Dear Doing Touristy Things

4 Aug

Dear Doing Touristy Things,

My family has something against doing tourist things. I haven’t identified what it is, but I offer the following evidence:

a) I’ve been to Hawaii almost every year of my life. Usually for about a ten day stretch. For the first 17 years, we went to Oahu almost every time. I didn’t see Pearl Harbor until I was 16.

b) I went to Paris with my mom. Instead of going up the Eiffel Tower, we took a nap under it.

c) I’ve been to about 4 US National/State Parks and most of those were by accident. Or school field trips. On one such trip I petted a tarantula. An odd amount of our science curriculum was devoted to arachnids.*

d) I don’t know what state the Grand Canyon is in. I keep looking it up and forgetting. Arizona? Utah? Montana? That state between Utah and Montana? (Ok, so this has more to do with my sketchy inability to retain geography.)

e) I’ve never been to Seafair. Well, ok, when I was 22 I went on my sister’s friend’s boat to watch the Blue Angels show. I spent the whole time feeling vaguely like I was going to throw up– there is an insane amount of boat traffic during Seafair– which wasn’t helped by the 3 people who were so hungover they were puking off the side.

f) I had to take myself to see the nation’s Capitol this year. We went once before and my parents swear that we saw the memorials and the reflecting pool and the mall— by saying No really, I remember it very clearly. We drove by them. But it was too hard to find parking so we didn’t get out of the car.”

Anyway, the first time I can really remember touring was in Rome when I was eleven and the morning after we got off the plane, this very sweet woman named Francesca took us on a tour of the ruins. I hated her on sight. It only got worse as the day went on. She probably had a very slight accent but in my memory she sounds like a trash compactor with a retainer. I had no idea what she was saying, and that b**tch dragged us through the entire city to stare at piles of rocks while traffic whizzed by. Just when I thought we were going to get some relief she started in on the museums.

I was pretty sure that we’d been touring for about fifteen hours at that point, and I distinctly remember lying down on a bench in a museum that claimed to be air-conditioned and feeling my bones melt into a gelatinous heap. I was convinced my parents could not possibly have paid someone to torture us in such a way— although I’m not sure what alternative explanation I thought existed. She clearly hadn’t kidnapped us, and my mom and dad kept talking about how fantastic she was– so maybe I just thought the heat had brainwashed everyone.

Clearly I was the only one responding in a rational manner by wilting dramatically and demanding more gelato. (I stand by this stance. Whenever it’s over 90 degrees the only sensible thing to do is lie on the floor in front of a fan. I don’t care if you’re in Italy. And that faint push of warm air they call air conditioning? Yeah. And they say Mussolini was a bad era. It’s shocking to me that the oils don’t melt right off the canvases.)

Ok, now it sounds like my family doesn’t do tourist things because I’m a whiny pain in the ass. I assure you that isn’t true. I mean, the part about that being why we don’t do tourist things. I can’t really dispute the whiny pain in the ass status after that story. Although I have gotten comparatively better at not dripping gelato on my shirt. Comparatively being the key word.

In other news, Pearl Harbor was a really moving experience.

Hope your summer touring is all sunny-side-up. And free of throw-up.


*Edit: that was Discovery Park. That’s part of the Seattle Parks and Recreation system. Huh.


2 Responses to “Dear Doing Touristy Things”

  1. Jessica Austin 4 August 2011 at 12:12 pm #

    I’m thinking this calls for a San Diego tour extravaganza. We can pretend like you haven’t been here for almost 2 years and I’ll show you the sights. Balboa Park, the Zoo, Sea World, Comic-Con… Though some of those may be nausea-inducing…

  2. margaret michelle 4 August 2011 at 2:20 pm #

    can we tour the beaches instead?

    ….see? this is how it starts. or ends.

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