Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Disneyland and Osama Bin Laden

Folks: Here is the reason why you haven’t gotten any of my  funny/irritating/boring/whatever  posts for some time:
I am sick. It’s a nasty thing called brachial plexus neuritis. It’s painful, debilitating and can last a long time. I am seeing a million doctors and undergoing a million tests.  With Neurontin and other means, I am trying to gradually function as normally as possible. But for a while, I couldn’t do anything. So here I am, trying to come back with a witty short story:

This year, we celebrated New Years’ Eve in Disneyland. That’s also where we were exactly 32 months earlier, the day Osama Bin Laden was killed. We flew to Disneyland to celebrate New Years Eve with my family - my wife and I, our daughters, our grandchildren, our son-in-law. Plus five million other people.

The attractions are varied: there is the old Disneyland park, the new part called “California Adventure,” “Downtown Disney,” which is a whole bunch of restaurants and shops, and more. You can buy single tickets, or get package deals, or the “one-day hopper,” or the “two or three-day hopper,” etc. So a ticket to the rides can cost anywhere from about one hundred dollars to $400, $500 or more. I asked whether they had discounts for senior left-handed citizens born in Hungary (me), but they didn’t.

 Then, you try to get on some of the rides. You can try to get “fast track” tickets, or you can stand in line. On December 31, a popular ride such as Space Mountain or Indiana Jones could require you to stand in line for 3 hours. That way, if you hit the park in late morning, you can get at least two rides in before dinner.

Is this a problem? Nah. We had a good time. My children and grandchildren are smarter than me. They got fast-track tickets, multiple days, etc. From their hotel, they had quick access to the park via the monorail.

My grandson and I did Autopia together, with him at the wheel. That’s where you drive a gasoline car around an enclosed track, with no possibility of derailing. I noticed a fellow right behind us, he must have been in his fifties. He was by himself, focusing real hard and concentrating on driving his car as carefully as possible. He probably didn’t have a valid drivers license, maybe he lost it because of a DUI, and he was taking the Disney Autopia ride out of nostalgia for real car driving...

We managed to do the Pirates of the Caribbean. Our eight-year old granddaughter  was petrified. She spent nearly the entire ride hiding her head in her dad’s lap.

There were fireworks early in the evening already, and again at midnight of course, for the new year. Between 9:00 PM and midnight, Disneyland’s total population put it temporarily ahead of Tokyo as the world’s largest conglomeration of people.

We went to a relatively early dinner at the Naples Pizzeria in Downtown Disney. Uncannily, we were in the very same restaurant, at just about the same time, with just about the same members of our  family on May 1, 2011:

We had just sat down and we were perusing the menu and the wine list. My youngest daughter arrived and joined us ten minutes late. She had been shopping for a purse or something. She hugged us and then she said, in an agitated voice:

“Have you heard, dad? Tomorrow, we will capture and kill Osama Bin Laden!”

“Wow!” I replied. “How do you know this?”

“I just walked by one of those electronic billboards, you know, up on top of a department store, and it was flashing a news message which said that American Navy Seals had captured and killed Osama Bin Laden. The official date and time of death, it said, was: May 2, 2012, 1:10 AM...”

“That’s good news,” I said, then adding: “I assume that he was killed somewhere in the Middle East, where it’s already tomorrow, right?”

“Right, but dad, he died tomorrow!” my witty daughter replied. “Over in Pakistan, he is already dead, but here in California, it’s still May 1, and since the official date of his death will go down in history as May 2, he is not yet dead, at least not for us here in California...”

“I love it!” I said. “You’re spinning a science fiction yarn. So if Osama Bin Laden is still alive as far as California is concerned, could he escape death by quickly moving here?”

“I suppose he could,” she said, playing along. “But I’m not sure we want him to escape death. He is a very bad man...”

“I agree. But for now, you are just PREDICTING his death, right?”


“But what about all the Internet chatter saying that he is already dead? Plus: have we heard anything from President Obama yet?”

“Not that I know. All I know is that it would be a mistake for the President to announce Bin Laden’s death today, since he is not dead until tomorrow...”

No, we weren’t smoking anything weird during our conversation. leave comment here