I am asking myself, "did I wind up in a mid-90's Toyota
Corrola with a woman I work with and her screaming,
illegitimate child, blaring loud, irritating gangsta
rap of the Puff Daddy variety, on my way to a waterslide
park on one of my last days in Seattle?"
that's an excellent question.
have always attempted to not become friends with the
people I work with; given my astonishing track record
of quitting jobs (I've had nine in the last three
years), gaining emotional attachements to my fellow
drones has always seemed a little pointless. However,
as I held on to my last job absurdly long to exploit
my health care, vacation days and overtime privleges,
I became more than just "that quiet guy who always
seems like he's gonna kill somebody."
a twist of fate more convoluted than my stomach after
eating at Arbys, I wound up managing the document
retreival department, with four people under me, all
older than myself. One of them, Jennifer, was the
sister of another person in the company, and, due
to a complicated and frankly ridiculous series of
events, I was conducting a clandestine affair with
her sister's boss. That's why I try not to get involved
- office politics. Anyway, when Jennifer off-handedly
remarked that her and her sister had gone to Wild
Waves (a local water entertainment facility and drain-grate
for obese white trash of every variety) I made a big
fuss about them not inviting me. In my youth, it had
been a fantastic place; I even had one of my birthdays
there. Little did I know what a cruel trick time was
about to play on one of my last pure memories.Originally,
we were going to go go-kart racing out at Ocean Shores,
a prospect made even more ridiculous by the fact that
I have no idea how to drive, but the magnitude of
that venture quickly became overwhelming, and we shelved
it in favor of waterslides and sunburns. So one Saturday
in July, after I had left my job and moved back in
with my mother in preparation for my move to New York,
Jennifer rolled up in her car, smoking a cigarette,
and we were off. The trip was as uneventful as any
trip with a crying child can be, and, after meeting
her sister and her gap-toothed, lanky, ex-Marine boyfriend
in a bank parking lot in some anonymous suburb and
stopping at Burger King to fuel the kid (I declined),
we were off!
arrived, parked what seemed like several miles from
the entrance in a dusty gravel parking lot that made
my eyes bleed, and went to the gate, where we shelled
out a fat $20 each, and I was informed that my regulation
black cut-offs were not acceptable, and that I would
not be allowed to go down any slides.
this point, a wiser man would have simply given up
and spent the day lying on a beach-towel praying for
sunstroke and blessed unconsciousness. Me, however,
am not smart.Yes, there was an overpriced gift shop.
Yes, they sold the kind of swim trunks that were OK
for the watersliding.Yes, they were motherfucking
expensive. Yes, I bought a pair. $30. My wallet was
now officially empty. But man,it was gonna be worth
it! Action! Woo!
me and the ex-marine and the illegitimate mulatto
child went merrily to the building that housed the
lines for the slides, after they applied a spray-on
sunscreen that would prove to be amazingly worthless
as our skin reddened and puckered under the blazing
day. Arriving at the foot of the line, we were greeted
with a cheery sign reading "45 Minute Wait from This
settled in. The line moved slowly, our vision obscured
by obese fatbags in nylon suits stretched past their
limits, furrows and fissures running through their
corpulence. I was thankful I hadn't eaten. The line
switchbacked up a half-dozen flights of stairs, and
we were seemingly no closer to the top. If I had had
a watch, it would have driven me insane. Thin streams
of urine ran down the gently sloped hallways.
child became impatient, and it fell to the ex-Marine
to keep him entertained, as my presence there was
alien, an observer. I didn't belong there, and I knew
it. I missed the cool, mushroom-cellar ambiance of
my house. I had never smelled so many different flavors
of sweat and human funk. No light could be seen. I
began to become claustrophobic. A sign read "15 Minute
Wait from This Point," but by this time I had stopped
we made it to the top. I went down the slide that
I had remembered with a combination of awe and terror
from my youth, an assemblage of hairpin turns and
crazy drops, joyous in the knowledge that my increased
weight = more inertia = faster speeds.
It was primarily a letdown, over too soon and the
water, chlorinated heavily enough to kill anything
in it under 12 pounds, burned my eyes, nose and mouth.
I staggered out of the pool at the bottom, one hand
on the waistband of my ill-fitting new shorts, the
other frantically rubbing my face.
spent some time in the wave pool, a massive area with
artificial wave generators running through a 15-minute
cycle and a tape of top-40 music piped at deafening
volume and repeating constantly, as it was all over
the park. I heard "Devil's Haircut" by Beck a good
12 times, which didn't really bother me, but I heard
"Mmmbop" by Hanson a good 12 times, which did. Listlessly
floating, barely keeping my head above water and attempting
to forget, I was kicked in the face by a size-10 foot
atop an inflatable raft, getting a good look at corns
and psoriasis as it floated away. As the raft pivoted
around, I came face-to-face with a horrible mongoloid,
retarded beyond belief. He blew a spit bubble and
floated lazily away. I retired to shore.
group went to a nearby overpriced concession stand
to buy themselves some lingering bacterial infections
and I was left, sporadically ogling fourteen-year-old
girls and cursing my life.
we waited in line for a roller-coaster that gave me
a migrane so bad that even thinking about it makes
me wince, saw a grotesque hausfrau wheeling around
a boy of seven or eight in an enormous stroller, and
everywhere people stuffing their faces and having
fun. By this point, my paranoia had become so great
that I was convinced they could sense me, they knew
that i was urban, educated, not like them, and that
when my back was turned they would strike, crease
my brow with a shovel and bury me in the duck pond,
unsurprisingly devoid of ducks.
a few years ago I had been so happy to be here, convinced
that this place was the apotheosis of human fun. What
was wrong with me? What had gone wrong with me that
a place that made children happy, that gave people
a chance to get out of the hot sun and buy frozen
bananas and gorge themselves on them, why did that
make me so pained? What was wrong with me?
another excellent question.