Friday, December 10, 2010


Prologue: I thought I should explain the last week of absenteeism. I was in Disney World. A trip that was planned 3 years ago, at least in discussions, that I would have loved to have gotten out of if at all possible. But since that was not possible, I found myself with my Dad’s sister, my aunt, and her best friend who has been around my family since they were youngsters and whom I have known since infancy. Now that I’ve left the Happiest Place on Earth and can pause to reflect on it, I can say that it was pretty fun and that the sheer volume of things we saw and did were numerous and I mostly enjoyed myself. I am, however, looking extremely forward to going home and going to the gym and getting back to my life. Or you know, what of my life there is…

Anyway, after the jump are some thoughts I jotted down when in Florida about the trip.

December 4, 2010 Ah. On the way to Florida. Via Chicago. Yeah. That makes sense. Thanks, Southwest, for that. And we don’t deplane so I think I might be STARVING by the time I get to Orlando. Will update you on that when I finally get settled at the Beach Club Resort in FL. (Yeah. I was. Thanks, bar at the ESPN zone, for feeding me. My obsession with spicy chicken wings continues.)

Tuesday 12/7
I’ve been having fitful dreams for the past few weeks. Let’s attribute this to hotel beds. But so far I’ve discussed chicken wings with Matt Damon and Chuck Bass bought me a ton of Dior (not Ed Westwick) in these dreams so it’s not all bad.

I’m starting to wonder if there is something wrong with me in that I am missing the “awe” gene. People look at fireworks and get all excited. I’m like, “meh.” We go to this choral procession thing where they retell the story of Christmas with a choir and a symphony and all I can think is “Huh, they skipped over the whole part of the story where Joseph doesn’t want to marry Mary…and I’m being preached to in Disneyworld about how no one has changed the world as much as Jesus. I don’t really buy that message.” I kept my mouth closed on that one, not wanting to ruin my aunts’ enjoyment of the event. But I got yelled at when I pointed out at the end of Reflections of Earth where the Disney community wants us to celebrate peace on earth and carry out that message thinking it loses some of it’s impact when they are BLOWING SHIT UP! I mean, come on, that’s a very special kind of irony.

My aunt also has scolded me for swearing too much and being too contrarian. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize some of my more base personality traits were so offensive. Wow. Check that out. I apologize. (No, I don’t. But I’m keeping my mouth shut for the foreseeable future.) Thanks for reminding me that I’ll never find me a man if I’m too outspoken, especially on the subject of sports. I missed the exit that sent me back to 1950.

I also can’t believe how fucking stupid American’s are. Including my aunts. This is an actual conversation: While discussing the impact of WWII on Europe my one aunt says, “Life is too short. I don’t want to think about such depressing things.” Me, “If you don’t think about it, you’re likely to repeat it.” “Well, it’s just too sad.” And she wonders why her 15-year-old son is flunking History. These are the same people that are shocked I know about foreign Christmas traditions. How can you live in this world and have almost no awareness of it? My one aunt is super judgmental. Anyone who isn’t attractive is the subject of derision. She lost a ton of weight, which is awesome, but anyone who doesn’t eat or have the physique she thinks they should, she is super critical about. She also lacks empathy. She can only see her version of things. A wife snarked at her husband and my ant says, “God, she just rolled her eyes at him for asking a simple question…” Well, how do you know he wasn’t being an ass all day long? How do you know the nature of their relationship or what preceding events led up to that exchange? You don’t. You can’t possibly. Everything is only seen through her eyes. I find it frustrating. I may not be sympathetic, but I’m definitely empathetic.

Wednesday December 9, 2010 1:20 a.m.
Despite waking up early and going to the gym while cranky, today wasn’t all that bad…right up to the part where my aunts’ bitched about being taken to do the ONE thing I wanted to do: drink at the Irish Pub on Pleasure Island in Downtown Disney. And then when we get back to the hotel my Aunt Linda, in a huff, says, “I just know I’m not sitting around ‘til 11 a.m. doing nothing!” You know fucking what? NO ONE IS MAKING YOU! You have this god given thing called free will and you can do whatever the fuck you want. Leave the room whenever you want. No one will hold it against you and we’ll figure shit out for ourselves. Seriously. Just. STFU.

In another instance of my aunt’s lack of empathy, she says, “The sales girl wrapped up the ring I was getting for a gift but then forgot to take the price tag off. As I’m telling her to do that and she tries to yank it off, her coworker suggests using scissors. exaggerated eyeroll I mean, come ON!” Well, me, in my super observant way, knew that the girl working the counter to which my aunt referred was training. She was also from New Zealand, meaning maybe there were some cultural barriers she was working on overcoming. Way to completely and totally lack perspective. This same aunt complained about the Irish bar being too loud. Wait, that’s too loud, but the giant choral concert was just fine? Bite me. Bite me hard. My next vacation? Solo. Or me and Michael. I think Michael and I would get along well. As long as he was willing to go off by himself in the morning and let me sleep in.

Ya know, I don’t know if it’s my problem (yes), but my BEST vacation ever was the two months in Europe solo. Every misstep was mine. Every petty annoyance was my own. I was responsible and beholden only to myself. No one cared if I threw a hissy fit or got overly tired because I was on my own. The only one to hear my hissy fit would have been me. I didn’t throw a hissy fit when the place my aunt picked for lunch, without any input or discussion, ended up being freaking awful. I may be a bitch about a lot of things, a harsh judge of character, generally annoyed by the presence of other people. But when it comes to a lot of stuff, like just waiting for the bus in Downtown Disney? It is the way it is, and me getting wound up about it is completely useless. I can shrug my shoulders and move on. A bad meal? There will be another meal. And dinner was fantastic. Adorable and friendly waiter, I had a fantastic steak, followed by delicious cheesecake. I had a lovely conversation with the girl working in Germany the other day, giving her suggestions for her quick trip to San Francisco. It’s not all bad. I just don't think I can do bleary eyed wonder the way I'd like to be able to do. I did enjoy the Christmas fireworks show and the decorations on all the various trees. The gingerbread monuments throughout the property are feats of wonder. 

While pondering travels I thought about my second best vacation. New York with my dad. I remember only getting annoyed one night when he dragged me to some random flat for jazz music, and even that ended up being fine. Him and I travel well together because I’m fairly laid back. As much as I know I can gab endlessly when amongst my friends, when I am traveling I like to move slowly and soak up everything. I like to wander aimlessly around a place and get a feel for it. I don't do much conversing with strangers, preferring to keep to myself, especially since I am outside of my comfort zone in a foreign place. And while I realize that is somewhat unnecessary at an amusement park, it was still all just too fast, too much chatter, the seemingly endless noise of my aunt talking. Talking to us, talking to strangers. Sometimes the strangers didn’t mind her butting in, but other times you could tell she was being a nuisance and you wanted to tell her to just leave them alone. I didn’t. I did end up meeting Ed, the fantastic EEOC compliance officer from UNC who talked law, sports, and racism in Disney with me as we went off to get beer in Germany for us, and tea for my aunts and his wife because of one of her random conversations with strangers trapped in line with her. But still...

I also hate to sound like my father, and this may be stemming from the fact that I’m about to be butt ass broke, but: I’m totally over the commercialism of this holiday. This is not helped by my shopaholic aunt who would get a PhD in buying crap no one needs, if one was offered. It’s all just…crass China made crap. It’s unnecessary and disposable and has no impact on bettering our life. She insists on getting her staff a present and settles on these stupid Disney World scarves and I just think, god, they’d probably rather have, ya know, an hour reprieve from work than a stupid scarf. It makes me all want to simplify my life further and get rid of anything completely unnecessary. It’s crap for the sake of crap that I find so annoying. None of it has meaning or is meaningful for the person she’s buying it for. Just a disposable trinket to get thrown in a box with all the other disposable trinkets. I’m also tired of the shopping. All she wants to do is shop. Shop shop shop. Just. Stop. Take a breath. And maybe that’s why I’m not enjoying it all. I want to breathe it in. I think this calls for some Lisa wandering time and perhaps then things would be more pleasant… I’ll ponder that. But now since apparently I can’t sleep in and it’s almost 2 a.m. here in Florida, I better get some sleep. (I rant about the commercialism but sure as shit picked up Disney trinkets for others too. But mine because I love people and they reminded me of those people. Still, it's slightly hypocritical of me.) 

December 10, 2010
We’re leaving the magic kingdom. Screaming children are fantastic birth control. But, ya know, they’re also all kind of adorable and I’m like “Awww! Squishy little faces!” I saw the parents have far more meltdowns than the children, honestly. Not that it wasn’t the children that drove the parents to lose it. Still. Adorable ginger haired babies! Also loved the old couples visiting without children. They have each other! After all these years and whatever they have been through they are beholden to each other. Amore! Stupid holiday sentimentality. Makes me all emotional like.

I wandered around the Magic Kingdom and rode rides this morning without my aunts. They wanted to shop some more. Shop shop shop. So. Over. It. So I went at my own pace and did what I wanted. You get some funny looks when you go on rides solo. People seem to take pity on you, but ya know what? Screw it. I was having fun, so what do I possibly care what they think? I don’t. And I loved the silence but also the constant noise. And now I am THRILLED to be on a plane heading home to the land of organic greens. My aunts are watching Eat, Prey, Love, a movie I’ll be goddamned if I watch but I can’t help but glance over and see what is going on it (It’s annoying how they have Julia Roberts constantly backlit to make it look like she’s glowing). I’m listening to the Chieftains Christmas album and watching us chase the western sunset in our giant plane.

There was an article in the in-flight magazine about a Deaf doctor having great listening skills due to her handicap. My aunt said, “That was a great article!” I wanted to point and be like, “Did you learn something?” The woman doesn’t listen for shit and that was easily the most frustrating part of the entire vacation. I felt like I was constantly repeating myself and not being heard. She completely misinterpreted instructions and what people had said. I, apparently, am a good listener, and we all know observant because I would pick things up, my aunt would say something about the same event and I would say, “That’s not what happened at ALL.” Case in point: She went on the Aerosmith roller coaster with this black kid who was with his brother and an older white lady. A few days later we end up talking about all the interracial and adopted kids we’ve seen in the park. And my aunt says, “Yeah! Like that kid that I rode the rollercoaster with the other night!” I look at her dumbfounded. The older white lady TOLD US that she was there with her father, who is 90, and the two children belonged to her father’s nurse, and she had brought them all to Disney World, and while she was riding the rollercoaster with the children, their mother was off attending to her, apparently still kicking it in Disney World, father. “But they called her auntie.” Even if they called her auntie, that doesn’t make them her children. I was just…how do you miss what you’ve discussed with someone? You stood in line and DISCUSSED it. I was so tired of being misheard, or worse, completely ignored, that I pondered doing what I would do with my ex when listening was an issue: I would just go silent. Just go completely silent. I would stop talking until said ex figured out the problem and could be bothered to pay attention again. I didn’t really but I think at one point she sensed my exasperation and started to attempt to listen. Still. It is INFURIATING. Absolutely infuriating how impossible it is for her to pay attention. The constant noise emission and lack of silence made me crazy. We came to a dénouement a couple days in though when I would send them off to the park to shop and I would take my time getting ready in the room, enjoying the silence.

Oh! And the TV! My aunt is one of those people who constantly has the TV on. She has the TV on when she wakes up in the morning and uses it to go to sleep at night. They would both bitch when at night I would turn it to sports. Look, you two are half asleep, I’m not, I’m keeping it on with some recaps, mkay? But more to the point, I don’t have a TV in my room. I wake up and fire up the computer, sure, and have it open usually right before I go to bed, a habit I have promised myself I am going to break myself of (less time on the internet a goal of mine). With the constant background noise of nothingness, it made me realize how glad I am that I don’t keep it on all the time or have one in my room. It’s just…white noise. People afraid to be alone with their thoughts, or lacking thoughts, have TV’s on all the time. I do not want to be such a person.

This is going to sound completely elitist and snobby of me but, well, whatever: I realize it’s hard to be a fairly smart person in a world full of complete dumbasses. The comments made in the park, the things even my aunts would say…how can you be that ignorant of the world? The man who got mad at the Spanish speaking (I would guess from Spain by her style) woman for not understanding the security check guy to enter the park said to us in a thick Southern accent, “If you’re gonna be in America, you need to learn to speak the language!” almost sent me into a fit. Oh you kind stupid man, we don’t have a national language for a reason. Why don’t you read the constitution and the inalienable rights which we have imbued upon people here? Why don’t you read the poem on the front of the Statue of Liberty? Why don’t you ponder your own family history and realize that at some point somewhere, probably not so long ago, someone in your family came over here and didn’t speak English as a first language. The sheer irony of the fact that we were on our way to World Showcase to visit pavilions of countries where the workers constantly chatter to each other in their native tongue was not lost on me. I further loved that when I tweeted that, someone replied, “He’s the same person that goes to Europe and gets mad that they aren’t speaking English.” HA! Point.

Anyway, I will be home in…gah, seven hours. And that’s WITH adjusting for the time difference. I’m looking forward to some silence and enjoying the season, but even now, my next few weeks are jam packed with events. Let’s prey for some patience this holiday season…

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