The Play Journal attempts an adult day out in Orlando sans Mickey Mouse and other cheap imitations.
The Orlando Museum of Art only allows photography in certain sections. Here are some of those sections:
I did not get a good shot of the swan boats in Lake Eola Park, but rest assured that I was on one. I thought I saw an alligator, but it wound up just being a terrapin. It looked like a lawyer I used to know. So that was fun. I wish I got a picture of him so I could put them up side by side and you could compare them. I mean, that terrapin was a dead ringer. I’m tempted to go back and look for him.
Regrettably, I failed to capture an excellent scene that involved turtles on a pipe. You see, there was a group of turtles that had climbed up onto a pipe to sun themselves. Every now and then, a new turtle would swim up and attempt just once to climb up on the pipe. He would fall back in the water, and swim away in complete turtle shame. The one turtle in the middle of the pipe kicked his leg back and tried to push off the turtle behind him. The turtles were demonstrating life perfectly.
It’s a long hard climb to the top. You can’t try once and give up and quit. Not everyone can make it. Some will be too weak to climb, some will be too lazy to climb, and some won’t even care enough to want to try and climb. Then, even when you think you’ve got it made, sunning yourself on top, the guy just ahead of you is going to try and kick your ass back down. Turtles.
Another thing you need to know about the mean streets of Lake Eola Park is that high heels are frowned upon in this establishment.
When I first saw this sign I was fairly tickled about it, and still think it stands alone in the humor category. This is my first time being warned about shoes. I kind of thought it was implied. After walking around the loop a bit more, we came to a congregation of street people. I witnessed a legitimate scene that I am still trying to come to terms with. The short of it was that I think I found out that the sign is directed at street hookers and not tourists, as you would imagine! Cut to scene: two obviously highly intoxicated people. A woman standing and swaying, waving her finger in the air, and telling off a group of four men who were sitting on a bench. Woman: “I don’t do nothing for $8.50. Burger King can’t even get me for that. I want my full $10.00.” Men: “Oh, she don’t work for free.” “Nope.” I saw something in the park that I cannot unsee.
Lake Eola park is scarier than anything I’ve seen in San Francisco; the 9th Ward; Chicago; or Manhattan. Govern yourselves accordingly. Although, faced with the choice between a walk in the park and listening to other people’s children shout and drool upon themselves while queuing up to ride a $100.00 spinning teacup, I guess I’ll take Hooker Park.
I allowed myself some snark with this one because it’s real. We got dressed out, we got in the car, and we went out to see something new. The world is not always Disney World. Disney World is not Disney World, okay. Go back and read that sentence again if you have to. Every experience is not “I’m sitting on top of a mountain and the sky is bluer than you can even understand.” Every experience is not: “the tableside guacamole was perfectly made and the chips were warm and not too salty,” or even: “we drove in silence through winding mountains that we were surprised to find, and the light hit us through the windshield in a way that could only have been what heaven looks like always.”
No, those are things that happened in Arizona last month. This is now. In Orlando. A place where no one should ever be on purpose unless they have legitimate business here (which we did).
Every “Play” day is not a colossal success in the manner that an advertisement would try to sell you on. Sometimes, you are on a business trip and you are just trying to squeeze in a few hours of escape. I will embrace seeing something “real” even if it is a bit unpleasant and not sanitized for the tourist masses.
In fact, this installment of “Pressing Play” is probably the most real testament to what the journal is all about. And that’s making the most of the moments you have. Not everyone works in aviation and gets to travel as part of their job. Not everyone is privileged enough to take trips a few times a year. But we can all find moments to steal, and we can journal about them later to find gratitude and create memories for our families.
I had one more afternoon break walking in the sun with my husband. We did the best with what we had and that’s a win. No, we were not hiking to the top of a mountain; relaxing in a cabin in Montana; walking on a beach in Maine; or driving and exploring Big Sur. Those things were personal travel experiences. Those are things that only happen a handful of times a year.
The real everyday moments are ones we steal. Live! Before they take it from us. That’s something that anyone can relate to. We got another day together where we walked in sunshine. I don’t know why I think of those words, but that’s what I frequently think at the end of the day.
Ruthless turtles. Hooker Park. A terrapin lawyer. A walk in the sun. We lived this day and we were happy to have it.
Travel. Write. Index. Buy Stealth Journals. Repeat — Jamie Whitmer