Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Log flume...heed the signs, you will get drenched


An amusement park, a mystical place that upon entering a grown adult complete with adult responsibilities, a mortgage and a five series Mercedes instantaneously transforms into an eleven year adolescent: remiss of manners, all common sense and maturity. Once a park is entered as a society we don't care how we look, who we offend or what food we eat. Instead we have just one goal to make sure we ride as many rides as possible, no matter what our age. And now as parents we aim to squeeze out as much "fun" as possible out of the $120 bucks it took to enter that front turnstile. Like pre-teens girls running through a Jonas concert, we plow through the crowds, stepping on toes, running into strangers and merely glance at the directional signs as we push our way through winding corrals, mooing like cattle for their morning feed. If we would read the fine print maybe we would see that instead of warnings for pregnant women those signs actually did read: WARNING upon entering this park please keep in mind you are STILL 38 years old even though you THINK you are younger, your equilibrium has shifted therefore you WILL mostly likely get nauseous (even on the merry-go-round), you WILL surely act like an idiot and you WILL embarrass yourself many times over in the next 8 hours. Enjoy your "magical" day).

Now if you travel like us in the summer, the one day you choose to go to the park will be the one day that week it will rain or any afternoon after 3pm also works. Do not be afraid... remember you are now invincible. Outside those golden gates your adult self would take cover and avoid getting wet. Yet inside the illusion set in and you realize that you are not bothered by the rain, you have a plan and those tiny drips may as well be Tinkerbell's fairy dust because dammit, you are not leaving the park, you are not ducking for cover...(enter idiot mentality) and if those pansies ahead of you are going to step out of line to stay dry so be it, that just gets you to your goal, I mean ride, a little quicker. We stand and we push and we stand some more. We "agree" to ride rides with names like the MindEraser (enter nausea here). And of course, I am bored...waiting in line after line, thinking that my time could be better spent sitting in the beer tent making nice with the bartender while the kids wander aimlessly through the park unattended. (Of course that would never happen, as my child is the one with my cell phone number written in ballpoint pen across her forehead). But what's with the kids, what else do they really have to do today? Where do they need to go in such a hurry? At least they have the option to call up one of their "imaginary friends" who do I talk to? So they complain and whine and we smile with fake contentment as we scoot slowly towards the front of the line. We work overly hard to keep the kids busy, our minds off the rain above, off the beer tent across the park and away from the man with a lazy eye in front of us that smells like wet dog and cigarettes and keeps trying to make small talk.

Next up..the log flume. Now this is a line I can stand in. Watching these people is like a double episode of America's Funniest Videos. Have you ever really watched people on a log flume? In Elitch Gardens, Six Flags, the flume is a pretty simple ride it travels up 100 ft and comes crashing down the other side, glides under a bridge and it's over. Three minutes of thrill, 30 seconds of nauseousness and a minute and a half of complete torrancial disaster. You can not believe how drenched these people actually become and when you see their faces, and how horribly disappointed they are when they realize not only that they are wearing jeans but they just spent an hour in line now to walk around in wet underwear AND jeans. And you know nothing quite goes with heel blisters and heartburn than a little butt chafing while standing in line for 8 hours. And it gets even better. Remember that bridge I mentioned, well you have to cross that bridge to exit the ride, but no one realizes it until it's too late. So while Bob and Judy are comparing how wet they are, Judy realizes that she is wearing white shorts and we can see her flowered panties, so she starts to argue with Bob about who is going to run to the car to grab some dry gym clothes...and WHOOSH, they are drenched again crossing the bridge while the next flume travels down in all its tidal wave glory. Here the magic stops. I saw it happen again and again, elated smiles and adolescent faces gone sour, along with the rush of the tidal waves came the mortgage, ruined cell phones and harsh reality. Fortunately I read the sign...WARNING you will get drenched...and we worked the wetness into our day, chaffing included.

Line--ride, line--ride, line-- ride, on and on we go hour after hour and just when you think you there is nothing left to complain about, and you have offered the kids every treat, ride and played every game in the park...they find the one item you have not afforded them. For us it is the cheap-ass stuffed animal made in China that they simply have to have to go along with the small country of stuffed animals shoved under their bed. Oh no, you see it coming and want to stop, you have made it 7hours today without an altercation. I will hold it in, I will hold it in and then finally you EXPLODE. Before you know what has happened you are knee deep into the "you should be grateful speech" while waiting in line for the tilt-a-whirl. You have commandeered the ride operator's microphone because you figure you are doing the other parents a service yelling at their children while yelling at yours. You know the speech, "you should be grateful we brought you here, you should be grateful mommy and daddy work hard so that we can pay for that bucket of popcorn you spilt all over the ground two minutes ago and you should be grateful that we even decided to have kids as we were having a grand time before you poked out your little head and turned our entire world upside down. And if you ask for ONE MORE THING, we are out of here".

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