Waiting Is Not Easy
Updated: Feb 1, 2020
This past weekend, I found myself on a 4-day vacation to Disney World with my husband, daughter, sister and family, and mom. I honestly did think it would be an easy trip, relaxing almost. Sure we'd have to elbow our way through crowds of vacationers to wait in queues for an absurdly long time only to sit on a ride that lasted 2 minutes. But we were all going to be together, so who cared. And my older sister, Melissa, whom I trusted implicitly, planned everything out.
The trouble started on the first day as we approached the line for Avatar at Animal Kingdom. My older sister, Melissa, the organizer of the family, looked from her carefully written out to-do list to me.
"The line is too long and this ride is boring anyway," she said. Melissa had spent weeks planning out this trip, organizing fast passes for the entire group, and even packing enough snacks for everyone, bearing in mind any dietary restrictions for group members. But this ride was not in the plan.
"Well it's a ride and the kids want to do something," I said, ignoring her itinerary. I've always been the rule breaker in the family, and the lazy sister. When Melissa and I were younger we worked at Dunkin' Donuts together. The two of us would be alone Saturday afternoons and while she manned the front counter, handling walk-ins and drive-thru customers at breakneck speed, I smoked joints in the back room with my friends. That dynamic hasn't changed much over the years, except I no longer do drugs.
So we got in line for the ride. But then mom decided she had to go to the bathroom, and, without warning, took off on her motorized scooter. (She did that a lot throughout the trip.) As she vanished in the distance, Melissa grumbled about having to get out of the queue. By then there were 20 or so people behind us and she didn't want to have to wait longer.
"Let's just stay and mom will join us if she can," I said. Clearly my marijuana smoking days chilled me out.
Melissa's hands started to shake with agitation. Her plans for the weekend were already falling apart. She turned to the kids, hoping to get them to defect to the non-riders side. "Do you kids really want to go on this ride? It's slow and boring," she said. The kids ignored her. (That's not a knock on Melissa. They pretty much ignore every adult, unless you say something like, 'I have candy for you.')
Melissa then turned her attention back to me, a panicked look on her face. "I can't wait in this line. What's mom going to do when she gets back? She won't be able to get in. Why did she have to go to the bathroom now? I'm just going to wait somewhere." Melissa started to get out of the line.
"Melissa, come on, the kids are fine, and we all get to go on a ride."
"But what's mom going to do?" she said, her voice rising to a fever pitch as if we were soldiers leaving a man behind for dead.
"She's a big girl. She'll manage."
Melissa went silent, defeated, and we all stood in line enjoying our own thoughts or listening to podcasts while the kids played around with the ropes that were strewn about to manage the crowd.
But 10 minutes later, boredom set in. My daughter, Evelyn, started tugging at my sweater asking for ice cream, and Landon and Brooke decided to turn the queue into a Ninja Warrior obstacle course.
"Would you kids get off of that rock? You're going to hurt yourselves," Melissa said.
"Yeah and a trip to the hospital is not on the schedule," I added.
I scrambled to download an app on my phone, hoping that a game of charades would placate the kids. Then, another wave of 'I hate waiting in the line' rose up in Melissa, who at this point developed a plan.
"You know, if you go to guest services and say you have anxiety, they will scan your ride card so that you don't have to wait in lines." My eyebrows raised and Melissa continued. "You don't get a fast pass, but they give you a time to return to the ride so you don't have to wait. And everyone in your group will get the same thing. Would you want to do that?"
I considered the option and how anxious my sister was already making me. But I just didn't feel comfortable asking for that.
Just then mom called to say she was done going to the bathroom and Melissa asked her if she wanted to get a pass to not wait in lines. And of course my mom did. This, I realized, made sense. She would not have to lie about a mental disorder and frankly, we all might've gone mad waiting in line together, especially with my mom, the great talker. I don't know how, but my mom has an uncanny knack for memorizing facts and scenarios in precise detail. And she willingly recites this information without warning or provocation. Mention a date and she can tell you what she and everyone else in the entire universe was doing that day, including what they ate. Ask about a law or historical incident and she can recite an entire book, word-for-word, on the topic. By mid morning we had a head full of facts about the opening of Disney World in Orlando thanks to my mom. Her memory truly is amazing, but can be a bit much if you're waiting in a line that's 3 hours long.
For the time being, our wait continued, as did my sister's exhortations for her kids to stop climbing on anything and everything around us. The charades game I downloaded on my app was full of bugs and barely worked, and Evelyn started removing the grass from the sides of the line and dumping it onto the walkway. I broke down and promised the kids ice cream once we got off the ride if they would just calm down. Then mom called to say she got the pass and we all seemed to relax a bit, including mom, who informed us she was going to take her anti-depressant before meeting us at the entrance to the ride.
Ten minutes later we were all stepping into a plastic log to be taken through the magical world of Avatar. Mom, who joined us at the top, was pissed about an interaction she had with the ticket taker at the bottom of the ride. And Melissa was pissed, because she's Melissa. At the end of the rather serene trip through this fictitious world, mom and Melissa resumed their complaining and the kids started begging me for ice cream. "Ok, ok." I said. "Let's just figure out were we're going first."
Everyone in the group looked to Melissa, our de facto leader, ie the only responsible person in our party, and asked, "Where are we going now?"
Her eye started twitching and she bit her lip as she perused the to-do list and reviewed the Disney app downloaded to her phone. She sighed, realizing that she would be spending the weekend yelling at kids and managing her adult family members to maximize everyone else's enjoyment. "We should head over to our first fast pass," she said. And we all dutifully followed her orders.
The rest of the day was fairly tame, in my oblivious opinion, but by the following morning, Melissa's impatience for the rest of us reached a breaking point. We were supposed to arrive at Magic Kingdom by 10:00am for a fast pass to visit with some Disney princesses. But by 9:30, the kids were still eating breakfast and mom hadn't yet emerged from the shower.
Suddenly Melissa announced to the group that she was leaving us, and raced out of the hotel room, the door slamming behind her.
I tried to catch up to ask her which ride we should meet at first, and then rallied the troops to get in the cars. Later, I told Sebastien that we should get Melissa a gift for organizing the whole trip for us. "Maybe a ticket to Disney World," I said.
Sebastien looked at me blankly. "That would be a cruel joke."