Well, until last weekend, when I managed to - without actually trying - become devil-spawn or something closely related there to.
To set the scene, 3 of the major theme parks hereabouts are running a pay $99 once and get in as much as you like till the end of June, 2010. Not a bad deal considering it's, like, $69/go normally. Adam (my short-ish person) and I got a couple when we last visited Movie World (one of the 3 parks included in the deal), and we figured that Marg and Matty could likewise get some ASAP by visiting a park of their choice - which turned out to be Seaworld. Now Movieworld's way more ride-focussed, while Seaworld lets you get up-close and personal with many things aquatic - different strokes and all, but both fun in their own ways.
Seaworld, though, do have some rides - and the most recently shoved in is the "Jet Rescue" in which you pretend to be riding a jet ski at up to 100Kph and get whipped around a track with enough force to break several bones. Additionally, they have rides that've been there for years such as the "Viking's Revenge Flume ride", which is a nice peaceful little ride in a boat until the inevitable drop off a waterfall at the end - much funness if you're into that kind of thing, much terror if you're not. Adam likes to pretend he falls into the first group, Matty's not at all ashamed to declare that he falls into the second. I, being a roller-coaster maniac, love the end bit but the whole slow gentle boat ride bit gets a bit old.
Anyway, it was decided that Adam and I'd go on the Flume ride while Marg and Matty minded cameras, bags and such things that don't really appreciate getting wet (as you do when you hit the bottom of the aforementioned waterfall). So we joined the queue. Which went nowhere for 5 minutes.
Being aware that Marg and Matty were cooling their heels waiting for us to get this whole ride thing over so that there could be more up-close and personal with sea creatures time, I chose to skip the line for the Flume ride and check out the JetRescue situation.
It looked to be waaay better (as in shorter) than the Flume queue, although there was a requirement to put things like phones and hats and glasses and the like into (non-free, of course) lockers before joining the queue. So, being good little sheep, we did what we were told. It was at this point, I think, that things started to go seriously down hill.
Having disposed of things that could cause serious bodily harm, we joined what appeared to be a short and fairly quickly moving line (the whole ride takes about 60 seconds, so how long could it take??) We moved forward. A bit. And then another bit. And then we passed a cleverly concealing barrier which should have a sign over the top of it saying "abandon all hope of doing anything else today", because it's at that point that you see that the queue turns into the equivalent of a food queue at an ethiopian aid station, only with fences to try to keep some sort of order.
This would not have been quite such a negative development, except that I had no way of communicating with our erstwhile companions and now doubtless bored-witless bag and stuff minders, suggesting that they go do something else or at least come on down and we could sort it out. Adam, by this stage was all g'd up to go on the thing, and I didn't want to dissapoint him any more than I wanted to leave Marg and Matty literally holding the bag. A dilemma was thus posed.
Anyway, time passed....more time passed....more time passed....we finally got to sit on the ride for the 60-ish seconds it takes to get hurled around in a way that real jet-ski riders would never even contemplate, impacted several vertabrae and probably broke my neck, and got off. Following which, we staggered over to the lockers to retrieve the stuff that we'd left only to be confronted by a Seaworld staffer who was trying to get them open (there seemed to be a bit of an issue identifying who had stored what where). We identified ourselves to her satisfaction and she duly let us retrieve our stuff, at which time we hot-footed it back to where I figured we'd find Matty and Marg building sand castles, playing noughts and crosses or counting bits of stone in the pavement.
On the way back, however, a phone call from Marg fairly clearly announced that whatever we'd been up to it'd obviously taken more than the alloted time (whatever that ws), we were in more trouble than Ned Kelly, and that they were a little tired of waiting for us to get on/off the ride.
Now, it is here that recollections differ, because I think that I apologised for the length of time it'd taken, explained that we'd done the other ride and had just exitied it and asked where they were. There are other recollections of the conversation, so don't take mine as anything like gospel.. Suffice to say it ended with a "beeep beeep beeep" in my ear, rather than the more usual "well, we'll see you soon then", or words to that effect - and no, the connection didn't drop as a result of a telco black hole or anything of the sort. Being quick of mind, I figured that the level of poo I was in was rather higher than normal.
This was confirmed when we actually met up a couple of minutes later, where if looks could kill this this wouldn't be being written. At this point, of course, it should be made perfectly clear that the entire incident was, almost entirely, my fault - there's no question of that, or at least no question in my mind. Admittedly there were arguably a couple of extenuating circumstances, but I done da wrong thing, and shouldn't have.
In a (potentially) misguided attempt to avoid being thrown to the sharks (and they have some quite large ones at Seaworld) I kept my own counsel for the remainder of the day, offering few if any opinions or suggestions that might add fuel to an already quite clearly well established, if somewhat internal, fire.
We saw dolphins do dolphin-ish things, sea lions do sea-lions-ish things, various corals and fishies and sharks and penguins and all kinds of other "life's better when it's wet" creatures, Marg and Matty spent half an hour or so getting processed for their $99 tickets while Adam and I watched the lack of goings on on the ex-ski lake and consumed donuts and coke, and then we headed home.
This was a, shall we say, quiet trip. We dropped Matty off at his place, then went back to ours to pick up Adam's plethora of playstation-related stuff and I dropped him at home too.
The kids disposed of, I returned to what for all intents and purposes felt like an arctic winter before global warming, so figured (again) that doing and saying as little as possible was probably the wisest course of action.
Some discussion of the event (starting with the easy to respond to "What you did yesterday was shitty") followed after coffee the next morning, and resulted in my attempt to explain the above. This was greeted with at best initial scepticism and finally a walk-off to work without so much as a by-your leave.
Some email correspondence then was then exchanged, which I don't propose to include here, but was followed by a tweet to the world which said "I give up. So not worth the effort or stress." While this may be unrelated, I think not. So, having been ignored, walked off on and basically told I wasn't worth the effort or stress, I was a tad on the down side. Anti-depressants can only do so much after all, and when there ain't no serotonin left, serotonin re-uptake inhibitors really don't have all that much to do I'd imagine.
Got home to a similarly chilly and monosyllabic reception and, truth be told, was too emotionally and physically exhausted to stay awake much past 7:30 - so I want to bed. At "normal" bed time, 8:30-ish, the following was tweeted: "
So, all in all, I am at a loss. Did the wrong thing (while trying to do the right thing). Have apologised. Feel like I'm being treated like a pariah and am having to walk on (very thin) egg shells to prevent the outbreak of open hostility which would make George W's "Shock and Awe" look like a school fete fireworks display.
So far, at least, I've had better weeks.....but I guess it's only up from here.