There's an amusement park here in Utah called Lagoon. It seemed promising when my friend Tom and I decided to go. But let me paint you a little picture of the blatantly false illusion of family fun this place is: Take Disneyland in 1955, give it 50 packs of cigarettes, a bottle of 80-proof alcohol, some crack cocaine and booty shorts, throw in sour-faced employees and an exhibit on Mormon Pioneer Furniture, and you have the run-down, malcontent atrocity that is Lagoon.
(In all honestly, the Mormon Pioneer Furniture exhibit was nice and air-conditioned, so it was probably my favorite part. And — bonus — no crowds.)
Don't get me wrong, it was actually quite fun. But mostly because Tom and I can (and did) laugh quite a bit about it all. Beginning with the fact that you can't have backpacks, purses, or, I assume, fanny packs on any of the rides. None. Unfortunately, we found this out after standing in line for the swinging pirate ship ride and having the very chipper *sarcasm* attendent tell us in her most enthusiastic voice, "You can't have bags on the ride." Tom: "Uh, can we leave it by the side of the ride?" Her: "You can leave it with a non-rider or in a locker." Tom: "What about just right there? By the side?" Her: "You can leave it with a non-rider or in a locker." She's so accommodating, that one. Love her.
So we got a locker. It cost $5. And did they take credit cards? No, of course not, that's just silly. So I used the oh-so-convenient ATM next to the locker rental with the $2.50 surcharge and got me a locker with a key the size of a small squirrel, to put in my pocket, which luckily I had.
We got back in line for the ship ride, not because we particularly wanted to ride it, but so we could — what was it, Tom? — look that woman in the eye and glare at her. Which we did. Into her blank, soulless eyes.
Next came the swings, the ones that lift you up and twirl you around while playing music as the attendant tells you to not move side-to-side or hold onto other swingers in his heavy Middle Eastern-accent through a super high-tech speaker system that was installed in 1952. The swings were decorated with the faces of Renaissance women. I'm pretty certain that's when that ride was built.
By the third ride — made with the highest-caliber craftsmanship and care hobo-construction workers of the 1850s can buy you — I was feeling like a hobo myself, if hobos typically feel like the carsick, middle child, sitting on the hump in the family Station Wagon on a 1500 mile road trip, taken on the Scenic Route of switchbacks and stop-and-go traffic. The wooden roller coaster, that hasn't been painted since it's construction at the turn of the twentieth century, didn't help too much, and the rocket ships (aka, metal cages spinning at 50 miles an hour three inches from the ground) were nearly my undoing.
Thank goodness for $2.50 a piece, lukewarm bottled water to calm my trauma-stricken body. (It was only after buying a bottle that Tom found you can get ice water for free from the Icee people. I love the Icee people.)
Like I said though, we had a good time. Not so much in the pulled-pork sandwich line in 100-degree heat while the 14-year-old cashier refused to take our order until the lady in front of us had her fries. That wasn't so much fun. But overall, it was a memorable day. And I will never go back. I've decided it's worth the 9-hour drive and $30 more to get into Disneyland. There's a reason that has been deemed the "Happiest Place on Earth": Because they went to Lagoon first.