February 01, 2006

The Healthiest Place On Earth

My Godson Harry is in town. Yesterday was his birthday - he turned 5. Harry and his family have been staying in Disneyland for the past few days. I suppose if you're going to come to Southern California with a couple of young kids, there aren't many better places to stay than right smack dab in the heart of Disneyland.

I love Disneyland. It is, after all, the happiest place on earth. I hadn't been down there in over 10 years, but when I first moved to Los Angeles 16 years ago, I frequented Disneyland like it was going out of style. I must've gone there 7 or 8 times within the first few years I lived here. Which, for somebody who doesn't have kids and had never even been there with kids, is a heckuva lotta time to spend at a children's theme park. I think I may have OD'd on it all. (Over Disneyed).

So, 10 years later, it was kind of nice to see how things have changed. And boy-o-boy have they changed. California Adventureland - the other big rollercoaster loving park - wasn't even around when I was down there last. And they built an entire shopping and dining area (Downtown Disneyland) that is completely new. The Disneyland I knew a decade ago was simply a children's theme park. The Disneyland of today is a booming metropolis. Hell, it's probably even got it's own zipcode.

The people at Disneyland, however, have not changed. Thank God for that. The tourist remains the same. What you get is a wonderful cross-section of middle America bursting with overweight, tourist t-shirt wearing adults dragging around their loud and unruly runny-nosed kids who are bumping into you and stepping on your feet every which way you turn. If you don't have any children of your own, it's a great place to go to really make you not want to ever have children at any point in your single and free life.

Cat and I left LA at about 4:30 in the afternoon to make the 1 hour drive to Anaheim and have a birthday dinner with Harry. On the way down, Gerry (Harry's father) gave me a call to let me know Harry had a bad day. "Bad" meaning that he got sick while at Disneyland that afternoon. And when I say sick, I mean that very literally. He puked right there on the ground of the Happiest Place On Earth. Which, in case you don't know, is also the Cleanest Place On Earth. So I can only imagine the sirens that went off and the hazmat crew that must've been called in to attend to Harry's outpouring. In fact, I was down at the Disneyland Hotel with Harry, Gerry and the family the day before when something similar happened. We were lounging by the pool as Harry and his younger brother were swimming and playing, when all of the sudden a little girl got sick by the side of the pool. Apparently she couldn't keep down her Disneydog. Well, that sickness triggered the Disney police. All of the sudden everybody was rushed out of the pool and it was immediately closed down. Five or six Disney pool attendees appeared out of nowhere and stood around the now-covered pile of sickness in a football like huddle as they contemplated their next move with the gravity of an impending nuclear meltdown. They started testing the PH balances of the pool water, testing the air for harmful chemicals, alerting passers-by of the pending danger - they were doing everything possible to ensure that the world didn't enter into a complete and utter Disney meltdown. That's the way they are there at Disneyland. They care.

Which brings me right back to Cat and I driving down there last night and learning Harry was sick on his 5th birthday. We went down anyway. Picked up a few gifts for him at the Lego store and went up to his room to wish him a quick Happy Birthday. He was lying there on the couch feeling sick. His mother was lying in the bed feeling sick. It was a sick room. And none of them would be going out to a birthday dinner. So after a bit of gift giving, Cat and I went off and had a wonderful adult dinner in Downtown Disneyland with Gerry's father.

The flu has been going around lately. Tons of people seem to have it or be getting it or be fighting it. I feel like I've been battling its onset myself for the past week or two. There's been a faint tingling of a scratchy throat and a slight lingering of a sniffle that have been taunting me in the mornings. Well, apparently those few minutes of wishing Harry a happy 5th birthday enabled the flu to take charge. It has stopped taunting and begun poking and prodding.

I woke up this morning feeling about five steps closer to the flu - and it was only about nine steps away in the first place. The sore throat is a little sorer. The sinus is a bit more congesteder. The tired rundown feeling has been run over. I'm definitely not at 100%. More like 72.5. But I'm not going to let this thing take over. I'm a fighter. I decided not to go for my bike ride this morning - I've sacrificed that one to the Gods of Health. I'd rather sacrifice a day or two of exercise in order to get better, than risk three weeks of debilitating illness. It's time to take care of myself.

Now excuse me, my chicken soup is getting cold.