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We went away for a few days to an unnamed theme park. (I wanted to provide a look at how the resort was going green, and asked for a few interviews but the theme park PR people refused me. So the resort doesn’t get a shout out here!) While I was there, I realized that we, as a society, can learn a lot by watching the masses walk around with their hats and their pins and their personalized t-shirts. Here goes:

  • Sometimes you gotta wait, sometimes you don’t. We were lined up for a Christmas event at the park. It was a very, very long line. Two women decided they didn’t want to wait, so they jumped in front of us. We complained, but they ignored us. They should have waited. Fast forward one day. We’re at a buffet restaurant. The people in front of us were taking forever to pick out their potatoes and bread. The pans ahead of them were empty. I didn’t want potatoes and bread, so I moved ahead of them. I didn’t make them wait. I didn’t cut anyone else. The lesson: Only cut if you’re not putting someone out or making someone wait.
  • You need to be polite even if people aren’t watching. We’re on the bus to said location. It’s really dark. No one can see. And there they were: sneezes. Uncovered sneezes, I could tell. We heard a lot of them while we were away. I also observed adult nose picking, nasty coughs, butt picking, crotch adjustment, and ear wax examination. (People, what are you thinking?!?) Lesson: Just because you don’t see someone watching, doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to be disgusting or put people at risk. And yes, we all have nasty colds now. Thanks a lot.
  • Be careful of what you say in public. We were chatting away on one of the lines, when all of a sudden the person turned around. “Where are you from,” he wanted to know. We told him. Turns out he graduated with my nephew last year. He knows him, actually. More than 1,500 miles away from home, we bumped into someone who knows someone we know. The lesson: Don’t talk about anyone in public or say somethng about them that you wouldn’t want them to hear. Ever. Because there’s a good chance it will get back to them.
  • Vacations are for rest. We didn’t have much time this vacation. My husband is going in for another operation on Monday. He’s in a lot of pain, so we knew going in our time in the parks would be limited. Still, we pushed ourselves. The vacation — what we had — wasn’t very relaxing. The lesson: Don’t do so much. As I’ve said before, enjoy the ride rather than focusing on the destination.
  • The people — not the place — are what really matters. My husband and I both agreed our vacation was for the kids. We were just there to pay for everything, and cart them around. Were the parks great? Yes, but we realized early on that the kids didn’t care where we were. They just wanted some uninterrupted time with Mom and Dad. The lesson: Take plenty of mini-vacations from your life, and you’ll make yourself and your family happy. Turn off the TV. Take the phone off the hook. Leave the cell phones and BlackBerry (and iPhone and G1) in the car. You can cram an entire vacation day into one game of Scrabble and a picnic on the kitchen floor.

I missed you guys while I was away! I meant to blog, but I was so busy at work and at the parks that I was too pooped to write at night. I’m back! Would love to hear what you’ve learned on your vacations. BTW: I’ll be posting a late-night Favorite Things Friday later today, and Crunchy & Green news updates this weekend.

5 Responses to “All I Need to Know I Learned at the Theme Park”

  1. Shari G says:

    It is nice to have time away and its nice to relax. We are into taking relaxing vacations both with the kids and without. We still have managed to relax even with the kids. We go low key and spend a lot of time just sitting by a pool. As for all the things you learned at the amusement park, I agree that masses of people do gross and rude things!

  2. Ulrike says:

    You’ve had some great learning experiences there, very funny! I agree though that, however much I like to travel to new places, it is the people rather than the places that matter.
    We have learned that holidays are about compromise. We take it in turns to do something for each one of us – if daughter wants a day by the pool, she gets it but will be aware that the next day I might just have to check out the local sights and dad will get his turn doing some watersports after. It works for us as we are willing to accomodate everybody else because we will get our turn in the end.

  3. sheri says:

    While I think all of the points you made are so important, the one I hope people listen to and try to adapt into their lives is to be polite. This drives me insane when I go out in public. I remember when people used to not let doors slam on you in public places, yes, they would actually look behind them to see if anyone else was coming. I remember when people wouldn’t cut in line without asking if it was okay, and most people usually said yes. I certainly remember a time when you didn’t have to have a showdown in a parking space over a spot you had been waiting three minutes for. I go out of my way to be as polite as I can, I believe I can be the change I want to see in the world :) but seriously, is it too much to ask to consider our fellow men, women and children while out of our homes. A little politeness goes a long way to building a happier society. Thanks for your observations! They are right on!

  4. Joene says:

    Vacation is for rest? Not when your kids are young! We always used to joke that we needed a vacation to recoup from our vacation. But after all the years and trials it took to raise all four, we all still enjoy vacationing together, except now we all like to sit on a beach. Oh yeah … we often run into people we know when we’re on vacation.

  5. MarthaandMe says:

    We have had the weird experience of meeting people from home while away too. And we always seeem to try to do too much on vacation.

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