Thursday, September 18, 2008

Feeling old

Generally, I don't feel old. I figure if I can think about the future more than the past, I'm doing OK.

But sometimes....

I just saw a story that the Queen Elizabeth II has arrived in Boston for the final time; later this year she's going to Dubai, where she will be permanently docked and turned into a maritime museum. (A museum of Persian Gulf maritime history? Of the lost glories of British maritime exploits? The story is silent.)

The QEII being taken out of service? I can remember when she was launched. Indeed, I still think of her as the younger sister of the original Queen Elizabeth. When I was a stripling youth, Queen Elizabeth was the largest and most opulent passenger vessel (perhaps the largest vessel) sailing the seas. And she and her sister-ship, Queen Mary, did not wander around on cruises--they ran regular passages, winter and summer, across the North Atlantic. Indeed, in 1952, my Dad crossed from Southampton to New York on Queen Mary. He brought me back a jigsaw puzzle--a wooden jigsaw puzzle--of a painting showing the ship coming out of Southampton in earlier days.

When I was a boy, I thought that the Queens would always sail the seas, that passenger liners would cross the Atlantic forever, and that the world was, more or less, a safe and predictable place. (Or maybe it just seems that way from a distance; I recall being afraid, from time to time, of being incinerated in a nuclear blast.)

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