On Saturday, we made a group outing to Six Flags Magic Mountain–my dad and I started off from San Diego proper, we picked up my brother at a park & ride in Oceanside, and then we picked up my dad’s sexy mysterious latin luvvah (as he requested to be called; forthwith he will be referred to as ‘J’, but whenever you see ‘J’, feel free to substitute it for ‘sexy mysterious latin luvvah’ in your mind) at a park & ride in orange county. It’s a long trip to Magic Mountain, and so we discussed a variety of topics, like that chick with the tattooed forehead who is on the news, and dissected Lady GaGa lyrics, and generally mocked people and had a good time.
We had already bought our tickets and parking pass online, so we drove right in. It wasn’t until AFTER we got into the park that the announcement was made that due to wind, pretty well every ride that any roller coaster fan would want to ride was closed, but that we were free to enjoy the rest of the park OR just go home–it didn’t matter because they already had our money and weren’t planning on letting it go. We got in line for the ‘Terminator: Salvation’ ride, which wasn’t actually a new ride–they’d rebranded a coaster that was already there. Within five minutes of getting in line for this ride, an announcement was made that the ride was experiencing technical difficulties but that they’d get around to working on it ‘as soon as they could’. We decided to wait instead of getting out of line–twenty minutes later, they started up the ride again. During that twenty minutes, we were bombarded with commercials from the TV displays in line because unfortunately THOSE never stop working. J and I also got to see the girl in front of us in line carefully popping pimples on her boyfriend’s face. Romance is dead.
After approximately two hours in line, we were ushered into a room where they played a seriously lame video about machines coming for the human stronghold that was Six Flags. By this point, I am seriously sick of waiting and did not have even a second of patience to do anything other than mock the video. We were then herded into another room with terminator torsos while the video screamed at us to GO GO GO GO THE MACHINES ARE AFTER US.
For some reason, they were videotaping the crowd in line and showed us on the monitors as we passed through the door–I sincerely hope they caught my eye-rolling. We all agreed that we should try to enjoy this ride as much as possible, given that it might be the only ride we got on that day. J leaned forward to whisper something snarky to my brother about a larger guy who was struggling to get his lap bar down. Eventually, it was determined that he was too large to ride, and he had to get off and wait for his friends. My heart broke for him. How awful it must be to have waited in that insanely long line for nothing but a dose of shame in front of a watching crowd. I wanted to jump out of line and give the poor guy a hug. After the ride, we decided to get in line for one of the only other operating coasters–Deja Vu. I shit you not, within ten minutes of being in line for this ride, it was announced that it, too, was shut down for mechanical difficulties but that it should be up again soon. Two out of two? Really? What the hell kind of disrepair are you keeping your park in, Six Flags? We again decided to wait (what other line were we going to get into?) and again invested a good two hours in line. We began to get pissed off at the people who had bought Flash Passes, which allowed them to cut to the front of the line, extending our time in line indefinitely. It’s one thing if the whole park is open: then only a few people are getting in front of you in line on any given ride, but when 3/4ths of the park’s rides are shut down, it makes a huge impact and extends the already outrageous wait times. By the time we got off of Deja Vu, the wind had died down and some rides had opened up again. We got in line for Tatsu, and shortly thereafter, my brother pitched a fit about ‘wasting his day’ and decided to get out of line to wait for us. So…he was going to wait JUST as long, only with no ride at the end. I don’t get it either. The line went reasonably quickly, after which we hopped into the line for the Viper which was essentially empty–our theory was that so many people had reached their waiting limit that they’d just given up and gone home. After the Viper, we decided to see if our favorite ride, X2, was open, and it had JUST reopened, so we were also able to walk straight onto that ride. My brother also elected to sit out even the short lines, knowing that if he maintained his hiss fit, he would eventually get what he wanted and we would go home. After X2, he got his wish–we decided to head back to the car, get dinner, and then go home. On the way back to the car, we discussed the supposed gang problem that Magic Mountain has. It’s not in your face but there’s definitely that element where there are people you just wouldn’t ever want to mess with, instinctively. I personally don’t get it–what gang is like “Hey mang, so your initiation is to buy a season pass to magic mountain, mang. We are the funnel cake gang. Our enemies are those churro bitches. They may look tough on the outside, but the inside is all soft, mang. One day, all this turf will be OUR turf. Until 10pm, when they kick us out for the night.” After dinner, we hit the road for the two hour drive home. Or so we thought. Here’s a little foreshadowing for you–the previous day, on our way home from Julian, Discount Tire called to let my dad know that the tires he wanted to buy were backordered until May. My dad said that his need for tires wasn’t that dire, so he would wait. Can you guess what happened next? You’re right! We heard the helicopter-y THUPPATHUPPATHUPPA noise of a flat right as we passed through a not-so-great area of LA. My dad pulled to the side of the highway, but even pulled over as far as he could go, we were not very far away from the rightmost lane. Cars were flying by, rattling the car. My brother stepped out to see what tire had gone, and sure enough, it was the driver-side rear, so there was no way in hell we were going to change that tire. That’s what AAA is for–risking a roadside splattering to change tires. My dad called AAA, let them know where we were, and they said it would be approximately half an hour wait, making it one of the shortest wait times we’d experienced all day. It’s not like we had a choice. We waited while cars and trucks whipped by. I had an urge to go to the bathroom, but I figured I could hold it until we got home–I wasn’t going to venture up the embankment and into an area of LA with which I was unfamiliar by myself, at night, just for a bathroom. When the tow truck driver arrived, he immediately got to work. J and I could see the naked fear in his eyes as he went out onto the highway to jack up the car. And the car went up. And the car went down. And he asked us to put on the parking brake. And take off the parking brake. And roll forward. And the car went up. And the car went down. Clearly he was struggling. Eventually, he came to the window and said there was a lock on the center nut and there was no way for him to get the tire off; we would have to be towed, and he’d go call a tow truck with a crew cab since he couldn’t fit all four of us up with him–the wait would be about an hour. He told us that he’d never had this sort of problem with a tire before, that we were the very first. Lucky us! My dad immediately had a “What are we going to do” panic moment. We panicked silently. I crossed and uncrossed my legs. Five minutes later, the tow truck driver came back to the window and said he had another guy coming who had the tools to get the tire off, and he would be there in about ten minutes. We rejoiced and continued to wait. The second driver came, and the car went up and the car went down. Up. Down. Up. Down. It seemed like they were struggling again, and then it felt like they were kicking the tire to get it to come off. Eventually, the tire was replaced with the spare (which was thankfully a full-size spare, not a doughnut), and we were back on our way. We all sighed in relief and continued the drive home, thankful that the whole ordeal was over. But then, twenty miles later, as we entered Orange County: THUPPATHUPPATHUPPA. “JESUS FUCKING CHRIST,” my dad swore as we pulled over. Verdict: Passenger side rear. We were fucked. We would have to be towed now, it’s not like we carried multiple spares. My dad called AAA. “You again?” “Yeah, another flat. We have to get towed…but where?” Panic creeped into his voice again. The AAA operator explained that since he was paying for the premium package, he could be towed 100 miles, but every mile over 100 was billed at six to ten dollars per mile. Should he get his car towed back to his place? But then wouldn’t he have to get it towed again the next day to a tire dealer? But what tire dealer is open on Sundays? Were we over 100 miles from San Diego? The operator got snippy. “Sir, why don’t I just dispatch a driver and maybe by the time he shows up, you’ll have figured out what you’re going to do.” *click* She didn’t say how long it was going to take. My bladder cramped. My brother sighed and tried to melt through the seat. My dad didn’t specify that we needed a tow truck that could carry four people plus the driver. He called back. The driver who eventually showed? Could not haul all of us. What he decided to do was put the car up on his flatbed with us inside and drive us to the next exit and get us in a safer place to wait for the fourth and final tow truck. As he hooked us up, we all shared a look. This, by far, would be the scariest ride we went on all day. After we were on the flatbed, the driver came back to the window and said “Just honk if you are having any problems, ok?” GEE, OK. My dad kept his hands on the wheel as if that would do any good if we flipped off the side of the flatbed.
The driver passed the first exit. J freaked out. “Where is he taking us, he said the first exit, where are we going?” However, the first exit was to a different highway, which would have done us no good. The driver (who took corners entirely too fast for my liking, what with me all exposed and vulnerable up on a flatbed) eventually dropped us off in a strip mall in front of a taco bell with a gas station down the block on the corner. He told us that the next driver would be around to pick us up in an hour, and at those words, I sprinted down the street to the gas station, ran inside and said “OHGODINEEDTOUSEYOURBATHROOMIWILLBUYSOMETHINGPLEEEEEASE” and the operator pointed me outside and around the corner. I ran back outside, pulled down my pants as I was rushing to the toilet and experienced a moment of truly blessed relief. It was then and ONLY then did I realize there was no toilet paper. Friends, have you ever wiped with paper seat cover? I have. True to my word, I went back inside and bought some aspirin and some gum, at which point J rushed up and said “Melissa, the tow truck driver is here!” I grabbed my stuff and bolted back to the car.
The driver was really nice, we all loaded into his cab, and he said he would drop J and Andrew off at the park & ride for J’s car. J would then drive Andrew back to his car, and then meet us at the Bridgestone at Fashion Valley Mall to pick us up and go home. What a frigging day. I don’t know why we’re ever surprised when things like this happen–as soon as three or more of my family members get together, this sort of thing ALWAYS happens. Our last name is synonymous with “WHAT THE FUCK?” Now let us never speak of it again.