Chances are good that Bob Scheer’s closing comment in the seminar on power and government (paraphrasing)–“I don’t think that Ralph was a spoiler in the election, and I think he has every right to run again, but I wish he wouldn’t”–got more applause than the presentation of the Baked Alaska at Thursday’s formal dinner, but the dessert was accompanied by a John Philip Sousa soundtrack and Scheer doesn’t have his own marching band–yet. Maybe next year.

That I missed the seminar on the Supreme Court to attend the ship seminar on How to Fold a Towel in the Shape of an Animal was not a political decision, but merely a function of being a parent.

That someone tripped and almost cracked his head open right before my film screened, felled by a stray button reading ” Healthcare for all” seemed to be some sort of sign.

My last hosted dinner on board was the closest I came to getting someone incensed enough to leave the table in protest, but it almost came to blows when a gentleman at the table suggested that the women, myself included, were backbiting anti-feminists because we weren’t supporting Hillary for president.

It should be noted the ladies all had good reasons: HRC was too centrist for some, one cited her Walmart past, another her financial ties to lobbyists, my suggestion that I was enured of her Nehru jackets really pissed him off, and I thought I might get a rise out of the lady seated next to me, a Kucinich supporter, when I suggested I wouldn’t support a department of Peace unless he appointed a Peace Czar–but then another bottle of pinot came out and we all collectively bemoaned the power grab by the executive branch.

I would like to note that the Nation cruisers are terribly impressive, and I can’t say what the age range was, but there were one or two elder statespeople for sure. The only one mention of a hip replacement the whole week came in a discussion of the Canadian health care system and the long wait time for surgeries. Also, I as let out a stream of expletives and huffed and puffed my way up the climbing wall on my zip line tour, a seventy-something Nationer, who lined up first to zip, then calmly ascended the wall with a lit cigarette in one hand, pausing only to take photos with the other. (It should be noted, though there were numerous younger Nation cruisers with us, none of us showed as much courage or agility).

So many memorable cruisers including: the lady who saw Cindy Sheehan in the news on her first day in Crawford, got in her car, drove down and spent the next month sleeping in a rented van, shuttling Sheehan’s group back and forth from the ditch. The thirty-something employee of DynCorp, one of the largest private military contractors, who has been been raking in the cash teaching English to Iraqis in Bagdad who thought it would be fun to take some of his bonus money and take his best friend on the Nation Cruise.

And where else can you sit down at a table of strangers and have this happen? Lady in Black: “My father was a blacklisted screenwriter in Hollywood”. Lady in Rainbow Colors: “My father was a blacklisted actor in Hollywood!” Maybe this was my favorite exchange. My son and I were standing at the airport counter in Seattle after disembarking trying to get standby tickets for an earlier flight when we were spotted by a couple from the cruise. We all figure out we live in LA, and the guy asks me what I think of our mayor and his affair. I tell him of my complete and utter lack of interest in the whole thing, all I care about are his policies and plans for our city. Guy asks me, Yeah, but aren’t I offended to see an older woman cast aside for a younger woman–what about female solidarity? I really don’t care and I don’t want to know, I said.

A few minutes later, his wife came up to me and said, I told my husband if we get seats before your names are called, we should give them to you and your son, but he has somewhere to be tonight, so good luck! Committed to ideals but flexible enough to be practical–I can appreciate that.