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Monday, March 8, 2010

More Orca-stration

Sometimes it's odd how one discussion topic you never think about leads to weeks and weeks and weeks of mentions in passing and general attention to a topic. Such is the case with Sea World. I have not been to a Sea World in my life thus far. I somehow have no interest. I think I remember Sea World in Ohio? Like it was advertised in Ohio? Am I confusing Cedar Point with Sea World? In any event, I did not go. And I remember being stubbornly, and now I feel like almost irrationally opposed to going to Sea World on a college spring break service trip in Florida. We were there working on houses in the last El Nino year I remember as very very rainy. Florida getaway that helps people trip!!! turned into our van full of college dorks who did not either go home or go away with our Greek-affiliated friends to somewhere booze-filled going to KMart and desperately hoping we could find flannel anywhere in Florida in March. I think I paid $2.88 for a flannel shirt. It was on sale, and it was the best $2.88 I'd ever spent at that point, as underdressed and underpacked as we all were.

Toward the end of the week, we had the opportunity on our one day off to take a day trip if we wanted to. Orlando was within our sights. We could make it, but no one wanted to spend 90 bucks for 3 hours at Disneyworld. Another idea that was floated to the group was Sea World. Somehow, despite my massive desire for group cohesion, I was nearly violently opposed to driving 3 hours to go to a dolphin and whale show that cost a lot of money. It seemed like a terrible idea and a terrible use of time, particularly since I was enjoying the access we were given to the YMCA (also our overnight home) facilities. They had an outdoor pool in March. To me that seemed way better than watching whales swim. I could swim! For free! (The novelty of swimming has never worn off, really. God bless my grandmother who took her grandchildren to Florida to see Mickey Mouse only to find out that they were as, if not more amused, by the hotel swimming pool. By "they" I mean me). I remember just refusing to cave. Like saying I'd rather just go see Orlando than go see Sea World.
I think that is what we ended up doing, because the needs and wants of our group were so varied at the time. Some people were ready to pay any amount of money for action. Some people had 5 bucks and a free day. Mediation went to the common denominator of "let's just go."

After being enchanted by the vehemence and hmm...almost uncharacteristically fiery debate about Sea World and its merit or lack thereof in the face of the recent killer whale attack that was being broadcast on NPR, I had another Sea World encounter this evening. I was in a locker room (about to go swimming...was not joking about that novelty before) and heard one hm, nine year old girl say to another:
"Guess WHAT." (leaving no room for her friend to not say "what?")
"On Friday, I'm going to Sea World."
"You're so lucky!!!"
"I get to leave school early. I have to."
"I wanna go, you're so lucky."

It made me laugh because it really was the most earnest expression of privilege and envy by the young that I'd heard in a while. Totally genuine interest in Sea World's splendor. And its power to be worthy of missing school - the ultimate in childhood value systems.
Despite being quite a bit older, it made me think, really? You're jealous? I can't ever remember wanting to go to Sea World when I was young. Or ever, actually.

But the instinct of sharing good news about getting to do something fun that gets you out of an obligation that's not fun? I don't think that ever goes away.
Really. Think about a meeting ending earlier than expected and sending you home sooner than you thought you'd be going home. Even if only by 15 minutes, it still feels pretty special.
And the next day, you'll probably tell someone. Their response?
"Really? You're so lucky!!!!"

We're all still chasing that whale, wherever it may be.

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