What would you call a woman who just three weeks ago was at Disney World and now finds herself at Disneyland?
I would call her a theme park junkie. But it was not my fault I was once again at the Magic Kingdom (California edition). It was my husband’s. He had a meeting near Disney, leaving us no choice but to spend a day enjoying all that Mickey has to offer.
I’m always up for a good compare and contrast adventure, so this time, fanny pack free (I made my husband wear it), I ventured off into the low humidity wonder of Southern California. Oh, the joy of not having sweat seizures! I was skipping, that’s right, skipping down Main Street singing, “Zippity Do Da, Zippity Day, I’m not sweating through my underwear today!”
I was in high spirits until we stood in line for our first ride and discovered that the park was rife with line jumpers. And if you’re thinking teenagers being jerks, think again. The offenders were moms with their entire extended family moving through the line like Pacman gobbling those dot things. It even surpassed the behavior of Black Friday crowds at the State Line Walmart the year Halo 4 came out.
This brazen act was at first met with disbelief. Mothers would not/should not boldly stomp through a line without so much as an “excuse me while I model horrible, entitled, my-needs-trump-everyone’s, the-rules-weren’t-made-for-me behavior” to their children.
It took a couple of times of this happening before I was even able to formulate an action plan. But by my fourth family line jumper experience I had perfected what I call the “Disney Stance.” It’s where you go Yul Brynner in “The King and I” and stand with your hands on your hips utilizing a full elbow extension. This creates a very effective blocking maneuver, or at the very least requires the matriarch of the line jumpers to ask you to get of her way, thus starting a Q & A.
It begins with the mom barking the word “move.” You don’t even get an “excuse me” but a matter-of-fact, demanding, “Move.” That’s my cue to ask, “Why?”
This usually stumps them. Which I found very disappointing. If you’re going to rudely line jump, the very least I, or the people who you are leap frogging over, should get is a well thought out, saga with lots of call-to-action verbs about why you need to get to the front. A blank stare does not create a sense of urgency. For me to lower my Yul Brynner elbows, you better bring it in the story department.
When they inevitably didn’t bring it, I would, in my best southern charm school voice, which I learned in Miss Lavina’s Junior Cotillion etiquette and protocol classes (it’s a real thing, people), tell them to go to the back of the line. Only once did someone attempt to still get past me, but my moisturized and fully sunscreened elbows remained stalwart.
All this drama irritated my husband. And get this: He blamed me! He even suggested that I must release some sort of pheromone that attracts wackadoodles. My daughter betrayed me and sided with her dad, announcing to the world at large, or the 20 people nearest to us in line for the Radiator Springs Racers ride (FYI, it’s awesome), that I was a “crazy magnet.”
I delighted in telling both of them that they couldn’t be more wrong. While other people allow or ignore crazy, I call the crazies on their crazy. In fact, let’s just throw it all out there and say I’m a brave warrior in the fight against crazy. My actions should be applauded, not met with derision.
This proclamation of my greatness was met with eye rolls and a family decision that we would only go on rides with a Fastpass. Obtaining a Fastpass requires a modicum of advanced planning and the ability to read a Disneyland map, thus acting as a very successful crazy barrier.
Sure, I could have gotten mad at my family for their lack of respect for my varied and abundant talents, but there was a lovely low humidity breeze blowing and Mickey Mouse was walking right toward me. When he unexpectedly veered off, my husband whispered to me, “I think he smelled the crazy.” That’s when I gave him an Yul Brynner elbow jab to his left kidney and smiled.
I was feeling the Disney magic after all.
Freelancer Sherry Kuehl of Leawood writes Snarky in the Suburbs in 913 each week. You can follow her on Facebook at Snarky in the Suburbs, on Twitter at @snarkynsuburbs and read her blog at snarkyinthesuburbs.com. She’s also written a book, “Snarky in the Suburbs Back to School.”