Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Et tu, Mickey Mouse?

I have always loved Disneyland. It's so bright and colorful without being idiotic, so beautifully realized and meticulously detailed... and, most importantly, clean. There are lots of huge restrooms and lots of different kinds of food and lots of shopping. The rides are fun, and the areas for the lines to the rides are usually entertaining in themselves; even the roller-coasters, which I generally loathe elsewhere, are exciting without being uncomfortable or scary. I've been there a half-dozen times before, and though some trips were better than others, I always had a great time.

Until now. I didn't realize that is was possible, but: yes, Virginia, you can be suicidally miserable in the Happiest Place on Earth.

To begin with, it was unbearably crowded (and longtime readers will know immediately that this in itself is enough to ruin a trip for me); worse, it was unbearably crowded by very small children: we visited the week of Memorial Day, just after a national holiday but before most schools let out, so there were many people on vacation but very few school-age people: most of the adults in the park were pushing strollers.

I have no idea why anybody would bring a stroller-sized child to Disneyland, most of the charm of the park is going to be lost on such creatures: they aren't going to see any magic, they can't discern how different it is from reality, they won't be going on many rides...they're just going to be pissing and screaming and wishing they were back at home with their Disney videos and their Disney toys.

To make matters still worse, there were two such creatures in my own party, my cousin's youngest two, a boy and a girl aged two and three. And while I won't go so far as to say that these tots were ill-behaved, they certainly behaved with rather less decorum than I am accustomed to expect from my companions. They did not scream ceaselessly, but still screamed rather more often than is ideal. And, like everyone of my bloodline, they have opera lungs.

Sadly, these two weren't the most frustrating aspect of our group. The thing is, unless you're going to either split up completely or stay together completely, you cannot coordinate the movements of twelve people in a crowded amusement park. Considering the width of differences in age, mobility, and tastes of all the people concerned, what we should have done was make an itinerary of what each of us wanted to do, arrange the best way for everyone to do what they wanted, and then split up and meet at exact intervals for meals and visiting; instead, we went wandering off in all sorts of directions, following one person's whim or another's, splitting up with only the vaguest plans to regroup at a particular place without agreeing on a time.

As a result, we didn't see or do very much in the park, and considering that Grandmother hadn't been there since 1960, I thought that was really too bad. My whole purpose in going with them in the first place was to be of assistance to Grandmother, to push her wheelchair and see to her needs... and what I believed she needed was to go on a couple of rides, see around the park, and spend some time with her kids, grandkids, and greatgrandkids.

Instead, we spent a lot of time waiting in a small group for the other people to show up at whatever rendezvous point we'd set. And I mean a lot of time: I spent three hours sitting at a table outside the Enchanted Princess Experience (or whatever that shillfest was calling itself; it wasn't even a ride, it was just a shop where you could buy princess paraphernalia and then stand in a line to get your picture taken with a princess character) before all of our party returned; then we went to take the Mark Twain Riverboat ride and spent another two hours waiting for everyone to regather because they split up on the way.

If you've ever been to Disneyland, you're probably aware that the Riverboat ride isn't very interesting in the dark.

And all this in roiling densely-packed crowds. Frustration + crowds + muggy heat + screaming toddlers = one seriously fucked up me. I was skirting the edges of an anxiety attack, which frequently threatened to spill into a psychotic episode, the entire two days we spent in the park. It was utterly utter miserable hell.

Oh, yeah: and there were no cute guys. NONE. That was just wrong.

But you know, even though Grandmother didn't get to do all the things I wanted her to be able to do, she did get to go on some rides, she did get to visit with family, and she did have a fantastic time: that was the whole point of the trip, so I guess it should be enough for me. And though the hell of it was quite hellish enough, it wasn't completely hellish: I did manage to get hold of the fabulous beignets at the New Orleans Jazz Cafe in Downtown Disney, and I rather enjoyed the parade (during which I cried) and the fireworks (during which I also cried...but then, I was crying a lot, anxiety does that to me).


So anyway, the rest of my vacation (I took the whole week off, one day to drive down, two in the park, one to come home, and one plus the weekend to recuperate) was extremely pleasant. I got some laundry done, slept a lot, watched some movies (if you can get hold of The Fall, I heavily recommend it), and just lay around and depressurized...both from the trip and from the work and family. Grandmother and the rest of the family went on to Arizona for a few days, so I had the house to myself, all kinds of quiet and blissful with dearth of responsibilty.

One of the things I most enjoyed was the reorganization of my wardrobe: all of the clothes that I set aside to go to Goodwill have to be revisited, since many of them were thrown out because I was too fat to wear them; but now they'll fit just fine, while many of the things I kept are now too floppy and huge for me. I'm also having to buy new pants, because the ones I had in storage weren't enough to suit my need for sartorial variety. I even had to buy new underpants because most of them were too big and didn't fit anymore.

Oh, the woe of having to shop!

But as of this morning, I have lost 40 pounds since starting my new eating habits. That's a number that makes me dance around with glee, let me tell you. Forty pounds. That's as much as my little screaming toddler cousins weigh: imagine detaching an entire toddler from your body. It feels really good.

And in general I feel really good. I'm still having money troubles (exacerbated by shopping for my new form, not to mention taking expensive vacations in Hell), the guys over at aren't falling all over themselves to get at me (though I did meet one guy, whom I really like, which is worth the price of admission), and I've been finding it unusually difficult to concentrate on anything, from work to play... despite all that, I'm really enjoying life.

I'm not going to let that enjoyment be ruined by any of the above, nor by my fear that it's all a pink cloud that will evaporate once my body completely adjusts to the new meds. We're just not going to think about that.

So I shall check in with you again next time something interesting happens; if I don't check in, it will be because nothing interesting is happening.