Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Normal Life: The Best Thing Ever

Today I took my children to an amusement park.  We had some moments of fun, although the most memorable were rollercoaster rides that really only punctuated the boredom of waiting in line for an hour or more with adrenaline and vertigo.  I'm really bad at waiting, though I got to claim status as a pretty cool mom not only for braving Six Flags Over Texas during spring break but also for going on the scary rides.  Okay, ride. But I did one of the big ones, and I had a good time once I realized that screaming is a good way to make one's way through general fear. 

It took us two hours to go from our house to the park, a half-hour trip at the most under normal conditions.  I left the place at least a hundred and fifty bucks poorer.  Hardest for me was, did I mention, the waiting, even though I was with my two favorite people. 

Jeez, the crowd.  Well, there were scads of teenagers, lots of them with piercings that shocked me (cheeks? really?) and the flashback to PDA. Suddenly I remembered being the friend who came along while my BFF canoodled with her fella and I stood by awkwardly, the perennial third wheel. High school does leave a mark on all of us, sad to say.  A smattering of adorable families with younger kids. 

And then the scary people.  I posted on Facebook about taking a dip in the shallow end of the gene pool, and it got mixed reviews.  But seriously, even the kids were scared by the guy who looked like a werewolf. There were lots of ill-behaved children who drew our ire, and vast numbers of people who were so overweight I wondered how they navigated the many miles necessary to get to the rides. 

While I waited for the kids to get off the Superman ride--I'm not that brave--I looked at the NY Times on my phone.  In Remote Towns, Survivors Tell of a Wave's Power.  Then, Certainties of Modern Life Upended in Japan.  So while I was dissecting the fashion choices of the women in the Flashpass VIP line (expensive haircut, unruly children, Superbowl leather jacket entirely too warm for the weather but clearly designated she had been invited) there were people across the world looking at places where houses, loved ones, and neighbors once stood but had been swept away.  Pictures of other who were taking their babies to see if they had been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation.  It's so difficult to get one's mind around the devastation, and hard to know what to do.


Photo: Courtesy the New York Times

Tonight, we're all tired.  I'm spending the rest of my vacation time having people replace my dishwasher and broken doors and blinds, and wish I could be on a beach somewhere.  And yet my house is still here, my kids and I had little more to do than gripe about the line in the sixty-five degree weather.  A week and a half ago, people in Japan were complaining about the same thing.  Now, what they wouldn't give to stand in line to get on the Batman rollercoaster. 

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