“Should we do it?”
“I don’t know–they could really like it, but they also could really hate it.”
“Yeah, I know. But how often are we here?”
“Exactly. If we don’t go now, we might not get to at all.”
We were so close. The timing was almost perfect. Sure, it could end horribly, with double toddler tantrum a cappella until it was over, but that line of thinking would imply that any new experience with the Twins has such potential. Pessimistically speaking, the whole trip was a risk, but we’d gotten this far without a hitch, and now, in The Happiest Place on Earth, the optimism was running high. And there was just no way we were going to leave Disneyland without going on The Pirates of the Caribbean.
You see, to us, this wasn’t just a ride. It was a pilgrimage of sorts, a half-decade in the making.
One the earliest conversations my wife and I had when we first started dating in January 2007 involved divulging each of our Favorite Things Ever–you know, one of those late-night heart-to-heart sessions common to the super-duper thrill of a new relationship. I had learned early on about her incredible sense of smell–we’re talking vampire-caliber here (to this day she can literally detect a poop-filled diaper from the opposite side of the house). With that in mind, I eventually wound up asking her what her Absolute Favorite Smell was.
Without hesitation, she replied, “The smell in The Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.”
I was taken aback–I hadn’t expected something so specific. “Really? THAT’S your favorite smell?”
“Absolutely. It has this sweet, musty, kind of old side, but also this fresh, watery feel. And then there’s all the pirates and singing. It reminds me of simpler times, when I’d go to Disneyland with my family and being on Pirates was just the best thing ever. It just…The thought of it makes me happy.”
I then imagined myself riding it–the thrill of the pitch-black drop, the splashing cannons, the singing scalawags, the way the faux night sky looks so damn real…and that smell…
“Yeah, you know, now that I think about it, that is a pretty awesome smell.”
“I think I’ll take you there someday.”
Avast, ye scurvy lubbers! As ye know, me crew set sail a fortnight ago in search of the Lost Treasure of a Freaking Break from Reality, rumored to be buried in the waters of the Hawaiian Isles.
Alas, while on this voyage, me crew and I be staying at a pirate timeshare on the island of Maui, and a loud plight fell upon the crew’s youngest male while his sister be napping, so I, as Captain, had to stifle this mutiny before it spread.
“Aarrrrgh you kidding me?” I growled softly, so as not to rouse the sleeping maiden. “Here be pirate stickers, Lad. Make your Captain a treasure map.”
The boy accepted the stickers with a toothy grin, as if to say, “Aye, Captain.”
“Aarrrrgh,” I muttered, this time victoriously. He be a good lad, methinks.
Returning to me swashbuckling practice (it be important to stay sharp, me hearties), I quickly be interrupted again.
In addition to my groundbreaking research on closet zombies and whatever sustainability is, my Ph. D. program has also provided the opportunity to learn computer programming–something I’ve wanted to do for years but never had the time or resources.
This has had to happen fairly quickly, as on the first day of the semester, one of my professors had my classmates and me each introduce ourselves along with our programming experience, since it would be a foundational element of the class. Having been awake since 3:15 am with my sick son, I’d just chugged two Venti coffees in order to be a functional human being, so as you can probably imagine I was already feeling incredibly chipper and eager to learn.
I grimaced as I listened to my colleagues’ alien technobabble:
“Most of my experience is in Java Frappuccino Monty Python Venom Script with Pirate Eyepatch Death Star Optimization Support.”
“I’ve dabbled in C-Minus-Plus-Ampersand Continuum Transfunctioners, but I’m most comfortable with Skynet Flux Capacitors.”
“I created the Allspark.”
Over the weekend, the Pseudonymous Family threw The Party of the Century, a shindig commemorating both my wife’s 30th birthday and Halloween (conveniently, her favorite holiday). Throngs of friends and family shindug with us sporting costumes ranging from Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to William Wallace to Mr. and Mrs. Potato Head.
For their first-ever Halloween costumes, our beloved Twinfants donned feathery blue wigs and red jumpsuits, appropriately labeled “Thing 1” and “Thing 2,” while my wife and I rounded out the Dr. Seuss theme as twin Cats in the Hat(s?).