Security blanket

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Cruise ship at dock

I was returning from a conference on Nietzsche that had been held in Trieste, near the border with Slovenia. The conference was supposed to have been held in Dubrovnik but a Balkan war relocated us. On my way back to the airport in Milan I stopped in Venice, where I spent the night on a cruise ship. The ship was completing a long voyage, and we had a joint family birthday celebration for me and my father, and I danced with my mother.

This was my first experience of a modern cruise ship. It was a shock to step from rumors of war into the ship's protected precincts. That step was not easy to arrange; tight security required many messages and authentications. Once inside that security wall, everything went smoothly. The multitudinous crewfolk were eager to serve (especially at the ubiquitous little bars). Luxury combined indulgence with an obsequiously administered discipline.