Thursday, January 6, 2011

Curiosity may have killed the cat but so far it has just made me tired.

Curiosity can be a blessing or a curse. As an intensely curious person (you can read that anyway you wish), I sometimes find myself spiraling into subjects that I never even knew existed because once I learn a little, I need to learn a lot. I have questions. Many questions.

The internet has certainly made it easier for the crazy curious to satisfy our information cravings. This is also a double-edged sword. I mean, it’s great that I don’t have to drive to the library and do research in order to follow the curiosity trail that started when I heard that one of the Kennedys had a lobotomy. But instant information access meant I spent quite some time reading about the procedure (why and how it was done, the effects, personal accounts from the lobotomized, and why it’s not done any more) and then went to bed late and a little freaked out. (If you are one of the curious, I apologize for turning you on to this subject. If it’s possible for you to get out now, I recommend that you do so. It’s not pretty.)

While at Busch Gardens theme park recently, I noticed some interesting signs that got me thinking. The first one looked like this:

Did I stand in a park bathroom and take a photo with my phone just for you all? Yes I did. You're welcome.

Now, I can understand why you might need this kind of sign. I guess a lot of diabetics visit the park and toss their needles all willy nilly (I’m sure it’s not the junkies. They are a neat bunch.) But, if you have a need for this sign, why is it only in some of the bathrooms in the park rather than all? Do they wait until a janitor gets his finger poked while emptying the trash before putting up a sign reminding rule-following needle-users to properly dispose of their medical waste?
Even more interesting was the sign that showed the rules for riding the Sheikra, my current favorite roller coaster. Rules include no prosthetic legs on the ride, and they deny entrance to anyone with a leg amputated above the kneecap. (We actually saw a young woman in the park with exactly this problem, and my first thought was, “Damn, she can’t ride the Sheikra!”). These rules were added since the first time we rode the roller coaster. My mind exploded into questions and scenarios. Clearly some unsuspecting soul must have had his fake leg fly off during the ride, smashing into expensive pieces or injuring another park visitor, who most likely sued. But then I had to think more about the amputee situation. Did some poor leg impaired rider become dangerously dislodged from the ride because he didn’t properly fit in the seat? I’m pretty sure that if someone was flung from the ride, we’d have heard about it on the news, but clearly there is some reason for the prejudice against amputees. I’m amazed that there isn’t some way to make the ride safe for someone in that condition.
After all, they can make roller coasters safe for extra large riders. During my recent visit, on two of the three rides I went on, I wound up in the “fat seat,” which has two seatbelt restraints attaching the harness to the base rather than just one. (I’m trying hard to not take offense at the cosmos for landing me in that seat twice.) It seems like there should be some kind of extra strap you could apply to keep someone with fewer than your normal number of appendages safe on a ride. I mean, Velcro is really tough, right?
So, while we were waiting in lines for rides, my mind was busily working through these scenarios. Am I the only one who can’t just read something, go “hmm,” and then move on? My husband was clearly not as enthralled as I was with all the possibilities. “Come on, the line is moving!”
Of course, curiosity follows me everywhere. Yesterday at CiCi’s Pizza (a buffet that is my daughter’s current favorite restaurant, largely because of the potential for unlimited brownies), as we ate, a large group of probably-college-aged people came in and sat down at one long table. The young men all had dark pants, white button-up shirts, and buzzed haircuts. The three women all wore dowdy skirts and had their hair pulled back. Everyone wore black name tags.

 A covertly taken cell phone photo of the group. Do they know of this technology?
I figured that they were either members of a strict religious sect (but not strict enough to deny a gluttonous trip to an all-you-can-eat buffet) or trainees at a sleazy used car dealership. But I decided against the latter because, while the guys’ attire might have worked for that purpose, I’m pretty sure that the shapeless skirts on the ladies ruled that out.
I had to read those nametags.
My first trip to refill water glasses/spy was unsuccessful. I could see their names but not the smaller print beneath them. What good is a nametag that you need to be on top of the person to read? On my second mission, I was able to confirm that the rest of the tags were in Spanish and included the word “Jesucristo.” So, a Spanish church group with a lot of young people in it that don’t appear to speak Spanish, at least, not as their first language (I heard only unaccented English at their table. Not that I was eavesdropping or anything). That makes sense. 
I had more questions.
Of course, I could have asked them what group they were with, but my aversion to conversations with unfamiliar religious zealots (of any religious persuasion) trumps my curiosity, so I was out of the game. Fortunately, we were also done eating, so I was able to make a clean break. But you see that I’m still thinking about those kids. And I’ll never REALLY know what they were up to. Sigh.

(You know this is a good book.----------------------------------->)


  1. I made the mistake of looking up lobotomies and the like after hearing about the Kennedy family member, and yeah, that was something I wish I hadn't done. *sigh*

    Now, though... I'm wondering about that group of people. Dang it!

  2. Becca, you did that too?! Maybe I learned about the Kennedy thing from you!

    So sorry to have started the curiosity ball rolling on the group :) Someone tweeted me that they thought they were probably Mormons. Don't know what the Spanish had to do with that but maybe they were doing mission work with a Spanish population.

  3. I do it too ... for example, might see something in a movie, then have to go and look it up which then takes me off into all sorts of strange tangents ... and then I miss the rest of the movie :-)

  4. Then you have to go back and re-watch the movie, because you can't not know how it ends, right?

  5. Maybe we have a form of OCD.... Or we're all geniuses. That must be it. GENIUSES!

  6. yep. Geniuses. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent chasing crazy stuff I hear on the web. I thought everybody does it.
    I'm very proud, Brenna, that you weren't eavesdropping. :)

  7. Glad to make you proud, Averill. :)

    Thank goodness for the web. I remember spending hours and zillions of dollars at the grocery store sorting through celebrity magazines so that I could learn more about my favorite people. No need for that anymore! I can pursue my obsessions in private now. :)

  8. Um, isn't all you need to know about lobotomies included in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"?

  9. You know, I've never read/seen that. I'm thinking maybe I don't want to. :)

  10. I just found your blog and I can tell you with 98% certainty they were Mormon missionaries on a Spanish speaking mission. White shirt, tie, buzz haircut, dresses, and black name tags? And with cheap all you can eat pizza? Yeah, sounds like Mormons alright. Hope that helps your curiosity.

  11. Thanks for finding me! I've never seen them in there again so I'm thinking you were right, they were missioning their way through the area.

    I go to Cici's wayyyy too much. It's my four-year-old's favorite place to eat. She's all about bread sticks and brownies:)

    Thanks for the comment!