group on the boat. Most of them were very nice, though several had bottles of liquor in their packs. However, that wasn't a problem because their guide had informed them they were not to drink it on the boat, and they were fine with that. (Also, most of them loved me because when I was going around after meal service to collect their trash, I said "thank you" in Greek...they got so excited and talked to me in Greek the rest of the day. Never mind that "thank you" was the only thing I knew how to say.)
Anyway, as crew on these boats, we spread ourselves out a little bit. Usually, we'll have someone upstairs, someone downstairs watching the galley, and someone on deck. I was downstairs when Debbie came down and asked if I would mind taking upstairs for a while, because there was a woman up there who was getting on her nerves. She said I'd know which woman, because she was wearing a puffy sweater with poodles on it, and a "foofy bow" on her head.
The upper deck had a quite a few people on it, but I had no problem picking this woman out. She was indeed wearing a poofy sweater and a foofy bow on her extremely short platinum hair (and I mean, this bow was HUGE, like something Shirley Temple might wear, sitting directly on top of her head. This woman was like 40, at least.) She was with the tour group, and as far as I could tell didn't speak any English. Somehow I thought that she was the type of person who wouldn't speak English to us even if she DID know it...I just got that vibe. She spent most of her time on the very back deck, smoking. We have designated smoking areas with ashtrays on the walls for people to deposit their butts.
Foofy Bow Lady was on the trip with her mother, who looked to be at least 85. The old lady was just about the sweetest thing I've ever seen, sitting on a bench and staring serenely across the water. She caught my eye and smiled, and I smiled back...then was startled due to Foofy Bow Lady suddenly appearing beside her mother. Due to the number of people on deck, all of the seats were taken. This woman yelled at her mother in Greek, and the mom got up and moved to the railing, and her daughter sat down on the bench in her place. Some older guy gave the daughter a dirty look and got up and gave HIS seat to the old lady, who smiled serenely and sat back down.
One of our jobs was to take pictures of people if they want. Foofy Bow Lady must have had me take 20 pictures of her in a period of half an hour. If she saw a bit of scenery she liked, she would hand me her camera and go pose in front of it like a pinup model. Totally hamming it up. And we're not talking JUST a glacier in the background, or a craggy cliff...if there was an eagle in a tree, she wanted a picture of it with her in the foreground. Sea lion on a beach, Foofy Bow Lady in front of it. Of all the pictures she had me take, only one was of her mother, and of course Foofy Bow Lady was in that one as well.
At one point, she was standing by the ashtray, smoking away and chatting with some other women from the tour, and the sea lion haulout was coming up on our right. Most of the people were leaning over the sides of the boat a little, taking pictures, but Foofy Bow Lady and her buddies just stood there ignoring everyone. That was fine, maybe they hadn't noticed. As a crew member, it was my job to point out attractions to people who may have missed them, so I told them, "If you'd like to see some sea lions, ladies, they're right over there," and I gestured toward the beach. These women seriously sneered at me, I mean gave me horribly dirty looks, so I kinda smiled and backed off. I figured that meant they weren't interested in sea lions.
As soon as the animals came into view from where the ladies were standing, however, they scrambled. One of them suddenly pointed and said, "OOOOH!" and they all looked, and started snubbing out their cigarettes in the ashtray...not so Foofy Bow Lady. She saw the sea lions, ran to the opposite side of the boat and threw her cigarette butt in the water, then grabbed her camera and seriously elbowed her mother aside. Then of course, she wanted a picture. Of herself, with the sea lions in the background. The way I was forced to shoot these pictures pretty much guaranteed that any sea lions in the pictures would look like tiny brown maggots in the background.
x-posted to customers_suck