Friday, January 8, 2016
The day I opened a can of whoop-sass at Universal Studios
In my previous post I alluded to a story involving my inner beast being released at Universal Studios. This is the rest of the story. In order to fully appreciate this, you need to know a little fact... we spent an embarrassing amount of money to get into the park that day.
Let's just say that the Universal Studios' website is *challenging* to navigate. Here is my chance to announce to the world that UNIVERSAL STUDIOS has no where near the level of customer service and ease and doesn't hold a candle to DISNEY! It was like the JV version of a theme park, in my mind, and if it hadn't been for the enthusiasm of my children toward going to the Harry Potter section of the park, we would have gotten our money back and marched right out of there. But my kids were BONKERS about going to Harry Potter's Diagon Alley. So we bit the bullet, paid an obscene amount of money and enjoyed our Express Pass (which was the portion of the ticket that proved to be so confusing).
Because Harry Potter was our family's main focus, we rushed directly to that ride. PS- one of two rides at Universal that does not allow you to use your Express Pass is the Harry Potter ride. So after you've already sold a kidney and your youngest child in order to have enough means to enter the park with an express pass in hand, you get to stand in line with everyone else. For ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY MINUTES.
I'll just tell you right now, there are not many things I would waste two hours of my life standing in line for, but this ride was TOTALLY WORTH IT. It was awesome and fun and spectacular and made me laugh and scream. With that being said, the waiting wasn't the problem... it was the other patrons of the park who didn't want to wait that were the problem.
I know you've been there if you've ever had kids, been to an amusement park or any other event in life when you are so excited. That moment when you round a corner and realize the cost that must be paid in order to enjoy said event. So it was as we entered the line for the ride and realized all of those black railings that snaked and coiled for what seemed to be an eternity (only to realize this was just the outside portion of the wait.. there were more coils and rails waiting for us inside.) And we were all in this together... people with casts, boots, wheelchairs and even chemo kids. No one got the express pass here!
So we chatted it up with the nice family in front of us for the first 10 minutes of the wait. All decked out in Baylor gear (they were headed to the bowl game later that night.) We began the chat when Quinn (after only 10 minutes of being in line) was already *exhausted* and went to lean on Steve but accidentally hugged one of the young adult Baylor fans instead. (This is a crucial detail that comes into play soon.) We had a chuckle and on we went, snaking and coiling.
Nearly 40 minutes into the wait, I realized three teenage girls were suddenly in front of us. They looked to be about 15/16 years old. Hmmm.... interesting. I spent a few minutes trying to figure out if they were with Baylor. But clearly they were not. I boiled inside giving myself the little, "teenagers are stupid and don't use their head all the time" pep talk. After another 8 minutes and seeing a few more elderly people waiting ahead of us and watching their one friend (we were now down to two girls in front of us) cut the line once again at a *convenient* spot, I mentioned something to Steve and his mom. What really upset me most were the couple of cancer kids that I saw her cut in front of.
Here is something you need to know about me... I'm not one for confrontation. I will just as soon eat a crappy meal out than send it back to make it right. I just don't really like to make too many waves. But when it comes to injustice or breaking the rules or cheating, I can get feisty.
Steve's mom mentioned something to the two girls and asked where their friend went when it looked like they were about to bolt as well. More of a way to let them know we were on to them. I wished I would have said something to them immediately when I first realized they had cut in front of us. They were really slick. I may not have even noticed they had cut, but remember when Quinn had hugged Baylor's leg? Yep. I was very aware of who had started out in line with us from the beginning. And Cutie Patootie One Direction Groupies were not them!!!
Now it was about an hour into the wait (1/2 down!!! 1/2 to go) and here comes Cutie Pattoties' mom and dad excusing themselves and moving in front of us. WHAT THE WHAT??!! (And here I go. Unable to control myself....)
Me: "Excuse me, did you just go in front of us?"
the "dad": "Oh, yes. We are just joining our kids. They were saving a place for us in line."
ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????????
Me: "OH, well, that's nice except your kids cut in line in front of us about 30 minutes ago."
the "dad" : "Oh, sorry about that."
Me: "No. Not sorry about that. You don't get to just come in line and cut an hour into the line when your kids actually cut in front of us. They did not start in line in front of us. They cut."
Then from behind me another teenage boy says under his breath to the girl he is with, "Geez. No need to get upset, we are all going to the same place."
So I whipped my head around with what must have been fire in my eyes and said, "True, but its not the same when you jump line like they did. Not for a line with a 2 hour wait!"
To which he says, "Well, I'm with them too!."
Me back to the dad: "Seriously, you are going to now tell me 7 people have jumped the line and you are okay with that? Are you seriously okay with that? "
Steve's mom says to the parents, "It's not us but rather all of the people who are unable of standing in line that is the problem. There are kids with cancer standing in this line but your girls are cutting in front of them."
The mom's conscience must have got the better of her because she insisted that we go ahead of them. At this point we are now making a big scene as Steve is talking to the dad about getting the authorities involved, Olivia is in tears because she thinks we are in a fight and then Quinn says to me, "Mom, what does B*tch mean??"
Teenage boy had just been saying the "b" word because I had just overheard his saying something to the girlfriend he was with. That is when I totally lost my mind!!! (And a part that I'm a touch wishing I could re-do).
I then turn to the dad of this group and say to Quinn : "Why don't you ask this gentleman what B*tch means. Apparently his kids are familiar with the word. Would you like to tell my kid what B*tch means????" (I'm pretty sure I've never used that word in front of my kids and I had just used it 3 times in 8 seconds at that insane moment.) Not one of my finer ones.
So the dad says to the teenage boy, "Did you just use the "b" word?" Teenage boy says, "No, SHE did ----> " Pointing to Gramma...... what?? I'll tell you one thing I would bet all my money on (which wouldn't be much since we spent it all getting into this asinine park) is that Gramma would NEVER use the "b" word in front of her grandkids.
In which case I was like, "Gramma, did you just use the "b" word in front of Quinn?" Naturally she answered no. So now we were dealing with cheaters, potty mouths AND liars. I couldn't take another minute of it. I had to just take our rightful place in line and try to calm down. Baylor finally said something to us and them about the girls cutting and that was that. For the next 35 minutes we had to stand right in front of them until we got on the ride. It was terrible and awkward and made my blood boil.
I think the thing that sent me over the top was the parents and how they interacted with us. Never an admittance of wrong doing. Never a seek to understand. Not a word to the girls or their teenage son for cussing in front of an 8 year old. Saving places was happening all around us, but clearly people were sitting on the ledge or against the wall while their able bodied family/ friends snaked and coiled. What got me was the line hopping and the idea that they didn't want to wait in line... so they didn't.
I will say, I let it rob some of my joy for a bit, but I was able to move on. It was good to remember that I want to teach my kids what is right and what is not. Before I cast the first stone, I realize that there will be times that I won't be with them. They will make bad choices and do bone headed stuff. I will do my best to give them manners and respect for others. I hope they will live accordingly. I can teach and guide, but I can't make choices for them for their whole lives. But I certainly would not support their misbehavior when I know they are in the wrong.
Although the world is obviously filled with WAY more injustices that line jumping at a theme park, it is a slippery slope. I hope that what my kids will learn and what I will learn to do a better job of is speaking up to those injustices even when it causes discomfort. Even when there may not be an immediate result. Even if others think I am making a scene. I'm hoping that one of those 7 people in that group will walk away considering not doing the selfish act of line jumping (which is most likely a metaphor for how they live the rest of their lives) again. I also hope that in the future I will speak up immediately when I see something wrong. I hope I will do it kindly yet firmly.
I also hope it is years before Quinn ever does find out what the "b" word means!