Sunday, June 19, 2011
I’m not exactly sure what happened to all that writing stamina I had in Orlando. Since we arrived back in 101 degree Middle Georgia, I’ve had no desire to put fingers to keys even once. And I’ve talked myself out of every considerable topic, deeming it either petty or over-the-top. If my writing were a real job I’d have been fired years ago.
So, now it’s 11 pm. I’m attempting to write. Type, type, type, No, that sounds stupid. Delete, delete, delete. I still can’t think of a topic worth writing about with the exception of several unrelated observations and one particularly bothersome conversation.
Today, while driving to Andrew’s baseball tournament, held at the “In-the-sticks regional recreation facility” in Blum Ruck Nowhere, we drove by a lovely brick building with a sign out front that read “Elaine’s Hairstyling and Tax Preparation.” You have to wonder how some business ventures are conceptualized.
“Well, ya know what this here town needs, Elaine, is a nice place to git yur taxes did while ya git yur hair did….or vicey versey.” I wonder if Elaine is somewhat of a renegade and said “not NO but HAYULL NO” to the standard nail and facial service add-ons that are typical at most beauty salons. Now that it’s past tax season, I wonder if Elaine supplements her income by doing financial consulting during highlights and perms. I wonder if she’ll eventually add other services to her salon, like, perhaps a crematory, lawnmower repair or pawn shop.
One thing about Andrew’s baseball coaches is that they like to celebrate victories….and, well, defeats too. They’re just positive that way. About a mile from the complex where they play is JR’s, a restaurant that boasts all wood paneling décor…. from floor to ceiling. It’s kind of like being in a horizontal forest without any leaves or grass. After a day on the diamond, we all wind up sitting in wooden chairs, pulled up to a wooden table, toasting well-placed homerun balls or the next victory. A few of us (myself not included) usually get quite toasted.
I was still contemplating Elaine’s business opportunities when Shannon, another team mom, confessed something to me that was so devious and coldhearted, just so downright wretched that I don’t know if I’ll be able to look her in the eye again without showing a little fear. I’ll certainly never allow her in my house.
“I collect TV remote controls,” she said hurriedly and half-jokingly, as if wanting to get it out there before changing her mind.
“Yeah, I have quite a few from over the years too,” I shared, trying to find common ground with this odd admission.
“Yes, but you probably have them from TV’s that you’ve legitimately owned. I take mine from wherever I can get them…other people’s homes, doctors’ office waiting rooms, bars, hotels. Sometimes when I’m volunteering at the nursing home, I’ll take a few from the residents’ bedrooms.”
"That's horrible!" I gasped.
"It's not that bad," she chided. "It's actually sort of funny, if you think about it."
There's nothing funny about losing the remote, much less it being swiped from your possession.
“It started at the end of a long and painful breakup from a man I thought I was going to marry," Shannon continued without prompting. "The last time I saw him was when I drove over to his apartment to try and talk things out one last time. It didn’t work. He told me to leave and then turned to walk back into his bedroom. I was so mad…so, so angry. I wanted to hurt him as badly as he’d hurt me. The channel changer was just sitting there next to his Sports Illustrated. You have to understand, ‘John’ lived for ESPN, Sports Center, games…all that stuff. I knew there was nothing I could do that would hurt him more. So, before I could really think it through, I just grabbed the thing, shoved it in my pocketbook and headed out the door.
He never called me, never accused me of anything. And I became caught up in the rush of having gotten away with it. Stealing that first remote was like a drug. I just wanted to do it one more time, then another and another. I hope you’re not judging me,” she added flippantly. “You’re the only person I’ve told because you seem really cool and accepting…and you make me laugh.”
Staring blankly at Shannon as she continued her disturbing confession, I wondered how long must her victims have searched, stripping the cushions off couches, pawing blindly underneath dressers and end tables, tearing the house apart, before finally giving up and purchasing a new remote? How many days did they have to bear trecking across the room to change channels, painfully, one by one, with no “guide” button to press for help? The thought of it leaves me shaken.
“Wow, Shannon. Uhm, thanks for trusting me,” I stammered, lacking anything of more substance. It was then that I spied JR’s TV control, sitting there vulnerably, like a lone Xanax on the bathroom counter at a detox facility.
“I know what you’re thinking,” she said jovially, disrupting my mounting panic. ‘I don’t steal every remote I’m around. Hey, when are we going to get the kids together for a play date? Andrew keeps telling Justin about the fort he built. Let me know when you guys are up for it.”
“I’ll give you a call sometime,” I replied, checking my pocket for my phone, just in case Shannon’s compulsion had progressed to other handheld electronic devices.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
So I promised another post about June 4th Gay Day at Disney World parks. It’s now June 7th and the topic of their alternative lifestyle outreach isn’t getting any fresher. So, here goes....
The first thing I’ll say is that if Disney wants to continue broadcasting June 4th as Gay Day, they might want to hire a new PR agency, one that utilizes marketing channels other than skywriting. Maybe buy some 30 second TV and radio spots or post people wearing rainbow flags, holding Gay Day signs throughout the Orlando area. It seems the word just didn’t get out.
On June 4th, the majority of people visiting Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon water park were average American, blue collar, country music loving families of 4.5 from some Heartland state like North Dakota or Kansas (where homosexuality is still illegal along with women’s suffrage and parking your mule in front of laundromats on Sundays.) Also, my random poll, selecting every fifth person and asking if they were gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender seemed only to alarm and offend people, especially parents of the toddlers I asked.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Does this inane, half-witted blogger really think you can identify gays simply by looking at them? Like they’re Hasidic Jews or a case of measles?”
An excellent point, you have, young Jedi. I realize that I’m treading dangerously close to offending a good 99-percent of those who are easily offended. So, I won’t belabor the point.
However, our drive to the theme park produced a thought provoking conversation that would be nipped in the bud at most California public schools. “Mom and Dad, why does Disney set aside a whole day to welcome gay people? Do they also host a day for Buddhists or Vikings, or Buddhist Vikings?” asked 10-year-old Andrew.
“What about a day for people who produce too much earwax?” chimed in Jack, a recent sufferer of the earwax malady.
“What about a day for agoraphobics obsessed with the color turquoise?” said hubby James, in an acidic tone.
As you can predict, our discussion quickly turned into a game of creative one-upping. “I know, I know,” shouted Andrew, “Has Disney ever had a ‘people afraid of spiders’ day…or a bald people day…or a lactose intolerant day?” It went on like that until we arrived at Typhoon Lagoon.
So, now three days later, I’m still pondering why the Disney corporation chooses June 4th to specifically invite gays to their parks… when they're ALREADY welcome ANY DAY. I mean it’s not like that on every day other than June 4th, Disney promotes persecution of homosexuals with public stoning, But on that one summer day they’re given a 12-hour reprieve.
Having done a little research thanks to our friend Google, I now have the answer…or an answer.
June 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm
To be fair … (since my wife works at Disney) … Disney does not organize or advocate these types of events. It’s organized by the gay groups themselves, better organized over the years from the small incidental turnouts they began with. Disney cannot come out and say they disapprove of such a thing or face an incredible backlash. So they shrug and let it be. The same goes for “Bat Day” at Disneyland, where throngs of Goth followers show up all dressed in black, etc.. The line of regular guests waiting to complain at the Guest Services window at Disneyland stretched out onto the circle in front of the Railroad Station. Again, Disney shrugs to avoid the controversy.
So, it seems that Disney Corporate has some “ostrich-head-in-the-sand” tendencies. Wow, I think I’d have more respect for them if Gay Day actually were a sanctioned event, not one they just allow because they’re afraid to say the wrong thing, and thus remain silent. Really, Disney?? I think you could use some assertiveness training.
If I were more controversial and less lazy, perhaps I’d continue this blog post, expounding on the ludicrous pile-of-feces that political correctness has gotten us into. But a mid-afternoon swim seems like a better use of my time.
So, until later….
Saturday, June 4, 2011
Disney Adventure Day Eight: So the Weight and Dyer families are chirpily packing for a seven hour splash fest at Typhoon Lagoon, one of Disney’s two water park.
“Hey Mom!!!! Awesome!!! Cool!!! That airplane is writing something in the sky!” Jack shrieks, pointing toward Heaven.
Andrew, who’s won his class’s AR reading award the past three years and therefore feels it necessary to be our family’s designated reader, takes over as if he’s Indiana Jones translating ancient Farsi. “June 4th is GA….June 4th is Georgia!!! They’re talking to us! Wait, it’s writing more. June 4th is GAY. What?”
All of us “What???”
Our jaws drop in unison like horrified synchronized swimmers. “June 4th is GAY DAY at all Disney Parks.”
A five year old’s tap on my elbow leads to the inevitable. “Mom, what’s GAY DAY?”
“Oh, where’s your father when I need a complex and world view changing concept explained,” I whine.
“Maybe they mean GAY like Justin Beiber is gay. It means really LAME, Jack. Today, Disney welcomes lame, dorky people who we have to be tolerant of,” explains a scholarly, yet sorely off-the-mark Andrew.
Meanwhile Trevor and Colin, the other two impressionable eleyementary schoolers in our party are satisfied to pick out cloud shapes in the sky writing’s dissipation, not tuning in at all to my stammering attempt at an explanation.
“So, guys, ya know when we go to Camp Lair and there’s that family that has two mommies…but they both look sort of like daddies and are really, really good softball players?”...I begin.
“The ones who wear their wallets chained to their pants and have Billy Ray Cyrus hairdos?” asks Andrew.
“Yep, those are the ones, Cheryl and Sharon. They’re gay. And proud of it. The license plate on their Subaru Outback says so.”
“Gay means that girls want to date other girls instead of guys. And boys, well, they like boys instead of girls.” There! I said it…in a nutshell, mentally brushing my hands from the awkwardness of the situation. No need to go into politics and sexual positioning with them. Keep it simple!
“We’re not gay and don’t agree with being gay, but we accept those who are for being themselves. In fact, your great uncle Wayne was gay and I loved him dearly,” I tack on for extra points from the sensitivity police.
"Honey, everyone knows that there are no gay people named Wayne," points out my husband, helpful as always, just arriving on the scene.
In typical kid fashion, Andrew and Jack have now dismissed the million dollar question choosing to join their friends in identifying cartoon characters in the cumulus formations above. But then Andrew, always the astute one, looks up and says “Mom, Disney has an entire day set aside for gay people? They won’t let us in if we’re not gay? If they do let us in, do we really want to go?”
Funny how it can take a ten-year-old to point out the elephant in the room that up to this point I’ve completely overlooked. Even if our Disney days are numbered do we really want to go to the water park on a day that will probably feel like a Melissa Ethridge/Indigo Girls concert? Well, do we?
This is where my friend Donna, the other mom, (a happily married heterosexual, I’ll point out) says, “We’re already packed. We have our suits on. I say we get in the car and go. We can always leave if it’s too….uh…too…different for us.”
“Why can’t they have a day to celebrate White Anglo Saxon Protestant Males Who Pay Their Taxes On Time, DAMMIT!!!” My husband, James mutters while buckling his seatbelt. “I’d rather be strung up and beaten than go to this Queen Fest!" (note to my friend Grant who derides me for using occasional profanity...the "dammit" was a direct quote from James)
So, this is where I leave off. I’m getting in the car now and heading off to June 4th GAY day at the Happiest Place on Earth’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Being Disney, it should less x-rated than San Francisco's gay pride parade.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
“Coming up!!! Dr. Oz reveals the shocking results of his second colonoscopy.” WOW! Just….Wow. We were about to go see Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides at Downtown Disney, but, heck, I’m staying right here on the edge of my seat. Dr. Oz’s internal organ scans are always such a thrill. It’ll be THE water cooler topic at work. And I can’t bear the thought of not being in the know…especially after missing his first colonoscopy.
You know I’m kidding. Right? I thought the Dr. Oz show was kidding too, but no. There is a thriving audience of daytime TV viewers who consider exposing irregular polyps up there with the finale of American Idol. I rarely watch TV, day or night, and had no idea what I was missing. But, here on day five of our Disney adventure, it’s been raining on and off since morning. After beating Andrew six games to two at Connect Four, he decided that tactile games that promote family bonding were not worth his seven second attention span, and went back to the comforting addiction of his Nintendo DS, like a mouse pushing the crack lever with its nose. Looking back, maybe I should’ve let him win more. Connect Four can be a tricky game of strategy and ruthlessness. It’s often blamed as an underlying cause of marital breakups.
Jack, Trevor and Colin are watching Wall-E. It plays 24-7 on a super-sized blow up screen in the lobby. I heard a guy comment to his wife that they needed a screen like that in their bedroom to review homemade porn. I haven’t been able to get that visual out of my mind. Now the innocent romance between Wall-E and EVE seems cheap, sordid and trashy.
So, I’m back in our Radisson-home-away-from-home, room 5112, watching Dr. Mehmet Oz, whose first name is more befitting of a blue furry muppet than a medical expert with abnormally white teeth. Still no shocking colonoscopy results!!! They’ve left us all hanging, wringing our hands in fear of the toxic munchkins lurking in the “Land of Oz’s Colon.” Right now he’s explaining to an anonymous black woman why she occasionally has orgasms during bowel movements. Talk about a great party trick for the nursing home crowd!! She may want to lay-off the oyster chili.
What? No way!!! The show is...ENDING! The credits are about to roll and they’ve postponed Dr. Oz’s colonoscopy results until Friday! But…it’s only Wednesday! How will I get through the next 48 hours? We’re supposed to go to the Magic Kingdom tomorrow! I won’t be able to enjoy a single thing in anticipation of Friday’s episode.
This isn’t fair! They can’t do this to us! And Pirates of the Caribbean 4? Well that could never be this entertaining!