Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Grand Canyon Incident

I've become convinced, over the years, that my parents were enrolled in some sort of incentive program with the US Government or possibly a secret military experiment* in which they were paid to do crappy things and then send in detailed information on how I reacted to said government agency. Perhaps some sort of psychological warfare deal.

 My parents are generally good people, did lots of volunteer work, were supportive of our extracurricular activities, helped us with our  homework, threw some of the best birthday parties ever, but every once in a while, they did things that were so crappily out of character, I just cannot explain it any other way than to say someone was encouraging them to fuck with me.

One of these times is now referred to as "The Grand Canyon Incident."  I've never been to the Grand Canyon. I spent a year living in Arizona with my grandparents when I was in first grade; we lived in the suburbs of Phoenix while my mom and dad were stationed in Okinawa, Japan.  I am fairly certain that I wasn't aware of its existence then, because if I had been, I probably would have pestered people to take me, immediately.

However, by the time I had finished 10th grade, I had totally seen the episode of the Brady Bunch where they visited, one time when I was home sick from school, and I had also seen National Lampoon's Vacation, and at some point I had gotten my hands on 1950s postcards of the Grand Canyon and goddammit, I wanted to go. So, when it was announced that we would be visiting my grandparents in Arizona and I was told that we would be driving a rental car across the state to sightsee, I immediately put in my bid to go visit that amazing giant hole... (I don't want to say Grand Canyon over and over again but all of the descriptive stand-ins I can think of sound like dirty dirty euphemisms) and my request was met with whole-hearted consent. "No problem! Sounds great! We'll go!"

Now, I must divulge that, in my family, nagging is the main cause of plans being canceled, and I know this, and I have a problem with getting excited and talking about something ad nauseum and so, after having been met with "You had to go and say something and ruin it for everyone!" many times prior in my life,  I was VERY careful to keep my big mouth shut after I was told that my vacation request would be fulfilled.  I, of course, wanted to sing songs of joy at the top of my lungs at getting to go, as we drove through the desert, which would have sounded a lot like:


 But again, I knew I could only chance about 1.75 mentions before I pissed off my parents enough that they would snap and cancel the plan, so I sat in the back of the rented white Ford Taurus and swelled with very quiet excitement inside, while listening to Skid Row tapes on my off-brand Walkman, as signs began to appear announcing the distance to my vacation Valhalla.

And finally, I knew it was safe! I was in the clear, and so I pointed to the right and said "DAD! IT'S THE NEXT TURN OFF! THE GRAND CANYON! 2.2 MILES! OMG YAY!" and my dad looked over at my mom as I bounced in the back seat and squealed silently, and then, studying the look between them, I said "Aren't we gonna go?" and I was met with, "Eh... I don't really feel like going," and then we drove past the turn off, and then I died inside.

And it didn't occur to me at the time, but surely it was an experiment.  They probably got the crappy rental car comped from the government, and it was most likely wired with cameras so they could study the reactions of the 15 year old female subject experiencing the effects of complete and total devastation and confusion, because the government are the kind of assholes that would do something like that. Right?

And I've yet to see the friggen thing. I want to.  I need to. I will... or else.

(* since I did grow up on a military base and spent a lot of time in Naval Hospitals early on- they say it was because of Agent Orange, but I know better...)


  1. Evidently, we need to have our own cross-country road trip. I think that'd alleviate some of the pain suffered from both our deprived childhoods. :)

  2. That's so sad! If I could fund a trip to the Grand Canyon for you, I would. Everyone should see the Grand Canyon at least once.

  3. I'm convinced the government is experimenting with how to break children's minds. I want in on it.

    Got any ideas who I'd need to kill, bribe, or bone?

  4. oh my heck, that is SO MEAN! you were at the turn? and they passed right by it?? *shocky face* my travelblood aches for you.

  5. OMGTHEGRANDCANYON! It is so majestic!

    A majestic hole in the ground that took millions of years to dig! Good enough for government work.

  6. :( what ever the abbreviation is for saying awwww with a sad face is out loud, insert it here (cause that's what I just did).

    I feel like a crappy parent right now. I'm famous for telling the kids maybe. I will try not to say maybe to my kids as often because we both know it means no.

    (been to the grand canyon every summer until I turned have to go)

  7. @adee- LOL, yup, I learned long ago that when my husband says "maybe" it means no. That is WAY better than giving an emphatic yes and then ditching, though.

  8. The fact that you were AT THE EXIT kills me and makes me think that you have to be entirely right about the government experiment theory. I pretty much live to screw with my kids' heads, and even *I* wouldn't change the plan two miles away from the destination.

    I just want you to know that I spent the entire afternoon yesterday reading through your archive rather than working and changing diapers. My paycheck and rashy kid thank you, I'm sure. You got the funny in you!

  9. Almost the same thing happened to me, but I was 30 years old and should have been more insistent when everyone I was with said "we don't want to stop, we've been there" as we drove right by the biggest and Grandest Canyon ever. I still haven't seen it.

  10. This makes me so incredibly sad! Have you talked with them about this since? Why would they not turn off?

  11. @Emily- I have, they don't have a reason. In fact my mom only recently admitted that it actually did happen after I showed her proof that we were there then.

  12. That is just unbelievably messed up. I thought the education factor alone was why most parents took their kids. Who passes up on education?

  13. I'm certain I'm part of the same experiment - And it's a lifelong study :P

  14. @Noisy Quiet- Yes, yes it is.


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