Monday, June 14, 2010

Observations from a Bench - Yokels versus Locals

Disneyland was a success!

Now that we have left the palm trees, high taxes, and earthquakes (TWO!) far behind, I am doing laundry and reliving the best moments of our week.

The children were indeed surprised by our planned two-day detour to Disneyland on the way to Palm Springs...

It took them a few minutes to get used to the idea. Then, they were bouncing off the hotel walls. Literally.

My favorite moments were exploring Tom Sawyer's Island with the children, and watching Little Man's delight with the Monorail. Of course, watching Real Gil with the kids was great fun too.

After a morning of exploring the park and standing in long lines, I happily volunteered to sit with a sleeping Sugs while Real Gil and Grandma each took a conscious child and conquered the remaining rides.

There was a bench in the shade that had my name written all over it. I even parked the stroller at an angle so no one else could sit on the bench with me. Then, I got any scraps of paper I could find and started people watching.

Here was my main observation: at Disneyland, there are locals and there are yokels. These categories are mutually exclusive so you can only belong to one or the other.
  • If you want to look like a small-town yokel at Disneyland, wear Crocs with socks, don't rub your sunscreen in completely, and stop your stroller mid-stride to check your map and drive everyone behind you absolutely crazy. (I may or may not be guilty of the last one).

  • If you want to look like a big-city local at Disneyland, wear your high heels and only go on two rides the entire day. You can do that because you have an annual pass and don't feel any pressure to stand in long lines. Spend some time laughing at the yokels who run from ride to ride.

  • If you want to embarrass your husband at Disneyland, make the entire family wear matching shirts so you can find one another quickly. Most mothers I know think this is a great idea, I know I did...until I came here and sat on this bench today. Now, I just start giggling when I see yet another man leading or following a family all wearing neon green shirts. You might as well put a label on your forehead that says, "We're from out-of-town."
  • Window shopping is always fun, and it's even funner if you are sitting on a discreet bench watching other people do it. Here's the scoop: the locals do not window shop. They use the window's reflection to check their hair, make-up, and clothes, but they could care less about the overpriced, tie-dyed Tinkerbell sweatshirts or Rastafarian Mickey Mouse ears. They instinctively know that while "I'm Grumpy" t-shirts might earn you a laugh in the park, they'll only get you smirks in Orange County. Now, the yokels, on the other hand, were a bit more complex. They seemed to fall into two sub-categories: the spenders and the thrifters. The spenders veered straight for those shining double doors. They were at this amusement park to find amusement, and if it wasn't enough to ride the rides and take in the shows, by golly, it was going to be amusing to shop. I watched one of these families push through the double doors (refreshing me with a burst of in-store air conditioning) with bags of Disney goodness and then stopped right outside the store in dismay, wondering how they were going to carry all of their bags throughout the day. Being yokels, they are optimistic and innovative, especially at Disneyland. These hardy folks just pulled all their purchases out of the bags, ripped off the tags, and wore their new souvenirs. One child even hung a Christmas ornament off his sweatshirt zipper. You know you are a yokel if you have a "Disneyland 2010" ornament as part of your accessories. Like I said, not all yokels were taken in by the attraction to spend. There were the thrifters. They ate whole wheat sandwiches from Ziploc bags as they walked from ride to ride. The parents ripped into their sliced ham and cheese with "a penny saved is a penny earned" gusto, while the children did their best to not ogle the stands selling funnel cakes and ice cream. I heard one father reason to his child, "For that price, I could buy my own cotton candy machine and make you as much cotton candy as you wanted!" But we all know he was not headed to the cotton candy machine store to actually buy one. That's where every child gets confused.
Because we are part of the thrifters and definitely part of the yokels, I will take a moment to do what I do best - make snide remarks about how ridiculous we are. The thrifters - at least this family of thrifters - does other extreme things to 1) save money and 2) induce the mockery of the locals around us. We eat out of the park as much as possible, and let our children get their sugar highs at breakfast before we get to Disneyland.

Like Sugs here, who guzzled high fructose corn syrup
instead of eating her Mickey Mouse pancakes

Thrifters would never pay $15 a pop for the mid-rollercoaster pictures. They simply wait for the the picture of their family to pop up and then...take a picture of the computer screen. Good 'nuf.

In conclusion, we definitely fall in the yokel category at Disneyland, where practicality trumps vanity. Practical shoes, practical goals, practical expenses. It's why I had a helium balloon attached to my stroller so we could all find the stroller out of the hundreds parked in the stroller parking areas. (Y.O.K.E.L.) It's also why we brought in our own drinks and fruit; my practical brain waves said it was okay to spend money on sugar fluff called cotton candy but not on a bottle of water or a doggone banana. And all of this practicality amounts to us being firmly planted in the not-so-local category. We accepted this with ease, I think. We took too many pictures, wrestled our stroller out of the deep, inlaid, steel trolley-car ridges that run down the center of Main Street, and carried our maps proudly. Our Mickey Mouse ears might have marked us as yokels, but we wore them anyways.

And we survived to tell about it.

Resting in Him Today,


Kris said...

Haha. We're dying at that picture of Ben and Craig on the ride. Steve says that Ben looks like he just snorted a line of Coke. (He would know what that should look like) Love ya.
Kris and Steve

Karen said...

You know, Uncle Keve, that stuff might have grown like weeds in Afghanistan but here in America, it's illegal. Just say no!

Love you guys,