Thursday, August 2, 2012

Harry Potter World: One Girl's Spiritual Journey

Allow me to address a few housekeeping matters before I regale you with tales from my trip to Florida.

My office space is finished, and I now have several court-appointed clients.  I had my first hearing the other day, and I loved it!  Just being back in the courtroom did wonders for my self-esteem.  Here are the office pictures I previously promised:

My conference table.  Flowers courtesy of my friend, Sarah.

Built-in shelves that I will fill with leather-bound books.

My stately desk and office chair.
Last week my friend Olivia came to Huntington from D.C. to attend a training seminar with me on the West Virginia child abuse and neglect system.  It felt good being around people in a professional setting again.  I got to wear big-girl clothes, shake hands, and act accomplished.  More importantly, I learned a lot that I can apply to my cases.

Here I am with my conference tote, as excited to learn as I was on my 
first day of preschool.  Come to think of it, I had a tote then, too.

And now on to Hogwarts!

Two days after the conference, my friend Sarah and I went to Florida to visit Courtney, go to the beach, and finally make the mecca to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Our flight to Orlando was an interesting study on human behavior.  Airplanes have a way of bringing out the absolute worst in people, and in a way, I understand.  Large numbers of nervous people are confined to tiny spaces next to complete strangers.  They are stressed, uncomfortable, and bored.  But I maintain that riding on an airplane does not give you license to be rude.  Especially when said flight is only an hour and a half long.  Before our airplane even took off, I witnessed a complete asshole parade.

First, the airline accidentally assigned the same seat number to two people.  The flight attendant asked one of the passengers to sit temporarily in another seat while they figured out the problem.  She assured the passenger that there were enough seats for everyone.  People began bickering over seats during the 2 minutes it took to resolve the issue, resulting in conversations like:

Entitled passenger 1:  "Get out of my seat."
Entitled passenger 2:  "The flight attendant told me to sit here while she figures out the problem."
Entitled passenger 1:  "I bought this ticket like a month ago.  Move so I can sit down."
Entitled passenger 2:  "Well, I'd better get a discount from the airline."

As the flight attendant was rushing around trying to deal with the Great Seat Debacle of 2012, another woman stood up and tapped the attendant on the shoulder.

Entitled passenger 3:  "Excuse me.  I just wanted to ask you, am I an idiot for assuming that all of the seats in row 7 would be directly beside each other?"
Exasperated flight attendant:  "No ma'am.  You are not an idiot."
Entitled passenger 3:  "Well then why aren't the rows parallel?"
Exasperated flight attendant:  "I'm not sure.  Aircrafts are each built differently."
Entitled passenger 3:  "But I wanted the seats in row 7 to be parallel. Am I going to get a discount?"  The million dollar question.
Exasperated flight attendant:  "No."

I'm sitting quietly in my seat without causing a disturbance.  Do I get a discount?

I was assigned a middle seat, creating what I refer to as a Jenna sandwich.  A middle-aged woman in a white halter top collapsed into the seat to my left, drunker than a waltzing piss-ant.  She moaned loudly, took off her tennis shoes and dirty socks, and threw them on the floor.  She then wrapped a stained duck-shaped blanket around her neck, and dropped her purse beside me onto my seat.  Several empty miniature alcohol bottles and some miscellaneous trash fell out, but she didn't seem to notice, as she was already alternating between sending text messages (even during take-off) and slipping in and out of consciousness.

The saving grace on my flight was the passenger to my right, Gary, who was flying to Orlando for a Subway convention.  We bonded after sharing exasperated looks at the behavior of our fellow passengers.  We ended up talking like old friends the entire flight.  Thank you Gary for being my lifeboat in that sea of rudeness and negativity.

The trip itself was amazing.  We spent our first day in Orlando at Universal Studios.  I watched a wand demonstration in Ollivanders, bought sweets from Honeydukes, and perused the merchandise in Zonko's Joke Shop. 

Hogwarts Castle, where I will one day raise my children.
The ride inside the castle was amazing,
though not for people prone to motion sickness.
Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans, including
favorites like boogers, vomit, earwax, and soap!
My chocolate frog keychain that ACTUALLY
SMELLS LIKE CHOCOLATE.  I'm still smiling.
Extendable Ears from Zonko's
Sharing a round of butter beer with Courtney and
Sarah in the Three Broomsticks.
After seeing everything there was to see in The Wizarding World, we moved on to the rest of Islands of Adventure.  I loved the Spiderman ride, and the Popeye river rapid ride, mainly because it was 97 degrees outside and it cooled us off.  Around dinnertime we went to Pat O'Briens at Universal CityWalk to have a quick drink.  We ended up staying for several hours, singing loudly to the live piano music.  I love piano bars, and that might have been my favorite part of the day.

Sarah and Courtney enjoying Pat O'Briens' signature drink, the Hurricane.

After we left the piano bar, Courtney continued to sing loudly, but limited herself to songs from The Lion King.  The following pictures demonstrate my transition from being entertained to slightly embarrassed.

On Saturday we drove to Ponte Vedra, Courtney's hometown.  Her parents kindly let us use their beach condo while we were there, and it was a great end to the trip.

View from the Condo.
Most of our time at the beach was spent riding waves on a giant gator float.
Sarah, after shredding a wave.
Gazing out to sea after an exhausting day.  You're the man, gator float.
The rest of the beach portion of the trip was spent eating seafood, drinking fruity beach drinks, and lounging around watching the Olympics.  Cheers to a successful trip with amazing friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment