May 27th, 2013

piranha - envy but for the lashes.

Alaska Cruise: Day Eight

So far, I’ve not had terribly good fortune on sea days. On the way up to Alaska, we went through a storm and I was sick the entire time. On the way back down to San Francisco..?

Well, today was mildly entertaining. There was an art auction, which I had hoped would be full of bidding war drama. I came and grabbed a seat early – although not early enough, because the seats close to the front were taken. That was OK, though – no one was blocking my view for much of the afternoon.

So the way that art auctions work on a cruise ship is that people nominate paintings that they’d like to bid on in the days leading up to the auction. On auction day, all these paintings are hauled to one of the lounges and people must once again indicate that they would like to see the painting go to auction. Based on this feedback, the auctioneer/ship art dealer lines several items up and lets people tell him which one to put up for auction.
Once an item is on the auction block, the dealer announces what the opening bid will be. Someone bids.
And that’s about it, really. I don’t think there was more than one or two auctions in which a second bidder challenged the claim of the first one.
Thus, instead of being a dramatic battle between two forceful personalities, I was essentially watching people buy art. Not even art, sometimes! One guy sitting a few seats down from me must have bought five or six random autographed photos of sports stars – he and his wife (?) were the big spenders of the day, also picking up several Thomas Kinkades and a few other paintings.

The plethora of Kinkade prints – not paintings, but prints - might explain the sleepiness of today’s auctions, but these were by far the most popular pieces available.

If I were a woman of means, I might have been tempted to buy one of the original Erte sketches available, but unfortunately my pockets don’t run deep enough. But it was hard to get excited over prints that ran in editions of hundreds or thousands, because I just kept imagining the same image scattered throughout the Princess fleets and it seemed much less precious. So I didn’t spend a cent.

The funny thing was that at the end of the auction, there was a raffle for a free print. They had four prints to choose from: some abstracted sailboats, an Impressionistic lily, and two unimpressive abstract expressionist-like pieces. The minute I saw the prints, and realized I wanted absolutely none of them, I had a prickling at the base of my neck. I knew that I would win one of these tedious prints. Lo and behold, the auctioneer drew my name, and though I smiled and tried to act girlishly excited, in my heart I was the most ungrateful winner Princess has ever seen. As I waited to fill out the paperwork to claim the print, I decided I’d take the Impressionistic flower and make a gift of the print for my mom, who likes that sort of thing.