Crying Myself to Sleep on the Biggest Cruise Ship Ever

I’ve felt a bit like this guy the last few times I’ve been to in-person academic conferences. I certainly enjoy the panels and the keynotes and seeing the poster presentations, but in between sessions I just drift around and think about what I would be doing right now if I were at home, and missing the big monitor in my study.

Throughout my voyage, my writer friends wrote in to commiserate with me. Sloane Crosley, who once covered a three-day spa mini-cruise for Vogue, tells me she felt “so very alone … I found it very untethering.” Gideon Lewis-Kraus writes in an Instagram comment: “When Gary is done I think it’s time this genre was taken out back and shot.” And he is right. To badly paraphrase Adorno: After this, no more cruise stories. It is unfair to put a thinking person on a cruise ship. Writers typically have difficult childhoods, and it is cruel to remind them of the inherent loneliness that drove them to writing in the first place. It is also unseemly to write about the kind of people who go on cruises. –Gary Shteyngart, The Atlantic

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