13 Janvier 2016, between 9:30-11:00 pm, CST, somewhere in the Western Caribbean near Belize

Tonight was epic. We ate dinner, we got drinks. We went outside to sit and walk along the railing on the promenade deck. We then went inside and happened upon a good piano player / singer playing tunes we could all sing along with. This was great, or so we thought. Then came along eDisharmony Man. 

The evening starts out great. Tunes from the 50s though the 80s rang out, with even a few early 90s thrown in for good measure. The area was still crowded, even though the bar was quiet (Finally) and the show was going on. FoR the older crowd, it was late. For us, it wasn’t. For eDisharmony Man, I think it was late but he was so drunk that he thought it was still 6pm. 

There were a few of us ladies who were singing along with the piano player, lightly adding our voices, especially to the chorus. There were even three people in the back asleep, somehow, through the pounding of the piano and the cacophony of voices surrounding them. I’m still not sure how they slept through us, but they didn’t sleep through him. He ran them off and woke up the one lady who had been sleeping since we arrived. Yes. Sleeping in basically a piano bar. 

I think we were into the songs from the 80s when eDisharmony man showed up. Drink in hand (appearing to be straight whiskey or scotch, I’m not sure which), he called out for some tunes he apparently knew. To appease said man, the piano player played a melody that we all knew. He encouraged us to sing along. This might have been his only real mistake of the evening, other than not telling the waitress to cut off eDisharmony man, who we are going to call “Neal” only because that looks like a good name for him. 

Neal started to sing along. At first, he sounded pretty good. Then he didn’t. Then he really didn’t. Then he kept drinking. Then he decided to sing harmony, in a long note, for every song, even thought he was pretty far off-key. Harmony is usually seen not heard so much, and it stays I the background except in rare instances. It’s sort of the Secret Service of the singer world. You know it’s there. It adds to the melody, but it’s not what 99% of people in their cars sing when they sing along with the radio. Well, Neal must be one of the 1% so to speak. He thought the harmony was really, really important, even though to everyone else it wasn’t necessary. That’s what the piano was for. 

Neal continued to order drinks. This was not good. It was not good for us, for the piano player, or for Neal, I’m sure. He will probably need a liver transplant by morning. I need an ear transplant, that’s for sure. 

The notes that Neal decided to hang on to far too long were off-key not by flat or sharp but by several notes at a time. The other issue was how long he held onto them, like well-worn luggage with a wheel missing and the zipper blown completely out. It’s time to let it go. Neal did not understand this concept. 

I had a partner in crime, a lady sitting across from me who kept bugging her eyes and smiling when Neal would croon up. Neal at least twice put on his readers and went up to the piano, asking if he could sing along with the piano player. Always the consummate host, the piano player obliged. Neal destroyed the song, so much that at one point, it was my husband and I, the sleeping lady, and the piano player stuck alone with Neal after he ran everyone else off. I don’t remember it being karaoke night, my Sweetie said. I was laughing so much, but to be nice, was hiding my face behind the drink menu. As many drinks as Neal was buying, Sweetie and I decided that he might be good sugar daddy if he wasn’t so annoying. Perhaps I could even get over the annoying part if he would buy me free drinks. He had sugar daddy potential written all over him. 

My partner in crime deserted us, rolled her eyes at me and whispered, “Good luck!” before exiting stage right. The piano player even smiled, nearly laughing, before rolling his own eyes at us after the latest Neal sing-along at the piano. No – it wasn’t good enough that we heard him croon from his seat far away. He had to get to the piano and microphone just so we could all hear even better. 

He was married, judging by the titanium ring on his ring finger, left hand. Where Mrs. Neal was, no one really knew. I have no idea how or if he will make it back to his cabin tonight, and part of me wonders if this wasn’t Mrs. Neals’s first rodeo so she just let him be a foolish singer alone, instead of joining in the “fun.”  Either way, I think my ears are bleeding, and I am sure there is going to be a hell of a hangover in Neal’s future. I’m also sure that Hotel California, Bennie and the Jets, and Sweet Child of Mine will all be so cold and empty the next time I hear them on the radio, without having Neal crooning in the background. 

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