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October 2000 Vol. 26, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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The Survivor Whose Torch Still Flickers

from the October, 2000 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

For a few minutes after we boarded the Antares Dancer, I had the feeling that my torch would be extinguished and I would be voted off the island. What happened was this:

When I booked I was told there were ten guests. Four of the six cabins had been assigned to couples. A single female was booked into the only cabin with bunk beds, and I was booked into the remaining cabin (cabin five), which was more expensive but had twin beds. I booked close to sailing day and was told there was a good chance I would have the cabin to myself. And because Peter Hughes has a policy of “no involuntary assignment of male - female guests to the same cabin,” I figured my odds were even better. When I boarded I noted there were twelve passengers. Cruise Director Juan Carlos took the four couples to their cabins. There were now four of us for the two remaining cabins. I was told that I would be sharing cabin five with Jean Luc, a Frenchman. The two women, Peggy and Francois, were to go to cabin six with the bunk beds. As Juan Carlos showed me my cabin, he started a halting discussion of how nice it would be if Jean Luc and his wife, Francois, could be in the same cabin, how it would be wonderful if I would share the bunk-bed cabin with the other female guest, and how, by the way, Francois wasn’t able to sleep well in a bunk bed. I pointed out that I had booked a cabin with twin beds and also was not keen on sharing a cabin with a female guest. Nor was I happy about the prospect of crawling up and down from the top bunk all week, which is why I had paid for a more expensive cabin with a bed on the floor.

I was feeling pressure to be a nice guy and expected the vote to throw me off the island to be held immediately. I could see my torch starting to flicker. I asked Jean Luc if he had previously known that he and his wife were going to be separated. “Oui,” he answered. They had booked quite close to the sailing date, and he understood that the remaining beds were in separate cabins. At that point, I felt that the pressure was off. If they had gone into this trip knowing the room assignments, there was no need for me to volunteer to move in with a female roomie. The assignments went as planned, and I found Jean Luc most considerate and polite. His wife, on the other hand, did not speak to me for three days. But at least I kept my torch and stayed on the island.

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