Monday, June 30, 2008
One of my favorite theme park stories comes not from Disneyland, not from any of the other half dozen theme parks I've worked in, but from a Six Flags Great America park in Chicago, Illinois.
Dan-from-Chicago told this story to me. So, mind you, it might simply be another urban legend . . .
Bugs Bunny threw up inside his head. The performer that was dressed in the Bugs Bunny costume had vomited while his rabbit head was still on.
He did not go backstage to clean up. Instead, he panicked. He panicked at the thought of missing an entrance cue, and at the thought of the audience hearing Bugs Bunny's voice through the speakers with no Bugs Bunny on stage.
So, on stage he went. Even in a Six Flags theme park, the show must go on!
Vomit dripped from his bunny head on stage. The dancers knew he had gotten sick inside his costume, so, a few of them were a foot or two away from their marks. During the dance routine, extra large grand jetés were made over small puddles of puke.
Poor, sickly Bugs plowed through the show's dance routine, which included turns and spins. He clogged up the costume's eye screens. Bugs wiped his eyes with his costume's gloves to clear his vision. During the partnering section of the routine, a female dancer got to feel his soggy bunny paws.
I have almost thrown up in a bunny head, myself, after riding the teacups at Disneyland, dressed as the White Rabbit. So, I really should have more empathy, but I'm sorry - I know I would be weak from giggling if I were one of the other performers in that show, had I seen that happening.
More flags, more fun, indeed!
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
(warning: the following post is of some considerable ick factor)
My niece was born via C-section, as were her older siblings.
My brother was in the delivery room for her birth. He got a look inside when my niece's mother was reopened.
"What's all that white stuff in there that looks like popcorn?" he asked the doctor.
"Oh, that's the normal, protective layer of fat," he replied.
My niece's mother is as thin as Kate Moss. "Well, scrape it out while you're in there!" she said.
The doctor repeated himself. "Normal, protective layer of fat."
I love repeating that story.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Do you ever let your arm hang out of your car's open window, or prop your elbow on it, while driving in warm weather?
I am tempted to touch that arm as I silently approach from behind on my scooter, between car lanes in traffic, right before I glide by your open window.
I don't want to hurt you. I just want to surprise you and then, giggling with delight, make an instant get-away. Can you imagine? What if, while sitting in traffic and in the heat, you felt someone gently caressing your bare forearm out of nowhere? What if someone unexpectedly patted your hand while you were driving?
I resist this particular temptation, because I also wonder: What if innocently touching someone causes them to freak out so much that they lose control of their steering wheel and it results in a collision?
Some temptations are just too risky. So I keep my hands to myself, while on the road, and while you continue keeping at least one armpit dry.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Less than a handful of people have asked if Domestic Partner and I are going to get married, now that the California Supreme Court has overturned the ban on same-sex marriages, last month. While I have been silently celebrating the progress made in this specific arena of civil rights, we have made no plans to get married. Neither of us has ever felt the need to have a civil union ceremony. We don't even have matching commitment bands the way other couples do.
It ain't broke, so we ain't a-gonna fix it.
Getting married would only complicate matters, it seems. When I hear the phrase, "the right to get married," my mind immediately thinks of "and the right to be just as dysfunctional as our parents," and "the right to get divorced, eventually." It doesn't seem worth any of the benefits marriage is supposed to provide, such as tax breaks. Paperwork can be written up and signed for such important matters as power-of-attorney when a partner dies, and for designating what happens to any assets.
Sorry, my straight friends, but I don't covet what you have.
Am I jaded? Maybe a little, by my two brothers' respective marriages and divorces. Maybe a lot, by the highly dysfunctional example of my parents' own marriage, which ended after thirty years. I have to consider that maybe it's just our family, though, that maybe we are not genetically geared for an emotionally-healthy, lifetime marriage.
I do know quite a few couples in first marriages that are still together. Some are happier than others, but not to the point that I feel as if I'm missing out on something. Maybe it's the area I live in, Southern California, Land of Rampant Divorce.
"But, Peter, what about love?" you may ask. Would it be fair to ask back, "What's love got to do with it?" I am discovering in my own relationship what I had been told by a couple of teachers, that marriage (or a domestic partnership) is more about economics and practicality than it is about love.
Domestic Partner and I are both in our forties. We are closing in on twelve years together, this fall. The fairytale ideals of our youth have long since faded. Besides, I have been known to be sentimental to a fault. As opposite as Domestic Partner and I are in personality traits, his fuddy-duddy common sense counterbalances me. He is my stability.
More than likely, I would have considered marriage to a man when I was younger. I have known one or two men that I would have considered marrying, before I had met Domestic Partner. The passion, both physical and emotional, had been wonderful during those younger years . . . while it lasted. Like a bright, burning flame, it was quickly ignited and then extinguished much too soon. Domestic Partner is more like a low-burning flame--not always exciting but at least consistent. I can depend on him.
I will support any of my gay friends who get married. I will be just as joyous for them as I am for my straight friends who get married. And whether their marriages are good or they are difficult, whether they work through their marital problems or they divorce, I will still love them and support them.
If I am able to grow old with Domestic Partner, I will be grateful at the end of my life, just as I am today.
What are your feelings, thoughts, opinions on same-sex marriage?
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Noël reminded me of one of my most embarrassing moments that had happened a few years ago.
It happened at my brother's house when I was attending my niece's birthday party. Children swarmed around the living room, and in and out of the backyard where there was a rented jumpy house. I recognized most of their parents' faces, if I didn't remember their names.
"When are you due?" I asked one of the young mothers.
"I'm not pregnant," she responded casually.
"Oh. I am so sorry. Forgive me."
What else could I say? There was no where for me to go, nowhere to hide.
I will never ask that question again, no matter how convinced I am that someone looks pregnant. I'll wait to hear it from someone else, first, ideally from the expectant mother.
Friday, June 6, 2008
I have been accused of being a Chatty Cathy, more than once.
Recently, I have been waking up to one of the more crucial Rules of Life:
Know when to shut up.
It's too bad that I wasn't more aware of this rule when I was younger.
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, June 5, 2008
"Have the bus rides been more crowded?" I asked Domestic Partner. He takes the bus into downtown L.A. and back, five days a week, for work. It is a twenty mile commute, each way.
"Yes," he confirmed.
It is not just my imagination, then. Traffic on the 10 freeway has been noticeably lighter. The pendulum is finally swinging the other way, perhaps. The soaring prices at the gas pump have actually been benefitting someone like me who gets around the Los Angeles freeways on a scooter.
There also seems to be a small increase of other scooter and motorcycle riders, which is just fine with me. Fewer cars plus more motor bikes still equal more elbow room on the roads, and earlier arrival times to both work and home.
$4.50 and up per gallon of premium gas? Bring it. I ain't afraid-a-no projected hikes in gas prices. My scooter uses a single gallon of gas for the fifty mile round trip that I make on weekdays. That's still cheaper than the $7.50 I spend on the same round trip journey riding the Silver Streak bus (which is cheaper than the express bus) and the Red Line train connection, when my scooter is in the shop.
My scooter saves me time, as well. My twenty-five mile commute takes about thirty-five minutes on the my lil' orange putt-putt, versus the combined riding time of ninety minutes on the bus and train. Factor in a minimum of thirty additional minutes for walking time, to the bus stop and train station, and I've got a total of two extra hours a day given to me when I ride my scooter. That's ten extra hours a week! I could be putting that extra time toward earning a graduate degree (if I wanted one, that is . . . right now, I'd rather sleep).
Have I sold you, yet? Are you thinking about finally getting that long-lusted-after Harley Davidson?
There are many pros to riding a motorcycle, including the "green" benefits of fewer gas emissions. But I know not to be smug about it. I know that motorcycles or scooters are not for everyone. Not everyone lives in the lack-of-seasons locale of southern California. I don't know if I would be such an advocate of scooter riding if I lived some place where the weather wasn't so consistently mild.
Also, riding is risky and it can be scary. It is difficult to be seen all of the time by automobile drivers, no matter how large (or how loud) your motor bike may be. You have to be constantly alert of other drivers, in addition to your own driving, when going at such high speeds on such a small vehicle. I remind myself regularly to keep my eyes forward, even when having to check my mirrors or look behind me before making lane changes. It is literally split-second timing that can make the difference between having a collision or arriving at a destination in one piece.
"The horror stories I could tell you," nurses used to tell me, back in the days when I was still riding without a helmet, before the California helmet law.
And as I get older, I've noticed that having to constantly be alert - constantly on edge - leaves me feeling that much more physically exhausted, after arriving at a destination.
But the ride can also be exhilirating for someone like me who first started riding scooters more than twenty years ago. I get a definite "wake up charge" and energy from the ride. It is a feeling of freedom and flying, and of strong independence.
At times, the synchronized motions of my body and the scooter can even feel like an intricately choreographed and well executed ballet. In a glorious pas de deux, the scooter is my dance partner.
Okay, maybe that's over dramatizing it a bit, but I often get very close to that feeling. Just like our two pugs and our kitty, the scooter ride is a source of daily joy.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I should've grown up on a farm. Maybe then I would be able to cope better with the death of animals.
"I think one of the cats is dead," Domestic Partner told me. He had called me while on his way to work this morning.
He wasn't talking about an actual pet. We only have one kitty who is very much alive and safe. He was talking about one from the handful of stray cats in our neighborhood. We know we're not supposed to feed them (it only facilitates the breeding of more strays), but we started putting kibble and fresh water out in the front yard after adopting our formerly stray kitten. His mother and litter mates are unofficial family, now.
Domestic Partner elaborated. "I saw one of the black and white cats. I think it was the one you call 'Tuxedo,' the one with the white bib. His body is near Von's, by the street you make a left turn on to get to the freeway."
Domestic Partner and I do not have a long list of things in common. Concern for the well-being of animals is one of them, though. It made me sad to think that one of homeless cats that regularly visited our front and back yards was gone. We had known him as a kitten, after all, when he and his siblings and their mother used to hang around our neighbors' driveway.
I cannot handle the unnecessary and unnatural death of animals. I can't even watch the shows on Animal Planet where abused animals are rescued. You just know that for every success story you see of an animal being saved, there are probably a dozen or more stories that ended sadly. It breaks my heart.
And that's how good my life is. That's how easy I have it. How bad can my life be when the worst I feel is over animals that are run over on the freeway? I have to focus on the fact that their pain and fear is already over. I can only hope and pray that the end came as quickly as possible for them.
I know I take it too personally, but it IS personal. My daily commute is fifty miles, round trip, on a small, freeway-legal scooter. Every time I see a flattened, furry body, I think to myself, That could be me.
Why weren't these animals protected from wandering out onto the roads? Why weren't they taken care of enough so that their untimely deaths could've been prevented? Maybe I need to parent my inner child more, to reassure him and make him feel less abandoned.
I did not see Tuxedo cat's body on the way to work this morning. I even made an extra trip around the block of Von's market, on my scooter, to check again before getting on the freeway. I haven't seen Tuxedo cat in a few days, so it must have been his body. Where did it go in the short time between Domestic Partner's sighting of it and my own search? Who or what would carry it away?
I often sing to myself while riding my scooter, sometimes sad songs, but usually happy songs when a recent intake of caffeine is coursing freshly through my veins (like the Choose Your Own Adventure books, it's the choose-your-mood-of-the-day time). I also pray a lot, too, while riding, and many times my prayer is Please let there be more animals placed in loving and protective homes so that there will be fewer of them run over.
I am not realistic to a fault, I know that. But if, in the Real World, we are going to remain helpless--or worse, apathetic--then I'd rather go back and hide inside my plastic bubble world.
Please let there be less pain and fear and suffering, in general.
Monday, June 2, 2008
I must have seen every episode of "Will & Grace" at least half a dozen times, each, and I'm still not tired of the show.
This morning, Lifetime Channel for Women was showing the one where Lorraine Finster (Minnie Driver) tries to take over Karen's mansion, money, and even her best friend Jack. Jack makes a half-assed attempt to stay loyal to Karen, but is caught puppy-dog-like between the two women. It's funny to see Karen become fiercely possessive of Jack because I've experienced that in my own life a little.
"You're ours," the senior rep, Miss Cee, reminds me at work whenever I am the least bit chummy with any new female employees. I feel lucky that I was able to fit in with the Alpha Beotches, as I've dubbed our little, tight-knit, gossipy office clique. It's a major part of why I like my job so much. But there was no mistaking the genuine jealousy underneath the light, joking tone Miss Cee was forcing herself to assume. She was not playing.
I will be the first to admit that often, life is not fair in my favor. A significant part of this favoring unfairness is due to the mere fact that I am a guy. I realized years ago that many women who are as nice as can be--to me--are also uh, "very unpleasant to be around" shall we say, to other women. Compound the reason for the consistent, considerate treatment I get from my gal pals with the fact that I truly adore women but do not actually lust after them. "Sex and the City" was tailor made for the Wills of the world like me.
I wish it didn't have to be so inherently negative, though, this gal-on-gal crime. Passive-aggressive me wishes that we could all just frickin' get along without any jealousy or competitiveness. Assy-regressive me wonders why we can't all just be friends. This specific conflict, though, has been very minimal in my own life. One of my closest friends had a longtime gal pal that was just pure evil in her behavior towards his wife when they first got engaged. And this was at their church. This was after the fact that the former gal pal had already snagged a husband herself.
I realize that we must be careful what we wish for. If we didn't have any Alpha Beotch jealousy and competition, then we would have never enjoyed the delicious bitch fest of such films as "Heathers," "Jawbreaker," and "Mean Girls."
I laugh every time when Rachel McAdams, Alpha Beotch in "Mean Girls," says to the Gamma Beotch over the phone, "Boo, you bitch."