We just got back from a week at Disney World. We went with my sister’s family (mom, dad, 5 year old niece, 2 year old nephew), my sister’s mother-in-law, my sister’s sister-in-law, and my mom. Everyone but Tom, Lydia, and I flew. We drove. Why? Because I didn’t want to deal with airport security with an infant and then didn’t want an infant meltdown on a plane. Also, in order to go on vacation with an infant, you have to bring half your house.
So, we drove. We split the conservatively estimated 9.5 hour trip in to a two day trip. I know everyone knows this but it really is interesting how much easier it is to get somewhere than to come back in terms of enthusiasm. You go from “WOO HOOOO! On our way to the best place ever to have the best time ever! A couple of days of driving is nothing compared to the nice real-world-problem-free time we’re about to have” to “Why there gotta be so much fucking land between here and home? Fuck land.” But we made it there and back easily, with only one true infant meltdown, so I consider that a success.
We decided to stay at one of the nicer hotels on property (Polynesian), mainly because the monorail provides people a way to get from one place to another without having to fold the damn stroller. This meant there’s aggressively helpful bell services, which meant tipping. I’m not a fancy person. I know this shocks most of you. But, every time I have to do it, which is rarely, I astonish myself with how utterly bad I am at tipping people in person. I can sign a receipt at a restaurant, easy, but literally having to hand someone money in a suave, subtle way is not something I’m capable of, apparently. Have you seen the Seinfeld where Elaine tries to tip a restaurant host to get a table right away (it’s the Chinese Restaurant episode)? I’m only slightly less bad than that. I hold the money as if it’s a magic wand, kind of jerk it up and down and brightly declare, in a sing-songy manner, “HERE YOU GO!” Which is only a little better than the approach I’m trying hard to suppress: awkwardly laughing, “HA HA HA!” then yelling, “MONEY!” But I do know that Tipping Anxiety is suffered by many and I console myself that I’m not the only one.
Another realization has to do with the previously mentioned strollers. A stroller provides you with a power you must fight against at all times. A stroller can make the meekest, most polite people monsters. I’m surprised that a comic book supervillain hasn’t been created whose weapon is a stroller and a place he or she needs to be. If you are the one with the stroller you are a sad, suffering human trying to maneuver through the throngs with your equally suffering children. If someone else has a stroller, what an asshole. You must resist the urge to ever so gently plow people over with the stroller, and it’s really hard because here you are with this thing that can totally plow people over.
Speaking of strollers, if you’ve been to Disney World, no doubt you’ve noticed the large number of people on scooters. You don’t have to have any kind of ailment or anything to use one of these things, just some money to rent one. At the beginning of the trip, I look at many of these people and scoff, thinking how silly and lazy it is to have one of these scooters. But mid-week I’m contemplating scooter jacking. There’s a seat! And a basket for your things! And you just scoot around in it and don’t have to move your legs! These people I previously looked down on have become the geniuses of our time in my mind. My sister and I came very close to trying to sit in the strollers ourselves. She even wished that there were strollers big enough for adults and then realized, “oh, wait those are called wheelchairs.” I don’t think anyone caught me, but if someone on a scooter looked at me at the right/wrong time they would see me staring at them as if I were starving and they were a hamburger.
Now we’re home and I’m back to spending much of my time on my butt on a couch. Which I suppose gives me the opportunity to intensely study the art of giving a tip, but knowing me I won’t do that and just panic again like always.