You Earned It!

‘Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house,

Tony and Katie weren’t sleeping when they were supposed to sleep

but then sleeping a lot when everyone else was awake

because of time changes and recovering from a red eye flight,

which is only a guess, I don’t really know what’s happening.

End of poem.

This doesn’t really make sense, when you think about it. Why would gaining three hours result in an all-out assault on our sleeping patterns? Will the whole next week be like this? Will I take a red eye flight ever again, even if it means saving 2,000 dollars again? (Ok, probably yes to that one.) This is all to say, Ohio is gray and wet, and the room where we sleep is very dark, so perhaps our retiring to a cave doesn’t help our chances of being functioning humans during the daylight hours. Again, this is only a guess.

The journey east was altogether easy, though, as we managed to find a direct flight to the state of Ohio. Which was a miraculous feat! A majority of our options consisted of 16-, 17-, 18-hour travel times with layovers in every other city between here and Los Angeles. I understand that I was supposed to sleep on my red eye flight, thus avoiding this whole “can’t sleep/can only sleep now” situation, but I did not. That is my cross to bear. Luckily, I was provided entertainment by the guy sitting across the aisle from us. He was convinced there was some kind of secret tray table in his arm rest, and he proceeded to pull on it until it literally broke apart, electrical wiring spidering out in different directions. He tucked the wires haphazardly back into the arm rest, though it didn’t take much detective work to look at his seat and see that it was jacked up. This same character proceeded to watch movies for the full duration of the flight, but not just any movies. He was watching movies that I have dubbed “Who are these for?” movies. Those are movies, often comedies, that have a funny joke or two in the trailer but as a whole doesn’t seem to be that funny, and when you really think about it you’re like, “Ok, but who is this for? This seems passable but, who is going to pay money to see this?” Well, this guy watched three of those. He didn’t just watch three of them. He barf-laughed through three of them. “Barf-laugh” is another term I’ve coined and it means laughing so hard you might barf. This guy was making all KINDS of noises. Can you imagine having that much fun on an airplane? The woman sitting to my right was also having a great time, as she had clearly smoked all her pot before getting on board, and then proceeded to talk on the phone and eat cheese. What a life! What a time to be alive! I hope these two characters meet and fall in love.

Besides enjoying the hustle and bustle of holiday traveling, we also got in the festive spirit by going to Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios this past Monday. Did you know that Universal Studios California is a mere 7 minute drive from our apartment? Well, it is! It’s probably a good thing that tickets are not cheap, or else we might find ourselves there every weekend. You know, it’s funny. I read all the Harry Potter books (and loved them), waited in line at midnight, saw the movies, did all the basic HP stuff of the mid-2000s. It was fun, but then it was over. And I was ok with that. I am a person who is good (I think) at understanding that things are over. No point in drawing things out. But then. THEN. Freeform started running Harry Potter weekends and Tony and I would literally just keep them on for hours upon hours while we wrote, cooked, read, napped, did chores, you name it, those movies were just the ideal things to have on. And, the more we watched, the more we realized how rife they are for hilarious bits. For example, we have developed an alternate narrative that focuses solely on Seamus Finnegan’s obvious American frattiness. We have posited that Seamus’s room of requirement consists of a half-drunk keg, a St. Pauli Girl poster, and an Xbox. This is our favorite version of this character, and we think of him now in only this way. If you watch any HP movies in the near future I ask you, please, see Seamus through this lens. Pretend his name is Mike or Ben or Nick. It will still make sense.

But, right, Christmas at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! I don’t know that I need to offer a review aside from it being, well, magical. Every last detail was considered (as it should have been, it cost 300 million dollars to build). It was immersive and charming and everything was for sale (can you believe it?) and little kids in robes were running around with their newly bought wands at perfect knee (or testicle, sorry Tony) whacking heights. I drank butter beer and bought a chocolate frog. It was all good things.

Tony getting one step closer to becoming his idol, Seamus Finnegan

Leading up to our day at CaWWoHP, I was having some serious arguments with myself about the concept of “earning it,” or more specifically, had I really earned a day at a theme park? I’m not working right now, and the idea of doing something fun just because felt off. I’ve been having the same struggle with Christmas: am I even allowed to look forward to the “break”? On the flip side, though, just because I live in a sunny place does not mean everyday is vacation now. My new normal is applying to jobs or working on writing for 8-10 hours a day. And even though writing seems like a hobby to some, it’s work to me, and submitting to (and being rejected by) publications is a not-always-fun part of the process. It goes without saying that I ultimately gave myself permission to have fun at Harry Potter world, and giving myself permission to relax is slowly but surely happening, too. It’s also possible that this solves the mystery of sleeping-so-much/not-sleeping-at-all: my body and brain are still at odds when it comes to understanding when they’re allowed to be off and on.

This is all to say, I hope everyone can grant themselves permission to enjoy the holidays, in whatever way that means for you. You are allowed to have nice things. Even if particular societal constructs and expectations have taught you not feel deserving of nice things, I think you do. Now go take a nap!