Every once in a while, b&c and I will be about to go out, and he'll look at me and ask, "Am I driving," and I'll stare back at him, as if to say, "Do I have to go look for the pod again?" before he'll say, "Oh, yeah. Dumb question." As it happens -- and I'll never tell him this -- b&c is a pretty bad driver, but he's not bad in a dangerous way, and if my disdain for his driving tries to fight with my dislike of getting behind the wheel, well, it's a very short fight.
Really, though, it's not so much that I hate to drive as that I can't stand the temerity of other drivers who want me to share my road with them. I'm perfectly content to drive on the open highway (unless the traffic's heavy, I'm pretty good at staying between rather than within clumps of cars), and I actively enjoy driving on scenic back roads. Which is yet another good reason to drive a long way to places while on vacation.
Idlewild is probably a ninety minute drive from my parents' place in Pennsylvania. It's hard to say exactly because we always stop for a meal on the way there and another on the way back. And because I don't take the quickest route. (Google Maps says that my route should take an hour and thirty-four minutes and that its suggested route would take an hour and nineteen minutes.) I used to take the quickest route, but then one year I missed a turn and had to take a parallel route, and I ended up driving through a state park and then an area with a lot of large manor houses. When we got to one turn in the road, there was a long driveway, and a couple was out walking a whole pack of hounds. I haven't ever seen the pack of hounds on subsequent trips, but it's so much nicer a drive that it much more than makes up for the extra fifteen minutes.
Idlewild's a pretty big place and includes a waterpark and a storybook area. I mostly like the older amusement rides, including the old 1930s wooden roller coaster. YFU loves the whole park, including the Spider (pictured at the top), the only ride that I have to be cajoled into riding. EFU pretty much avoids anything even remotely stomach churning. I don't think she had the greatest time this year. Her mind's already on college, and there isn't a lot at Idlewild for her, but she doesn't complain. This year, while YFU spent an hour in the waterpark in the mid-afternoon, I bought a deck of cards, and EFU and I played Egyptian rat screw and talked. It was fun. EFU is also good at the competitive games that involve rolling balls or hammering gophers, and she won two stuffed animals this year. As is her tradition, she named her stuffed animals after sexually transmitted diseases. I shit you not1. She already had Gonorrhea and Syphilis at home, and now she has Crabs and Herpes. Crabs is a puppy; Herpes is a teddy bear.
Anyway, the STDs weren't around until sometime in the afternoon, and I noticed pretty quickly after I got there that I was ogling the men and thinking about sex (even) more than usual. But, really, with amusement park rides, how can you help it? Here, for example, is the Round Up. It's at rest, and everyone's pretty quiet. Then, a minute or two into the ride, it's semi-erect, and all the riders are getting excited. And then, pretty soon, it's all the way up, and everybody's screaming and having a great time. There are a lot of guys to ogle at Idlewild. I really, really suck at getting pictures of attractive guys, but the park is pretty much packed with twenty-something and thirty-something dads. A lot of these guys are fit and wearing tank tops. And a lot of them have goatees and tattoos, probably to demonstrate their virility. Really, you'd think you were in Dupont Circle if it weren't for the tragic haircuts and footwear choices. Here's a cute guy with a tragic haircut. The picture doesn't do him justice. Apparently, I have a bad habit of taking a lot of pictures of the skeletons of amusement park rides. I find them fascinating. I don't know why. Here's the Wild Mouse, Idlewild's most aggressive roller coaster. It's hella fun. Here's a picture of the Ferris wheel. I didn't take it to show the skeleton, though. I took it to show these guys. I suppose they might have been a father and son from Scandinavia, but I think more likely they were a daddy and boy from Pittsburgh. In any case, they were two of the few men who were not accessorized with small children. Here's another pic of the Ferris wheel, from the inside. And here's the view from the top. Now you know how I see things. (I gave apologizing for bad jokes for Lent. Your loss.) Here's one of the guys who got off the Ferris wheel shortly before me. Again, it's a bad picture, but he's really pretty hot if you ignore the accessories. And the tragic footwear. You know, back in the day, if you wanted to be tragic, you had to kill your father, become king yourself, marry your mother, find out about it all, and put your eyes out. Nowadays, you just have to wear sandals. I would lament the (tragic) erosion of standards, but I reckon the elements of pitty and terror are still there. To be honest, I don't judge people by their footwear. Apparently, none of the men in Idlewild own flip flops, but neither do I. I was wearing some New Balance shoes with no-show socks. I would be afraid to wear either sandals or my New Balances with mid-calf white socks, but the guys at Idlewild weren't. I suppose it's good to have a way to identify the breeders.
You can't go to an amusement park and not eat bad food. I had a lot of Diet Pepsi and a hot dog, and then I had a cyclone cone. They sell cyclone cones from one window of this building. They sell funnel cakes from the other window. A cyclone cone is a large waffle cone with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. It's delicious and very bad for you, and it's four bucks. EFU and I each had one. YFU had the funnel cake. For $3.95, they'll cover it with two scoops of vanilla ice cream, a mountain of strawberries, and a lot of whipped cream. Also delicious and very bad for you, and even more filling than the cyclone cone. It's the sort of indulgence that amusement parks are built on. I'm not sure about the wisdom of having a cyclone cone just before riding the Scrambler, but I rode it with YFU anyway. Then we rode it again. There were usually some reasonably cute guys standing by the amusement rides, watching. If you don't look too carefully, the fence blocks the stroller and the five-year old. As a general rule, I don't lust after straight men, but if there hasn't been anyone to lust after for a while, and the evidence of breederdom is hidden, I can make an exception.
I'm not sure that we'll be going back to Idlewild next year. It's not clear to me that my folks will come back to Pennsylvania next summer. YFU would be just as happy at Hershey Park, Six Flags, or Kings Dominion. EFU's off to college, and even if she's back, she probably won't want to do amusement parks, even to win more stuffed animals: she's already got the major STDs covered. I try not to be too nostalgic about it. After all, maybe she'll decide to branch out. Who doesn't want a stuffed frog named Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis, after all.
1Really, I shit you not: she names her stuffed animals after STDs. The poor child has inherited her father's sense of humor (I suggested Scabies, but she didn't know what it was). But it's not my fault: her mother doesn't have one to pass along.