There’s nothing like a long day in uncomfortable shoes at Disneyland to make you accept the fact that hell probably really is other people after all.
I’m actually exaggerating a little bit since in the big picture, we ended up at Disneyland to celebrate Eva’s 12th birthday on what turned out to be a gloriously un-busy day. We literally walked onto several rides, and our longest waits for the more popular ones were 25-30 minutes.
We also had some wonderful, fortuitous moments like walking out of the Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor holding cones and happening upon a perfect shaded table right in front of the best spot of the parade route becoming vacant at that exact moment.
But it was while standing in line at It’s a Small World that I found myself sandwiched between two large extended families, both from different countries, each of those countries having different cultural norms about how close you’re supposed to stand to people, and the relative merits of shoving people in the side, jabbing with an elbow, creeping up to cut ahead in line, etc.
The irony of feeling incredibly xenophobic while standing in line for It’s a Small World did not escape me.
The woman behind me had her face wedged right up against my back. At one point she actually got her makeup on the back of my shirt. She also brushed her Dole pineapple whip against my purse. The people in front of us were doing the same, but in reverse, so we really were wedged.
Eva was irked that I forced the kids to go on It’s a Small World in the first place, since the kids felt it was “boring,” “annoying,” and “creepy.” Jane remembered there were “hidden Mickeys” inside Small World so she was somewhat okay with it, but the older girls were just annoyed.
Eva became obsessed with how they divided us into two lines, then our line stood still and the other line kept moving. For every three boats of theirs, one of ours set sail.
But then it was our turn. Our group had the third and fourth rows. The first and second were the annoying people who had been in front of us and the last rows were the equally annoying people from behind us. And…
….as soon as we sailed under the first arch and into darkness, which turned to bright colors, glassy eyed animatronics and glittery cutouts, everyone started singing. In English. From behind us, from in front of us, in heavy accents, from the elderly grandma (with the sharpest elbows of the entire group) to the youngest toddlers, they all sang “It’s a Small World” with complete abandonment. It was like these people from different continents who had never met before this day got together on Main Street to punk me.
It was pretty remarkable, really. Nothing like that has ever happened to me on Small World before.