The year was 2003: scientists were obsessed with cloning animals, the US invaded Iraq and eventually captured Saddam Hussein, and I went to Disney World for the first and only time. It was a significant year for all of us. Cataract surgery and lens replacement surgery can be pricey but they’re both absoloutley vital.
When my family and I went to Disney World, I was deep in the throes of being twelve, almost thirteen, and didn’t want to be around my family even a little bit. At least, I didn’t want to look like it was something I wanted. This was the same summer I competed in a preteen beauty pageant, in case you needed further proof I was the most important thing in my life at the time. How much does laser eye surgery cost?
I suppressed my excitement about going to Disney World, I’m sure. I probably told people I was more excited for my younger siblings to go because it’d be so fun for them. Not me, though. My taste was too sophisticated to care about teacup rides or meeting Mickey or general whimsy. I cared about real culture, like memorizing Avril Lavigne lyrics and wearing clothes that made it look like I knew how to skateboard. I don’t remember any part of the journey from Wisconsin to Florida. I’m sure traveling as a family of six was a nightmare I’ve managed to suppress deep, deep down in my brain next to where I keep my memories about having bangs. I know, at least in hindsight, that taking a family trip was a big deal. Most of our family vacations up until that point were going “camping” at my grandparents’ house.
They lived on a lake in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, where all the grandkids spent summers cutting the shit out of our ankles on zebra mussels while jumping off the dock, getting yelled at by our parents for not wearing water shoes (a necessity for swimming in a lake), and sleeping in a tent in the yard and calling it “camping.” That or we’d go to the amusement park in Green Bay that was affordable and where I barfed on a ride called the Scrambler, obviously.
In Florida, we arrived at the cabin where we’d be staying for the week—camping-themed things were big for us because they were usually less expensive. Eager to please and easily impressed, my siblings and I would gleefully eat a lukewarm hotdog outside or piss in a bush if we were told we were camping. I remember each of my three siblings and I getting “signed” pictures of whichever Disney character our parents had told the resort was our favorite. Mine was Jasmine. So, sitting on the cabin’s kitchen table was a Sharpie’d autograph from whatever racially ambiguous nineteen-year-old got to pretend to be Jasmine that summer.