I'd never been to any of these middle Florida resort extravaganzas before. I swore I wasn't curious about Universal Studios - not at all interested in the American Pretend Universe and yet there I went. We were there because Carl C's son wanted to have fun and make memories with his father. We explored a mountain trip (too hilly for the handicapped) and the Keys (too long a drive for bad hips) and ended up in Orlando Florida at the Hard Rock Hotel with its huge pool and total accessibility.
Upon arriving, I with stunned about how seduced I was with Rock and Roll when I was young and how it now seemed to be a domain for the rich and self absorbed. My original condemnation was pervasive, but during our stay my preconceived notions about the resort began to melt away.
Looking around I saw a great many employed people who were pleasant and urged me to abandon worry and step into a safe and wholesome environment. Enjoy myself. Just as I thought I was getting in the swing of having fun; I read a private message in facebook from my youngest granddaughter.
"I've got namona, Nana. Cough. I gots the medicen."'
My younger self warred with my older self. "Worry," says my old self. "Don't worry, be happy. It is under control," said the earlier incarnation of myself, the part of me who gets this place and was ready to party. I hardly remembered how to put my cares aside, but I was trying.
The plant life at this resort was beautiful, micromanaged and non-native. The curves in the landscape and buildings excited my imagination and gave the illusion of great space, though I knew the paths were convoluted with plantings hiding the proximity of the next path. I had the illusion I was somewhere foreign, another country or a new reality. The resort was perfectly choreographed. We rode the water taxi which conveniently schlepped us from one destination to another in beautiful blue green dead water. Water seemed a precious commodity there - water, water everywhere without a drop to drink.
I was not wearing an "occupied" sign and my main act of rebellion was my eclectic Walmart wardrobe. It was Halloween around there, the time to darken into my shadow and become more who I truly am - so I wore more and more scarfs everyday and even used precious cash to buy a golden snitch to hold them in place. The magic was palpable. I sat in gratitude and sunlight. My expectations of wicked rich people were not being met. I was carrying with me a big dose of judgement about people who vacation at Universal Studios. Slowly, I let go of this.
The next day, my granddaughter wrote to me: "I'm at Memama's house. I just threw up and Memama went to go get Daddy and I am alone." I got on the phone and discovered all was under control.
Roger Rabbit was the first movie I ever saw which blended cartoons and people. CityVille, part of the Universal Studios Resort Center, gave a mirage of these two worlds coming together and by the end of the second day, I had succumbed to the illusion of the place. Around the pool, in the common areas - everywhere, I saw families, not vile wealthy people. I noticed there was actually an economy here. A bellhop told me the park was dying until the Harry Potter section opened summer before last. Now it is a destination spot for people from all over the world.
Halloween at the Hard Rock suited me and the accumulation of scarves began my transformation into the bag lady of the lobby. This met the requirements of my occupation agenda even as I recognized having money isn't dishonorable in itself, and vacationing here is not a manifestation of the devil. Though I understand the ecological havoc this resort must play in the area, I loved the stimulation to my imagination and the joy I felt there. My step-son's generosity and care for his father touched me deeply. Leaving my cares in the capable hands of the next generation was a lesson in letting go. Awareness of my own prejudices brought insights.
I urge everyone to occupy their own lives no matter where they are, to look around, and become aware of their fellow Americans and to stop demonizing our own people, businesses and government. Yes there are bad corporations out there and an unholy covenant between these businesses and the policies of our nation and there are wrongs that need righting. Despite these grave concerns, my vacation taught me to not be so serious about everything and to not to protray those who have jobs and money as wicked. It brought me back in touch with my rock and roll youth and blended it into my present life. After all, without the music where would we be now? Rock and Roll gives our movements life, moves the people, tells their stories and provides us all with the collective energy to transform. So rock and roll, hootchie coo!