Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Go For A Ride?


They set up a traveling amusement park on the waterfront for the Rose Festival season. After it's broken down and packed away, the city crews have to spend several months trying to resuscitate the turf, but this is considered a worthwhile public expense for the peace of mind of having had all those scary teenagers and smelly people penned inside a cyclone fence for a few weeks. We walked by it the other day. Dave looked wistfully at The Big Sling. It's an expensive ride for a two-minute thrill but it's probably quite the thrill. It's the one where they slingshot you straight up into the stratosphere at three times the speed of projectile vomiting. I'd try it with Dave but I have an aversion to sustained really loud noises, and it doesn't help if they're coming from me. I still don't like them.

When I think about it, I can't remember a single time I have been flooded with adrenaline that I enjoyed.  I don't even like to be dampened with adrenaline. Every last experience from singing solo to being followed in a dark alley to roller coasters has been a horror. But Dave has recently expressed an interest in doing an amusement-park tour in California. In fact, he wants to go to Disneyland.

Already there's a little adrenaline spike involved here. Disney was not allowed in our home when I was growing up. My father had a thing about Walt Disney and when the Wonderful World of Disney came on the TV, even though it was in living color, not that that mattered on our TV, we couldn't watch it. I didn't know why at the time, but as an adult I read that old Waltster was appearing before the House Un-American Activities Committee, calling out people for being Communists, and that, right there, would have been enough to keep Mickey Mouse out of our house. As far as I knew, our television didn't even work on Sunday nights until Ed Sullivan came on. Ratting on people to Joe McCarthy? For an unrepentant liberal man raising a family, that was plenty enough to get you the boot. No Disney; No Mission Impossible (covert interference in other country's affairs is repugnant); no Hogan's Heroes (Nazis aren't funny). So even though Daddy has been dead for 35 years, there's a little illicit thrill to be had by even thinking of going to the Happiest Place On Earth.

But that's enough thrill for me. Dave likes the kind of rides that get your viscera going hard in one direction, and their contents in another altogether. The kind that repeatedly lead you to believe YOU'RE ABOUT TO DIE but ha ha! you don't. Does the Little Mermaid run a waterboarding concession? I'm not interested, so Dave thinks I'll be a sorry amusement-park companion for him. I don't see why he can't flip  himself silly on the Diarrheaton while I cling carefully to the edge of a slowly-spinning teacup, and we go have a beer afterwards and compare notes. But evidently there is great joy to be had in terrifying me right out of clean underpants, and I would be denying him that joy. "Just try it," he's going to wheedle, for hours, and eventually I will cave, and I will hate every blasted second of it, and he will be unable to stop smiling.

Meanwhile Disney has just hit the news by firing a bunch of their higher-tech employees. They were eased out as a squadron of workers from India was eased in, under a government program that awards visas to foreigners that are more skilled than our own workforce. Of course, the replaced workers had to spend three months training their replacements to make sure they could do their jobs at least as well, so there's some question about whether their skills were really lacking, but my goodness, the immigrants work a lot cheaper, and it turns out you can put a price tag on that.

"I guess your dad was right," Dave said, after I showed him the article. We're liberals too, so we'll probably have to settle for the second happiest place on earth. As long as it has a roller coaster, please sweet Jesus a teacup ride, and beer, we'll make do.

43 comments:

  1. The urge to indulge in dangerous activities is basically a male trait, found in many species. The evolutionary basis of it is a bit convoluted, but it boils down to displaying genetic fitness by showing that one is so tough as to be un-intimidated by danger. (The habit also eliminates those who aren't actually that tough from the gene pool.) None of this operates on a conscious level, of course. As with many of our urges, this one survives into the modern world even though it's no longer relevant to reproductive success in our current environment, and is responsible for an enormous amount of stupid behavior by frat boys, among others.

    Your early home environment just illustrates the self-defeating effect of prohibiting things. Anything, even Disney, can be thus imbued with the thrill of the forbidden for a lifetime.

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    1. Ah, but I'm not GOING. Daddy's voice is still really loud in my head. I will admit my early childhood strictures, like my really early curfew, did probably contribute to me going a little nuts in college, and not in a good way.

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  2. If you are unable to stand your ground, and Dave manages to get you up on one of those vomit-inducing rides, might I make a suggestion as to how to ensure he never asks you again? When you have to vomit (and you inevitably will), make certain that he "just happens" to be standing exactly between you and any receptacle that you could retch into. Oh, and eat something really colorful first. Beets are good. A really smelly cheese might work, too. Hmmm... maybe you had a craving for a roasted beet salad with feta cheese before the amusement park....

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    1. Did I mention I'm also really scared of retching?

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  3. Beets are good. A really smelly cheese might work, too. Hmmm...a roasted beet salad with feta cheese

    That should enable her to proceed directly to the vomiting without needing the amusement park in between.

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    1. Beets are another thing Dave wheedles me into trying.

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    2. Roasted beets are awesome! Don't let the boiled beets our mothers used to serve prejudice you against them. I, too, was leery of them until a restaurant we go to gave us a roasted beet salad as a "freebie" after they were taking pictures of it for their website. I was hooked ever since.

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    3. They're Oh Kay. Lots better than Mom's boiled beets all right. But I like my roasted vegetables a little less sweet. Brussels sprouts!

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    4. Oooh, yeah, Brussels sprouts tossed in olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan, and capers. Until they have crispy edges. "So perky!"

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    5. Had not even contemplated the capers. Hmm.

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  4. I am so like you. My Son-in-law is addicted to a list of roller coasters that can give you brain embolisms. Why do people want to do this to themselves. Us oldsters have to cherish what little brain we have left.

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    1. I can feel mine rattling sometimes. I need to pad it with beer.

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  5. I've never been to Disneyland. Grew up where we had the Western Washington Fair, better known as The Puyallup Fair, where we even got out of school to go for half a day. No, really. I used to love to scare myself to death on the roller coaster. Now the thought of the ferris wheel gives me the heebies and the jeebies.

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    1. Your parents let you go out of school, or the school let everyone out? Wow. Our local amusement park in Virginia had a big roller coaster (white) and a baby roller coaster (pink). I think I could do the baby one now.

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  6. My daughter just had brain surgery to remove a benign acoustic tumor. There is a list of things she should never do again in order to protect her brain and hearing. The dr. forgot roller coasters, but I did not. It's on Mom's list of no-can-dos.

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    1. Oh dear. But what if the doc knocked the sense out of her, too?

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  7. I hate Disneyworld. Now you have given me more
    ammunition. Still, I have to suck it up for the sake of my wife an unrepentant DisneyOfile.

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    1. I am not even sure I can forgive them for all the princesses. What is with all the princesses? Why are HALF OUR CHILDREN swathed in PINK?

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    2. Probably the kids demand it. I remember from the time my grand daughter was 18 months old she was in love with anything pink and sparkly, especially if she could twirl in it like a fairy ballerina.

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  8. And Holy Cow...how much money can a multi-billion dollar corporation save by replacing their workers with immigrants with an accent that most people can't understand for the sake of worse customer service? Maybe .00000001% of expenses? Very stupid public relations move in my opinion especially for a company where image is so important.

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    1. I can't remember if they were in the customer service end of things. I don't think so. Something a little techy, though.

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    2. "an accent that most people can't understand"

      Thank you. Sometimes I think that I'm the only person who has trouble understanding heavy accents. I usually grow tired of repetitively saying "what was that now?" and either: a) hang up and try again, hoping to get someone without an accent, or, b) hand the phone to my husband, because he seems to have a better ear for these things.

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    3. I once spent every non-working hour for a MONTH on the phone to India ("Hello! This is Victoria") trying to get my ISP to work. Unsuccessfully. When I signed on with a local company, an outfit that to this day answers the phone on the first ringy-dingy, and they got me on line again, I burst into tears. A month of tears. They can't get me as fast as cable, but I'm still with them.

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    4. I can't understand strong accents OR what they're trying to tell me. So.

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  9. Second happiest place on earth? Try Knott's Berry Farm. They do have roller coasters but they also have awesome fried chicken. However, do not go in November or October because they turn it into Knott's Scarey Farm and lots of people get paid to make you soil your shorts in fear. There is one guy who takes a run and throws himself into a slide on his knees just as he gets near you. And he screams. They have zombies all over, and people who leap out of dark alleys and grab you. And creepy stuff.

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    1. Have I ever told you Dave sneaks up on me at least once a day to make me scream? He thinks it's good for my heart. I think I'm just running through my allotted heartbeats faster.

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  10. Disney has been off my list for some years. The franchise just gets weirder and weirder. Didn't know about the McCarthy connection, but with all I've read more recently of old Walt, I'm not surprised. Just saddened. I guess getting people placed on black lists is one way to eliminate your competition.

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  11. I'm completely puke phobic, so I can't do anything that goes round and round, or even back and forth. But I do like old-fashioned rollercoasters - the kind that don't involve being upside down at any point. Or doing any loopy things of any sort. GAG!

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    1. I've heard from some people that the old-fashioned roller coasters are still the best, and the high-tech ones that go in loops and whatnot are less so. I would be willing to try a baby version of one.

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  12. Many years back I waited at the bottom of one of those rides (a fairly wussy one) while my partner indulged himself. Not one person looked (to me) as if they were having what I consider fun. Terrified and/or in danger of vomiting doesn't float my boat.
    I think our fathers were related. And like you, when I finally got away from home and his eagle eye I went a little nuts. And still hear his voice in my head. Mind you, I hear a number of voices in my head.

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    1. The important thing is, I wasn't hearing his voice in my head when I was going a little nuts. Furthest thing from it.

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  13. I would never go to a Disney place.Apart from the fact that I don't like crowds or greedy corporations, I have a horror of being vomited on.Years ago, I was at the annual Show and my friend and I were standing awfully close to the Ferris wheel when someone with a stomach full of candy floss and hot dogs evacuated from the top of the wheel.My friend copped most of it and then had 10 minutes to borrow some clean jodhpurs, shirt, Pony Club tie and jacket and dunk her head under the cold tap, saddle her pony and get into the ring.And I think expecting a wife to share the "thrill" just might be grounds for divorce...

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    1. We're so far past grounds for divorce it's unthinkable. In it to win it, at this point. Still. You have a point.

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  14. I'm forwarding this to everyone I know. I'm an adrenophobic who gets the gootchy willies at the very IDEA of going to Disney parks...too Third Reich-ish perfect for me. Weirds me out. And, 'lo, I am not alone. Validation!

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    1. Turns out there are other options. Let's DO this!

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  15. I've seen those teacups and I'm pretty sure they spin a little faster than slow. I know for sure I'd be dizzy in no time on that ride. I have to say too, that no amount of wheedling, even bribery, would not get me on any ride I didn't want to be on. I'm a wuss when it comes to vomit-inducing rides.

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    1. I kind of like the old roads that had little tummy-whoopsies in them. I guess the highway department straightened them out.

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  16. I had forgotten that old "Uncle Walt" was a fascist sympathizer. Guess I'll continue the boycott on general principles.
    My father lived in a Nazi occupied country during WW2. He thought Hogan's Heroes was hilarious making such fun of the Nazis and the Hitler cult.

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    1. It's entirely possible my dad never even saw Hogan's Heroes but just heard of it. He DID see Mission Impossible and that was that.

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  17. My daughter worked as an "intern" at Disney World, earning college credit for running the Dumbo ride. She had to sign a confidentiality pledge promising to take Disney's secrets to the grave. So she's not allowed to talk about the warren of hidden tunnels with rooms full of giant mouse heads stored on meat hooks; the costumes that can reach an internal temperature of 120 degrees; the fact that an employee can be fired for walking through Fantasyland in a Tomorrowland outfit; the hundreds of workers who fan out at night to garden, paint and repair the day's wear and tear; the use of euphemisms such as "protein spill" for vomit; and the two-fingered point: using the index and middle fingers to give directions, lest guests think you are pointing rudely at them.

    Take a gander at "8 secrets about Disneyland" (http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/07/01/ten.secrets.disney.mf/) to learn about such unseemly practices as visitors spreading ashes of loved ones on favorite rides.

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    1. Can't wait to look that up when I get a spare moment. Lucky for us your daughter has a journalist for a father. You never signed nuttin'.

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