Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Thomas the money grubbing Jerk

This weekend my parents, my sister and I took Luke and to Heber City to worship at the altar of children's television characters. We went to ride on Thomas the Tank Engine -- and give him all of our money.

When my father first asked if I wanted to go on the Thomas excursion months ago I pictured a nice relaxing ride on the old Heber train (which they turned into Thomas) though Provo canyon looking at the spring blooms and feeling the wind in my hair. What I experienced was very different. It was a carnival from hell.

From the moment we entered the train yard we were inundated with things we could buy. Toy trains! T-shirts! Train whistles! Ice cream! There was something at every turn to make kids whine with desire. And there were kids everywhere. Ugly kids. Ugly, screaming kids. I began to feel like King Kong being besieged by puny New Yorkers. I knew at any moment they would force me to throw myself off a tall building.


We led Luke through the maze of conspicuous consumption -- allowing him to look, but telling him he had to wait until we were ready to leave to get a toy. This did not go over well. After all, there were four of us -- surely one of us could lug around a giant train set for at least a couple of hours. Finally though, we were able to pull him away from the toys -- it was time to ride Thomas.


It is my firm belief that lines in any "first come, first served" situation bring out the worst in people. It doesn't matter if they are waiting for the dentist -- every worries that they will miss out if someone goes in front of them. This was no different. Twenty minutes before the train left the station people began packing in, readying for the race to the train. Never mind it was a huge train and there would be seats for everyone, these people acted as if getting on first or getting on twentieth was the difference between driving Thomas -- and being forced to hang off the side. And I was no better! Luke had said he wanted to sit int he first car and we would be sitting there -- even if I had to shiv someone. I mean, we all remember the red teacup incident at Disneyland. Luckily, the front car didn't seem to be all that popular, so no blood had to be spilled.

The ride itself was nice. Of course, it was only 20 minutes long. You see, the Thomas the tank engine put on the train was just a shell, a ruse, a pretender. All the work was actually being done by a steam engine at the other end of the train. And while it could easily pull the cars downhill, pushing them all back uphill was a different story. So, the train couldn't go very far. But those 20 minutes were bliss. All the kids were quiet, all the parents off their feet and contented -- and there was nothing to buy.

Thomas wants your wallet...

Of course, once we got off the train the tour of things to buy continued. To exit the train you had to walk past the area where kids could get their picture taken with Thomas. And who would want to deny their child of that wonderful experience? Even if it cost $20. In the end my sister not only bought the picture -- but a key chain with the picture on it. So, she has a portable reminder of when she used to have money...

At the end of the day were were all tired, hot, dirty, sticky and broke. Everyone just wanted to get in the car and nap on the way back down the canyon. That is, everyone except Luke. He was too jazzed from his mighty big adventure and too excited about his might big train set. All the way down the canyon we heard about what he liked, his ride on the train and his love of Thomas. And suddenly, I was willing to do it all again. Even if it meant a second mortgage.

5 comments:

cate said...

We only had to push a few little kids to the ground in order to get the red tea cup. There was no shiving involved. Mikey frowns on blood shed.

cate said...

Mickey, not Mikey. I think aunt Mike might endorse blood shed to keep a kid happy.

Amanda said...

Shut it Libby - I will treasure that damn keychain & thik lovingly of the day that a few members of my family were financially raped by an anthropormorphic train & his band of thugs.

Anonymous said...

I'm a lj friend of your sisters, "The Great Mother of Luke".
She linked someone else to your journal and I followed the link to read your version of the story. You tell it well. Thank you for recreating the experienc in such a way that I feel I was actually there. BAMUSICAL

Emily-Ione said...

Ahhh, Lib, I feel like I was there... if Only I had a Thomas Sippy cup to commemorate the occasion!