Tag Archives: vacation

Fireworks

15 Apr

Last night I realized that not only can I hear the Disneyland fireworks from my room, I can see them too. If I stand on top of my night stand, push my head against the wall, and look through the glare of the window, I get a pretty nice view. Luckily, I’ve seen it before from the bowels of that magical place, but I don’t exactly remember how the story goes. Some evil queen tries to take the magic from the park, pirates blow cannons over the castle, the audience is reminded that dreams really do come true. The castle turns colors, music is set in time with the explosions, Tinkerbell appears at all the right moments.

Watching a Disneyland fireworks show from your window is the urban version of stargazing and seeing a plane fly by. You can’t help but wonder who is on the plane, why a handful of seemingly random people all need to go to the same place, from the same place, at the same time. There’s a story there. Maybe it doesn’t involve evil queens and fairy dust, but it’s a story nonetheless. Even if it is only a story about peanuts and Sky Mall, to some it is the most fantastic story ever told. Leaving home, returning home, family reuniting, new jobs, new houses, vacations, adventures, questions. How much human potential and anticipation can fit in such a little box?

The same can be asked of Disneyland. Lines are long and restaurants are crowded, but that congestion is created by people. People don’t simply surround us with stuff, with the insides of vacuums, but remnants of stories and reminders of life. When humans mark their territories, nothing is insignificant. A candy wrapper left on Main Street belongs to someone who chose that specific item because of a third aunt’s cousin’s grandfather’s preference for it. A line for a roller coaster is the temporary home of a kid that wore his Superman shirt for a reason. Your blue Prius is parked in the Daffy Duck section of the parking lot next to a Suburban that was born in Massachusetts, lost a mirror with a teenager in Nebraska, chipped its paint with road trippers in Central America, blew a headlight with a mom in Tennessee, and is now owned by two grandparents from Beverly Hills that can’t believe that Disneyland is open that late. Find the story there.

They always say to be nice to others because you don’t know what stories they are telling in their footsteps. I say to be nice to people regardless, but know that the holes in their sweatshirts and the scars on their knees are not a result of accident. We would never be bored if we started to trace the threads of our blankets or wonder why there are scuffs on the floor. Collect all of the stories held inside passing planes and you will never need works of fiction. Real life is exciting enough.

Escaping

10 Apr

I went for a run the other day and ended up running 17 miles. I wasn’t necessarily intending to run that far, but once I found dirt paths and trees, distance didn’t seem to matter. I hadn’t realized that I needed a break from the malls and freeways, to escape and remember that I can get pretty far with just my two legs. Society often subscribes to the work hard play hard mentality, implying that our time off should be as effective and well-crafted as our time of productivity. There are moments set aside to relax, but you better relax to the best of your relaxing abilities and waste no time with pillows of the wrong softness and music of the inappropriate genre. Escaping society’s burdens is like solving a puzzle made from the wood of your bones or going on a treasure hunt where the prize is your own right shoe.

Escaping only becomes more difficult when you have a disability, exit doors lacking bright red signs to signal proper paths. There are struggles to brushing teeth, to washing dishes, to putting on socks. Simply waking up is a reminder that a life with disabilities doesn’t come with vacation days. It’s not like leaving work for a Caribbean cruise, preparing pineapple drinks with small umbrellas to celebrate a hiatus from days of drinking water and being healthy. As soon as you begin to forget that life is challenging, and get lost in the story of Harry Potter, you stand up to get some crackers and remember that your legs are two different lengths. There are no sick days, no holiday breaks, no mornings in which you can hide under the covers. Sometimes the house members complain about taking their meds or waiting for the bus and I wish I could tell them that tomorrow could be an exception to the routine. I wish that for just a day I could give them complete independence, complete capability.

Upon second thought, this can’t be awarded to anyone. Disability or not, none of us can escape from our individual obstacles. We are always already living in our thoughts and influenced by our personalities and traits. Even when we are away from our household chores and 9 to 5 jobs, our hands still sweat when we look over the edges of tall buildings, we still jump at the sounds of slamming doors and compliments. The most enthralling of movies won’t take away our less than perfect visions, won’t erase our biases and opinions. We are stamped by the thumbprints of our cultures, upbringings, and genetics, unable to interact with the world with anything other than our uniquenesses.

It is a popular belief in L’Arche that all people are disabled, with some of humanity better able to hide it. Maybe it’s also true that we are better able to escape it, to ignore morning meds every once and a while, to not have to wait for a bus when we want to leave the house and just drive our cars until the road ends. Unlike those we call disabled, we can go on Caribbean cruises and forget that breathing is incredible and not always so easy to do. We can run for 17 miles and forget that two legs shouldn’t go that far.

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