Wednesday, November 25, 2009

we were young together

"12 is the perfect age."

My friend, John, leaned across the lunch table to make his point, in his best professorial mode.

"You are old enough to have a vague idea how life works, but you don't have any of the adult responsibilities. You know how to fix and maintain a bicycle. How to eke out the most fun in an afternoon with friends. How to avoid adults and their silly obsessions. Practically perfect."

I should point out that it was a well-appointed lunch table in an upscale restaurant he was leaning across. Neither of us could carry off the 12-ishness with much aplomb. Like old men muttering in their country club about socialism.

But, he is correct. 12 was the perfect age. And I have heard that same sentiment from several of my friends recently.

That may be how I ended up in Disneyland for almost a full week -- to be Magic King-demned.

Depending on which version of family history you choose to believe (more of that in a later post), I have not been to Disneyland since 1955 or 1956.

My belated homecoming was originally unplanned. When I decided to take the Mexico cruise, I thought I would immediately jump on an airplane after I disembarked from the ship.

Not so fast, sport. There is only one flight to Mexico on my chosen airline -- and it leaves LA on Saturday. Only on Saturday. My ship came in on Sunday. Sunday is not Saturday.

What to do in Los Angeles for six days?

Well, some friends had the perfect suggestion: join them in looking at the technical side of Disneyland. So I did.

Now, spending a week trying to figure out how Disney works its magic does not mean that you cannot enjoy the fun that Disney offers. And I did.

I have always enjoyed amusement rides. Anything that goes fast, throws you around, and promises even the hint of severe injury will win me over for repeated rides. That means variations on roller coasters operating in the dark or the light. Fake elevators plummeting to the ground. Faux flight simulators. (Hold it. I think just turned Soarin' into an actual flying machine. In Spanish, there would be no problema.)

What pulled it all together, though. was the music. Anne Lamott once wrote about the power of music: "We're walking temples of noise, and when you add tender hearts to this mix, it somehow let's us meet in places we couldn't get to in any other way."

I thought about that quotation as I walked around the amusement park. Disney has installed high-quality speakers throughout the park, and they play uncompressed music that convinces you there must be an orchestra on the other side of the building. Music that is not intellectually challenging, but that is appropriate for families enjoying time together.

I suspect this is what Marx had in mind -- if workers could net $200,000 annually.

Would I go back? Sure.

But the next time I am stuck in Los Angeles, I will probably want to log some more roller coaster time.

I need the address for Six Flags.

And another swig of that "Now-You-Are-12" potion.


Alan said...

I am with you Steve, on the Six Flags trip! Can not tell you how many times I raced from the end of the ride to line again or another trip. Valencia is a bit out of the way (North of LA) but right on the way to Oregon, so, many times we stopped and tried to get the most rides possible out of one admission. I am afraid that 65 would keep me from most of them now, at least the ones that go round and round. I must say I can not see you at D Land for six days. Did you get to the Getty Museum?

Rick said...

Great phrase Steve "stuck in Los Angeles" (always applies).
Marx and two hundred grand?

Glad to hear you had a great trip -


Steve Cotton said...

Al -- I did not get to the Getty Museum. Maybe next time.

Calypso said...

" somehow let's us meet in places we couldn't get to in any other way."

Terrific quote Amigo - music to my ears.

Steve Cotton said...

Rick -- Who knows. I may come to love LA.

Calypso -- You can seldom go wrong with Anne Lamott.

Felipe said...

Age 12 is hardly perfect. The perfect age is when you start getting girls to take their pants off. Duh.

- Mexican Trailrunner said...

Ah, Annie Lamott, Just last night I finished Grace (Eventually). We used to live in the same town in Marin. She can certainly turn a phrase, as can you Sr. Cotton.

Islagringo said...

There's a Six Flags by Mexico City. Want to go? I, too, will go on any ride, anytime.

Charles said...

Steve - I think due to our modern communication age that 9 or 10 is probably the new 12 - kids today are really savvy early on - and I'm not so sure that's a good thing - the world is in their face 24/7 and I feel that is one of the major causes of drug abuse - the world is thrust upon them and they can't handle the reality at such a young developmental stage - so they feel a need to escape. Kind of sad in many ways.

Felipe - In light of the above and what I read in the news, there are evidently more than a few 12 year-olds shedding their clothing way before they are mature enough to accept the consequences. Once again, they have too much access to too much information early on and both parents are too busy trying to earn a decent living to give them the nurturing we had. Again - a sad footnote to our modern society.

Joe S. said...

You know I still love the "Magic Kingdom" of Disney, so much so that I try to scheme with my daughters (16 & 22)when we can go again( there is no such thing as cost containment with them). I'm wondering if you had access to "underground disney" the performers lair, etc.??

Arnie B said...

I agree with 12 being the perfect age.

$5 a week allowance, access to Dad's lawnmower for side jobs if I felt like it, free room and board, tricked out bike so I could take it fishing, Van Halen just came out with their first album, baseball in the park after dinner until you couldn't see anymore.

13 is when Dad got laid off and Mom was on disability. I started working for reals and haven't stopped since. High school years: no more sports (work), no girlfriend(work), no prom (work).

I remember 12 well.

Babs said...

I don't even remember being 12 - now 39 is a different story - entirely.

Steve Cotton said...

Felipe -- You thrive in a world of complex complications. Some of us yearn for a simpler time.

Islagringo -- We need to talk. Be there roller coasters, matey?

Mexican Trailrunner -- I have been reading Grace(Eventually) off and on for a few months. I need to get back to it -- eventually. It is not quite as well-written as some of her other essay compilations.

Charles -- John and I are of a certain age. We both agree that we want to be 12 in the era where we grew up -- not the current one.

Joe -- One of these days we will need to talk about the true adventures on this trip. Being 12 has its advantages.

Arnie B -- Glad to hear there is another vote for the Back to 12 movement.

Babs -- Funny. I remember 12 far better than almost any other age. Maybe it is a boy thing.

glorv1 said...

Just stopped by to wish you a very HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY. Enjoy.

Sounds like quite a trip.

Steve Cotton said...

Thanks, Gloria. Back at you.