Friday, July 11, 2008

Canada's Wonderland

There is a big amusement park north of Toronto, called Canada's Wonderland. It's sort of Canada's version of Disney World, only with no wandering characters, and much less helpful staff.

The kids love that place, and I'm sure there was a time when I did, too. But not so much now...I think my ever-dwindling tolerance for crowds has a lot to do with it; I'm seriously stroppy after being bumped into for the millionth time. ("No! You get out of MY way!")

I love roller-coasters, but not the hour long wait to get on one. I adore rides that spin me around so that I am reeling with vertigo, but resent mightily that the wait to get on takes about 50 times longer than the actual ride lasts. And the cost of the food in there infuriates me to the point of having a stroke.

But, the one thing Canada's Wonderland has going for it, is that it is a magnificent place to people watch. I don't know if it's the fact that there are so many people wandering around in bathing suits, (there is a water park there, it's not just what they chose to wear for the day) or that it attracts a certain demographic, but truly, you will never see a greater variety of body shapes, sizes, configurations or contours. Seeing some people, you wonder how anyone doubts that God Himself does has a wicked sense of humor.

I've come to the conclusion that nobody looks good at an amusement park, and believe me, some people try mightily. Almost everyone looks as though, as my mother would say, they have been dragged through a hedge backwards. Whether it's because of the rides, which either whirl you aggressively, or get you all wet, or the slathering of sunscreen that makes everyone look as though they've been wrestling with pigs, or the deep weariness that comes from walking a thousand miles and then waiting an hour in line, but most people at the park looked like they could use a good shower and a nap. Some people, usually young or foolish or both, put in a heroic effort to buck this trend, and wore high heels or lots of jewelry or tons of makeup or carefully chosen, co-ordinating clothes. It just made them look like they were trying too hard.

While we were waiting for one ride, there was a nearby family that absolutely enthralled me; I could have watched them all day. Firstly, there was about 30 of them all congregated in one spot, and they ranged in age from tiny, tiny babies to a grandmother who had to have been a hundred and fifty. Honestly, she looked like she had invented dirt, she was so old. Anyway, the women all had on dazzlingly beautiful saris (they were East Indian), which were not only exquisite, had the added bonus of looking entirely suitable for the punishing heat we found ourselves in. They talked non-stop and at full volume. There were two little girls with them, about 4 or 5 years old, who clearly had breakfasted on Ritalin, crack cocaine and Red Bull. Their sole purpose in life seemed to be to make as much noise as was humanly possible, and to thrash the living shit out of each other, simultaneously. Every now and again, an adult in the group would put a hand in between them, but for the mostpart, nobody took the slightest notice of them. The men seemed to be the designated Holder of Babies, because they all had at least two or three of them and any one time. There was one man, who had shaved his head, and it was almost perfectly cubic. Honestly, it was the most square head I've ever seen; there were definite right angles and corners and everything. This group captivated me utterly; I would have happily spent the rest of the day hanging around them, they were such good value for money.

The sun was relentless all day, and Canada's Wonderland has a dearth of shade, and so there was every manner and hue of sunburn you could imagine. Sunscreen isn't exactly difficult to find; you could even buy some at the park, if you didn't mind taking out a small loan to do so. There were some sunburns I would classify as "Deep Fried". I imagine they would need morphine after sundown.

We spent a few minutes chatting to the guy who operates the Merry-Go-Round. Thing 1 remarked that she had had enough of being thrashed around on rides, and wanted something a bit more sedate. That led the Operator Guy to remark that this was actually one of the rides they needed the most insurance on in the park, since it had no restraints. Thing 1 and I to began to riff on the idea that maybe we would start a new ride for amusement parks everywhere, the "Extreme Merry-Go-Round", whereby the thing whips around at a fierce rate, forcing your blood to separate while still in your body! You'd have to wear helmets and gloves, because you'd be hanging on so hard, and bodies would go flying off all over the place. And we would slam on the breaks really hard and without prior notice, and your head would bang into the pole in the horse. (Here's where the helmet would come in really handy.) Thing 1 and I were in stitches during this, and the Operator Guy thought it was pretty funny, too. But he thought that maybe it was a good thing we were not in charge of the Merry-Go-Round after all.

After being pummelled and assaulted and whalloped by rides for ten hours, we called it quits and drove home. It was a good day.

1 comment:

Big Liver Girl said...

hey loudshoes... my fave lines are "dragged through a hedge backwards" - thank you mrs. O.... and "deep weariness" because I know that feeling so well and I haven't even been to Canada's Wonderland in this millenium.

Oh and "so old she looks like she invented dirt".

excellent work my friend.