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:
Come on, sing along! "OMG THE GRAND CANYON! HOW I LOVE YOUR RUSTY HUES! YOU ARE THE BEST HOLE THAT I'VE NEVER SEEN, BUT I WILL SEE YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOON!")
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...)