My Lumbago Isn’t Acting Up: On Disney World

My Lumbago Isn’t Acting Up: On Disney World

Turkey leg and sea king. On the first day, God said, “Let the atmospheric water vapors condense and become rain,” and so there was a downpour, and it was inconvenient. But we had ponchos. It was November at Disney World, and ponchos were like noses or smartphones in that every visitor had one, of course they did, it wasn't even a question. Soon the rain turned horizontal and worked itself inside the ponchos, and now the condensation cycle in the sky was being restaged on an individual level. You'd think this situation—thousands of humans being dumpling-steamed in plastic and packed into a slow boat or a shuttle simulator—would create a terrible odor, but Disney World was one step ahead: employees (“cast members”) stationed at the threshold of each attraction kindly asked guests to remove their ponchos before entering, and all obeyed, crumpling wet balls into pockets and backpacks … and we saw that it was good. I'd intended to keep a detailed diary at Disney World but totally failed. My notebook has only two notes, both scribbled at Living with the Land, the EPCOT ride where you hop into a boat and glide past an idyllic farmhouse and through a series of greenhouses to learn crop rotation and pesticide reduction. “In our search for more efficient ways to grow food, we often fail to realize the impact of our methods,” a narrator explained, channeling Wendell Berry. When we passed a thicket of tomatoes, the narrator revealed that one of EPCOT's tomato plants had yielded “thirty-two thousand fruits.” A gasp went through the crowd. As it turned out, Living with the Land features the greatest fantasy in all of Disney World: no dirt . So the first note in my notebook was: “What vacuum cleaner used by maintenance employees @ Land?” … for which I neither got nor sought an answer. The second note was: “Bougainvillea flower edible?” This was prompted by a sign in one of the greenhouses claiming that it was. Bougainvillea doesn't look edible. It is too torridly colorful, like one of those frogs whose neon […]

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