The Happiest Place On Earth

Kate and I went to Disneyland again last weekend.  It was the third time we have been down there in the last fourteen months.  I’m not sure where exactly that places us on the creepy chart, but I’d guess it’s pretty high.  Truth is, we’re both total children at heart.  That’s probably one the main reasons we do not yet have any children of our own.  Well, that and the birth-control pills.  We’re kind of Disneyland freaks.  It is, after all, the Happiest Place on Earth.

That being said, Disneyland does give you a large dose of the American public.  Now, I don’t mean public interaction like going to your office for work or getting  coffee at your local Starbucks.  This is a much closer brush with humanity similar to visits to the DMV or the Kaiser Emergency Room.  For the love of God, there are people from West Virginia there, slumping in line behind you.  It’s just this very type of exposure that reminds of two very frightening things.  First, I don’t like people.  I like persons, but I hate people.  People, in general, were a great theory, but something went wrong on the production line.  Second, a direct reaction of the first point, I am completely out of touch with society.  Now, this is not because I’m old or of a different social status than anyone else.   Maybe I’m just bitchy and aloof (thanks UC Davis).  Whatever the cause , I feel I don’t always understand how people in this lovely world work.

Both of these points were pounded into my mind (and my shins) on our first day in Disneyland.  As my wife and I made our way between the Matterhorn and the Alice and Wonderland ride, I turned from admiring the Cheshire Cat sculpture to see a woman on a  Rascal Scooter speeding through the crowd toward us.  As she was consumed with studying the Adventureland portion of her Disney map, she  apparently had forgotten that she was propelling a vehicle through a busy amusement park.  When she finally realized that she was seconds away from cleaving a path through the crowd, she reacted in the only way that her stunned brain could:  she squeezed her fat hand even tighter on the accelerator handle.  The scooter bucked forward.  The  young girl in front of me bounced off of the cart like a shuttlecock in an Olympic badminton match (yep, I just worked in the word shuttlecock).  After that, the scooter slammed into my shins, where I grabbed the handlebars and stared at the woman until she finally let go of the handle.  The young girl planted her face in her mother’s midsection  and sobbed; the driver leaped from her seat to apologize. 

Although I was already in a state of shock, this action stunned me even more.  The woman in the scooter wasn’t handicapped at all, she could walk just like me.  The reason that she was being carted around in a shiny red scooter was because she was mildly obese, and didn’t want to exert the energy it would take to walk around the park on her own volition.  In all intents and purpose, this was a woman who enviously watched the sleepy toddlers being pushed around the park, and decided to get her very own adult-stroller.  I looked around the park, bewildered, to see fat people everywhere, scooting through the crowd in similar contraptions.  They were all around me.  Many of them scooted their mass-mobile up the “disabled” line and rode the attractions without waiting in line.  No doubt most of them had access to park their cars in Goofy Lot’s handicapped parking.  This was so foreign to me.  When did sloth and gluttony become a medical condition.  Giving an obese person a cart so they don’t have to walk anywhere seems like hiring an alcoholic as a bartender (you know,  so he doesn’t have to go ALL the way to the corner store to get his booze).  If there’s anyone who could use a good cardio-inducing stroll, it’s the people navigating those Rascal Scooters.  I’m not quite sure what I would have said to the woman had I not been too stunned to speak.  As it was, I used the fact that she was distracted by the crying shuttlecock, and I limped off to console myself on the Alice In Wonderland ride (not the tea cups, the actual ride.  Those tea cups are ridiculous). 

My second adventure in feeling obscenely alienated occurred in one of our favorite places in the park.  Right smack in the middle of California Adventure, there is a wine-tasting area.  On a warm Anaheim day, there are few things better than retiring to this spot for a refreshing Chardonnay (yeah, that’s right, commence the pot calling the kettle foppish) in the shade, and some world-class people watching.  On our second day in the park, we found ourselves sitting at a table in the shade, sipping our wine and contemplating our newly purchased Mr. Potato Head.  To illustrate to all (none) of you readers just how childish we are, our first two creations were Child Molester Mr. Potato Head (think mustache) and mentally challenged Mr. Potato Head (harder to describe, but he had a balloon).  At this point, we were reminded of the one incredibly sloped downside of this section of the park; the ear-splitting announcement rang out that the High School Musical Parade would be commencing soon.  And, as warned, within moments, my ears were being prison-raped by “Hello Dolly” style songs about puberty and staying away from drugs.  And this is where I’m lost.  How is this cool?  I can understand (maybe) groups of pre-teens enjoying this stuff (hell, I watched Beverly Hills 90210 when I was young, because TV lied to me and told me that high school really was that retarded).  I’m joking, TV has never lied to me, I must have been the one who misunderstood.  But how are actual high school students obsessed with this crap?  Not to compare different generations, but this would never have been cool when I  was young.  When I was in high school, the “theater people” basically kept to themselves, only interacting with the other clan members of their live-action vampire game.   But it’s not just teens that enjoy it.  I know grown men and women who have watched and enjoyed these movies.  People that I know actually DVR episodes of Glee.  Now, I know what some people might say, the same thing people say to me about Avatar: How can you say you don’t like it, if you don’t give it a chance?  (insert mimicking voice here) I have the same answer that I give about Avatar: “I haven’t sat and watched mass-genocide first hand either, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like it just from seeing the previews.

Car!   OK, forgive me while I digress.  I just took a break from writing for a few hours to attend one of my wife’s shows.  It was very odd.  The band that played before her was fun (not good), but they were high energy nonetheless.  Reminiscent of G Love and Special Sauce.  They apparently have a pretty big following in Sacramento, and it was proven well by the full house that was there for the music.  But this crowd was lifeless.  The venue was full of people taking pictures of the band, but no one was even tapping their foot to the music.  It was like free qualude night at the Home For the Really, Really Bored.  Anyway…

Game on!  I’m in no place to judge other people for what they watch.  Shit, I spend half of my life watching hockey and Jeopardy (both Canadia-centric).  All I’m saying is that I feel like I lost touch with the pulse of humanity somewhere.  But I’m OK with that.  After spending last weekend surrounded by all the people that Disneyland had in store for me, I’m 100% OK with being estranged from typical society.


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