The timing of the trip was interesting (14th-17th), with what felt like a distinct seasonal change occurring while we were gone. It was summer weather when we left and fall weather when we returned. Joann’s happy. I’m trying to be.
Here are some things I learned (or truths I had reinforced) from this brief vacation, about others and about myself...
- I learned that Disneyland has not lost its “magic” for me. This was my sixth visit, first since my friend Dan and I won a free trip in a drawing at George Fox our sophomore year. The fact that the Blue Bayou restaurant and Pirates of the Caribbean were closed (among others) was not magical. But the “splashy” story of Brer Rabbit and Co, the simplicity of Mr Toad’s Wild Ride, the snarky tour guides of the Jungle Cruise, the sublimity of the Riverboat Cruise, the sightings of wandering Disney characters—all these and more contain that mixture of aesthetics, excitement and nostalgia that give Disneyland its mystique. Can’t wait to return.
- I learned that animatronic people kind of scare me.
- I learned that I’m not so sure Disneyland is the “happiest place on earth.” For me and Joann, yes, perhaps. For others, I'm not so sure. We saw (and heard) a lot of unhappy, whiny, complaining children. And, consequently, a lot of irritable parents of said children. The rush to escape the park after closing was comical. I watched one woman chew out the guy behind her for accidentally bumping her with the stroller he was pushing for the second time. He looked at his buddies, seemingly a bit shell-shocked but also angrily defensive. One’s true colors come out at the end of a long day of child management and appeasement at Disneyland.
- I learned that I love the thrill and challenge of the unknown. Most of my travels through Europe, China, and South America involved some structure, but a loose enough structure that left room for flexibility and spontaneity. I also don’t always enjoy planning, often preferring to figure things out when there is a greater sense of urgency. It is this “bent” that led to us leaving Disneyland at 8pm and arriving in Glendale (Boyd’s home) around midnight, after a free bus ride (I gave a dollar to the guy in front of me who didn’t have exact change, a gesture which the bus driver witnessed and seemingly decided to reward with free tickets for Joann and I), followed by the befriending of a Korean mother and daughter with limited English, who were also heading to Glendale and so led us to a bus stop downtown where we waited for a long time for a bus that never came, followed by the arrival of the Korean mother’s neighbor, who picked us up in a white van and took us home to Glendale, for a fee cheaper than a taxi. It all worked out. It often does.
- I learned that I can do fried chicken and waffles about once every
tentwenty years. One of our stops during the bachelor party (sandwiched in between two pubs) was a visit to Roscoe’s. The meal consisted of fried chicken, waffles (w/maple syrup), and sides of Mac and Cheese and cornbread. My stomach did not feel great, and I tried to appease my angry body with a veggie omelet and fruit the next morning. I’m still so sorry, body.
- I learned that I have a place in my heart for SoCal. I love the Pacific NW...Portland, Olympia and everything between, for many reasons. But there’s just something about the excitement and feel of LA, after spending some time in Anaheim, downtown, Hollywood, Ventura and Carpenteria (the wedding site). That "something" is certainly not the cost of living, whatever the "something" is.
- I learned that Matt Boyd has the funniest friends. Or at least they laugh at my humor. Wait, does that make them funny or me narcissistic? No but really, they cracked me up, and the melting pot of our combined comedy made for a funny week.
- I learned that when you choose to cut costs to stay in a Motel 6 with your wife instead of the more glamorous Marriott next door (where most of the wedding party was), you get what you pay for.
- I re-learned what makes Matt Boyd an exceptional man and sure to enjoy a thriving marriage. As I said in my very sincere best man toast (which was seemingly amusing, though the drinking had started way before I began) and now say again here, directly to you, Matt: you’ve got a great sense of humor and ability to laugh at everything, which I’ve discovered in my 13.5 months of marriage makes a huge difference in dealing with personality clashes and various conflicts when they arise; you have an obvious sense of beauty, evident in the way you enjoy the arts, but which I think also will enable you to deeply enjoy your wife and life with her, as that beauty, when present to the mind, will likely often overshadow that which may not, at times, seem beautiful; and you possess great character and a willingness to continue developing that character, never becoming complacent but striving for the deepening of your already existing qualities of thoughtfulness, faithfulness, and kindness. You’re a good man. And despite my opening, tongue-in-cheek remark (“Marriage is awful”), I have no doubt your marriage will be the opposite. Okay…tribute finished. (Ron Cox, you’re cool too. But that’s all you get. You were just a groomsmen, after all, not the groom.)
Fun trip…thanks to Matt and Larissa Boyd for the excuse to come down. Quack! (You had to be there.)