Monday, October 31, 2011

Ghost Train

There were a few hundred people lined up outside the entrance to the train yard. Stupidly, it had never occurred to me that a spooky ghost train ride running for a scant few nights around Halloween in a big city like Los Angeles might attract a crowd. So the Bean and I would just have to wait it out. This was the first sign of trouble.

The Bean’s excitement at riding the train carried us through for a little while. He had spent the majority of the day exclaiming, “Oooh, I can’t wait! I can’t wait!” (I was pretty excited about it too.) The Bean was also curious about being up past his bedtime. He didn’t yet have a solid grasp of time, so as we waited the conversation went like this:

The Bean: If we were at home, what would I be doing right now?

Me: You would be in the bath, complaining about having to wash instead of getting to play.

(Five minutes later…)

The Bean: What would I be doing now?

Me: You would be drying yourself off and running naked around the house, refusing to put on your pajamas.

(Five minutes later…)

The Bean: What would I be doing now?

Me: You’d be halfway through your first game of Mario Kart, bouncing around on the couch like a maniac and whining that you weren’t winning.

Twenty minutes went by and we had barely moved. Since we were now officially past the Bean’s bedtime, our conversation had subsided. He remained excited about the train ride, but was getting a little antsy. I didn’t have anything for the Bean to do but watch the kids who’s smart parents had brought glowsticks and lightsabers. I attempted to keep the kid busy by “timing” how fast he could run to a nearby tree and back. That didn’t last for very long.

It took us an hour before we reached the entrance to the train yard. The Bean was growing tired, but was steadfast in his wanting to ride the train. Then I noticed the second sign of trouble: what was usually a small straight line from the ticket booth to the train was now an unruly queue made up of a couple hundred people that snaked back and forth four times. Though he was deflated and yawning consistently, the Bean insisted that we stay. At least inside the yard there were Halloween decorations to look at.

We slowly moved our way past one of the displays that turned out to be the third sign of trouble: a mannequin bathed in a black light with a woman’s face projected on to it hung on a wall, creating a ghostly visage. It was a cheaper version of the effect used to bring Madam Leola to life in the Haunted Mansion. And even though the Bean had been in the Haunted Mansion a plethora of times with absolutely no problem, this freaked his head off. I tried to diffuse the situation by showing him the projector and telling him how the trick was done but the Bean was still afraid. At this point, we had been waiting for nearly an hour and a half.

As we zigged and zagged through the line, the Bean alternately complained about being scared and being tired. I asked him if he wanted to go and he gave a sharp, firm no. He was going to ride that train. Then he spied a picture that was projected onto a makeshift frame hung above the train platform. It was an old-timey person that slowly transformed into a zombie—another trick he’d seen at Disneyland that wigged him out here. He slid behind me and covered his eyes.

I became convinced that the ghost train was going to break my son. I mean here was a kid who claimed to have gotten spooked by a scene from Dinosaur Train. I gave the Bean every out imaginable. Yet the kid was determined to let anything keep him from riding the train that night. I wondered how long it would take me to save up for his therapy bills.

We had been waiting for two hours by the time we reached the front of the line. The Bean was practically asleep on his feet suddenly became excited boarding the train. I, on the other had, was incredibly nervous.

Thankfully the ride was fairly mild, favoring goofy scares over true horror. And even though there were some images a little more severe than not-Madame Leola, the Bean wasn’t bothered by any of it and we both had a spooky good time. Even though it was two hours past the Bean’s bedtime, the ride acted like a caffeine shot and he was bouncing all over the place after we arrived home, unable to contain his excitement as he told his mom of his adventure on the Ghost Train.


urbandaddy said...

WOW. That could have gone both ways, eh? It could have scared the begeezers out of him and he'd never sleep again or it could have been mild - which it sounds like it way. Thank goodness.

I anticipated as I was reading the post that you guys were going to get right to the front then Bean was going to get scared and you guys were going to leave.

Glad it worked out.

Vancetastic said...

I thought all these signs of trouble were pointing toward an Epic Fail. Way to keep a reader in suspense!

Word verification: throb. I don't know, I just thought that was funny.

James (SeattleDad) said...

Nice persistence. Glad it didn't end up scaring him too much. That would have been too bad.

Daddy Geek Boy said...

urbandaddy...Yeah, it really could have. I gambled and it worked out.

Vance...The kid can surprise sometimes.

James...You have no idea how bad it would have been. For him. For me. For us all.