I have a fault. I know, I know, you don’t believe me, but it’s true. I don’t know how long something is going to take. In my mind, I’ll say, “It’ll take 15 minutes to clean this room, how hard can it be?” Then, two and a half hours later, I’m wondering why I haven’t even scratched the surface.
The same principle applies to scheduling. When I try to plan a trip, I end up filling half of the days up with things that take huge amounts of time that should take no time at all. Other days, I plan something that should take forever and it only takes about a half hour. It drives me mad, I tell you.
Well, today, it wasn’t my fault that the scheduling was completely ridiculous. It was my mother’s.
Today was the day we had decided to go to Disneyland. That was all well and good since we had all day, but we also had to run to Le Cordon Bleu quick to pick up some souvenirs. This event should have taken no time at all, but oh sweet Jesus, how we were deceived.
The day dawned early enough. Too early, if you ask me, and you did, so I will tell you that it was too early. Ma thought Jessica should stay sleeping since she seemed to be overtired or jet-lagged — even though she refuses to admit to it. I thought that Jessica would have liked to come and see where I had gone every day, but Mother claimed that she couldn’t care less, so, off we went.
The subway trip down to school was rather uneventful because I don’t remember a second of what happened. All that I remember was walking up to my school. We went inside and looked at all of the merchandise for sale. Dad wanted me to buy a myriad of china, and I didn’t try to dissuade him. I love plates and bowls and other things made of clay and then glazed in an attractive way.
I only realized a few days ago that you can see the Eiffel Tower from the Metro stop by the school. I’m either blind or ignorant. I’m blaming both.
We picked out all of the things we wanted and I went to the counter to order them. Unfortunately, the nice lady, whom I dearly love, was busy and I had to deal with the bitch lady. I don’t mean that rudely, that was a literal description. She is the meanest woman under 35 that I have ever met. She seems to hate everybody and refuses to be helpful. She must have had some Vicodin today, though, because she was shockingly helpful.
As she went to the sub-basement to pick up the things I had requested, two of my classmates came in. It was nice to see them again before I would never see them again, so I introduced them to everybody. They were at school a few days before the second session started so that they could get a good locker. It was an incredibly sneaky and wonderful plan and I admired them profoundly for it. As I’m sure you remember, the lockers at Le Cordon Bleu SUCK!
The lady was taking forever to come back, so I just paced up and down in front of the counter. Loud yelling was coming from the elevator and as I looked over, Chef Cotte stormed out, thoroughly pissed at somebody. He saw me, gave a salute, said, “Ça va, Benji?” and then he was gone.
Finally, the bitch woman came back and rang up all of my merchandise. It was expensive, but those bowls are awesome. They are checkered blue and white squares — which sound particularly dull, but in reality, are fabulous.
On the way down the road to the Metro, Granny managed to walk in dog poo. Mother and I found this hilarious, of course. Neither of us expected her method of cleansing her soiled shoe. She said, “Shit!” and then marched over to a puddle where she began to lightly tap her foot in the water and inspect it, then tap it again, and inspect it, it went on for about a minute and it was hilarious and embarrassing at the same time — not only for me, but for her as well.
We had our packages and were making good time, so we reasoned that we had time to go to the bakery that Craig Ferguson had recommended. I had taken hours and hours hunting down this bakery with absolutely no positive results. I found the correct street intersection and Google Earth’d it, but on that wonderful system I could find no bakery.
Having a good idea of where to go, we hopped onto the Metro and made our way there. When we got out, I had that usual sense of, “Crap. Where the hell am I?” I gave up immediately and let Mother take charge. Amazingly, the woman who has less a sense of direction than myself, led us, almost straight there.
This is me not understanding why my family pays attention to traffic lights.
The bakery was very small and moderately busy. Craig hadn’t given a name, so this might not have been it, but it was the only bakery in the vicinity so it had to be. I ordered, the cashier was a bit rude, paid, got my nibbles and left.
Now, I had the chance to impress. After I’ve been somewhere, I know exactly where I am and I could get myself back anywhere without any trouble. So, I, with much panache, led us back to the Metro stop and, soon, we were riding towards Bastille.
Granny had to go to Starbucks, so, I finished the walk home from the Metro stop alone as Ma and Granny fiddlefarted (I love that fake word) around in their American coffee shop. As I walked underneath of my apartment building, I could see Jessica’s head sticking out of the window frantically scanning the roads like a crazed guard in a watchtower.
I assumed that she assumed we had finally abandoned her, so I chuckled to myself thinking of all of the things whizzing around in her head. Why would we abandon her when her life insurance policy is worth so much?
She was beside herself with joy when she saw me, but when I walked in alone, the crazed look came back into her eyes. “Where are they?!” Jessica asked with horror and trepidation.
When she heard that hadn’t been slaughtered by a hobo or run over with a train, she became very angry with mother for not waking her up. She actually did want to see my school — it seems she did give a crap.
We sat on the couch eating croissants waiting for them to finally show up. I was surprised at how delicious the croissants were. I had been sick of croissants for a while, but now, I realized that they were the best food in the world again, aside from macarons, but croissants are pretty high up there for me.
Now that the gang was all back, it was finally time to go to Disneyland. We got bundled up, and dashed down to the Metro. I could feel the magic calling me already. We had to transfer once and walk through an underground strip mall that hobos had taken over as a kind of shelter. That was fun, then we went even further underground to the pee-scented RER. I don’t know why, but the RER always smells like urine — I’m blaming the hobos…again.
Mother pretended like she didn’t understand the schedule, even though she understands it perfectly, and I had to lead us like Moses leading his followers onto the correct train.
Jessica and I had the good fortune to sit next to somebody. Normally, this isn’t a good thing, but as she was rifling through her purse, I caught a glimpse of something. An invitation. To a movie premiere. A major movie. 17 Again. Zac Efron. Quickly, my mind put these things together, the Parisian premiere of 17 Again would be tomorrow and it was more than likely major celebrities would be there. I immediately scribbled this down so that I wouldn’t forget.
The rest of the trip passed quickly, I started reading Blackwood Pond on my iPod Kindle, and realized that I should not have started reading a book series ten books into the series. I didn’t have a clue as to what was going on, but it still made for entertaining reading.
We arrived and Jessica and I paraded into the park, I did so screaming, “MAGIC! MAGIC! MAGIC!” and taking hundreds of self-portraits of me looking excited.
Granny and Jess had to buy tickets, so, that put a damper on the magic, but soon we were inside and the sheer joy overwhelmed us.
Granny didn’t seem to be impressed at all until she saw a section of Adventureland that looked, she claimed, like Silver Dollar City. I couldn’t see the resemblance, but it made her happy.
We went on the Phantom Manor first. Everyone was enthralled, aside from Granny, who found the whole thing to be an exercise in terror. Jessica and I mocked horror on Pirates of the Caribbean. We did other stuff, too, but I don’t remember it. We didn’t have too much time here since we wasted a lot of time looking for those croissants.
I bought myself some more Disneyland plates. This one seems to be made out of cast-iron, but I can’t be sure.
On our way through Fantastyland, Jessica saw two things that made her wet herself with glee: cotton candy and flying elephants. She insisted that I go on Dumbo with her, and I begrudgingly agreed. The line was absolutely bananas, though. There was this bitch child from hell who kept pushing us and rushing ahead and jumping and screaming and crying and begging. I know that it is wrong to want to hit a stranger and it’s worse to want to hit a stranger who is under ten, but Lord knows I wanted to smack that little brat.
The Dumbo ride turned out to be awesome. We had one that seemed particularly bouncy so the landing was frightening and fun.
Jessica then demanded cotton candy so we had to wait in line as she purchased yet another wad of stringed sugar bigger than her torso. She didn’t care so much for this one.
We then, cotton candy in tow, descended the ramp below the castle to the lair of the dragon. This animatronic creature absolutely terrified Jessica, which I found humorous.
Then we left the Magic Kingdom.
We popped over to the Disney Studios to ride on the Tower of Terror, which Granny flat out refused to do. No amount of persuading would do the trick, so she waited outside. Jessica was terrified, with good reason this time, the drops were much more shocking than normal, even I was alarmed a few times!
After this, since there is absolutely nothing else to do in this park, we went on the Backlot Studio Tour, which sucked. I hadn’t seen a single movie that anything had come from, so it was endlessly boring.
We were all starved by that time, so we went to Planet Hollywood for our dinner. The service was as horrible as ever, the ambiance was as tacky as ever, and I loved it as much as I always do. My alfredo was divine, mother’s LA lasagna was spectacular, Granny had a burnt baked potato which she insisted was good, and Jessica had manicotti, which, surprise surprise, she despised. (That was almost like a poorly written song.)
When Jessica dislikes something, you can tell immediately. It’s maddening. She’ll take a bite, chew, start chewing slower and slower, then insist on having a napkin so that she can spit it out.
Mother and Jessica had a bit of an argument and then it was time to pay. Our rather friendly waitress was taking forever, so, Jess, Granny, and I went out to the Disney Store to look around as we waited for mother.
This store was packed and unpleasant. I was in a kind of daze, wandering around in sheer boredom. Mother had taken a good half hour, so I was prepared to go back into the restaurant to find her. In the process of heading towards the building, she approached us with a styrofoam box in her hand. Inside was a cheeseburger and fries.
The waitress had felt bad that Jessica had not enjoyed her dinner so she made us a replacement, which was unbelievably kind.
Jessica devoured this like a crazed hyena as we went into the Rainforest Cafe, which looked incredibly out of place in France.
That was the end of our trip to Disney. We headed back to the train station, caught the train home, and soon, we were warm under our blankets getting ready for the next day.