For the first time, EVER, we took a cruise. Yes, on a boat! We sailed off, into the sunset, away from the problems of the world. We were as careless as a crow playing in the wind. No cellphones, no work, and no children. Well, almost no children.
Just three of us went, Wife, #9, and myself. We embarked on a kind of retreat / writing workshop, held by the Writing Excuses crew. We expected to get some much needed quiet time, as well as make some new friends. What we did not expect was for #9 to actively catch every eye on the boat. The little flirt.
Our little red-head attracted new friends like moths to a flame. He squawked and babbled, swiveling his head around to find someone watching him. And once he spotted them, he gave a toothy grin before feigning shyness… clearly an irresistible move he had practiced extensively.
Early in the voyage, we bumped into the author Daniel Jose’ Older and his lovely Wife. #9 jumped right into his routine. From his stroller, he reached and babbled. He swiftly exhibited his cuteness, and kept all his fouler qualities hidden… and yes, he does have them.
He reeled Daniel to him like a fish on the hook. Daniel knelt at #9’s level, and the two had a discussion about why #9 had too much hair, and Daniel had none.
Daniel’s wife, Nas, joined right in with a grin so wide that her face could hardly contain it. Though, I am not sure whether she had more fun playing with our baby, or watching her husband.
#9 looked from his new playmates to his parents, as if to say, “Come on. I have their attention. You take it from here.” In that way, we made our new friends.
With #9 at hand (the people magnet) we became social with people who we most likely would have been too nervous to introduce ourselves to. We talked with Brandon Sanderson, as well as had great conversations with his wife, Emily. We had drinks with Mary Robinette Kowal. We hung out with Dan Wells and played board games with him later.
But the published authors were not the only people #9 introduced us to. No, there were so many other nice people we talked with, and too many to name individually. Our baby pulled them in like a rising tide, and kept them within his harbor. Wife and I could take them ashore from there. And so, we met people from all around the world. We now have friends in Australia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, England, as well as from one side of the US to the other.
I had been unsure about how well the cruise would work out with a nine month-old under my arm. Even though he has a pleasant disposition, we were not certain whether he would comfortably slide into the Caribbean experience, or spring out hissing like a cat from a bathtub. Happily, we discovered that he was quite comfortable, as well as THE BEST ICE-BREAKER EVER.