Still in Disneyworld, Florida. Conference hell continues.
The stairwells have become my only refuge, where, free from the crushing conformity of Disney and my conference confreres, I can sneak a cigarette and brush up my lousy Spanish with the costumed wretches trying to cool off between appearances.
Diego, the depressed Donald I met on my first day, has become something of a friend. Donald is not a popular character, so he gets a lot of free time and is almost always in the same ratty armchair on the third floor landing, reading a newspaper consisting mainly of anti-Castro diatribes. My kind of guy. I spot him a cigarette, he gives me a light, we laugh about the lard-assed locals and the boiled-lobster complexion of the English, and forget our troubles for a while.
The evening brings the reception paid for by conference vendors and sponsors. To make the event more ‘magical’, there is optional fancy dress, provided courtesy of Disney. Their uber-humourless “cast members” are on hand to ensure that propriety is observed. I ask them for giant mousetrap costume, so I can go tell everyone I’m looking for Mickey, and they instantly call security. Fortunately it never occurs to them to check the stairs, so I escape without incident. While I’m skulking on the landing, Diego offers me his Donald, but he’s about 5’ 3” and I think Donald has enough popularity problems as it is without adding indecent exposure.
So instead I sneak back into the reception in mufti and spend the evening getting drunk on free g&t, expressing eager interest in anything these chumps offer to sell me as long as they keep my glass full. Sadly for them I have the same degree of budgetary authority as a carpet mite, but it would be ill-mannered of me to spoil their evening by mentioning this.
Some of the other attendees have been equally indiscriminate in their embrace of the vendors’ hospitality. A rather buxom Minnie manages to fall simultaneously off of her chair and out of her costume and is helped to her room by suspiciously willing colleagues. A man in an unnecessarily tight-fitting Robin Hood costume is beginning to eye me hopefully, so I decide to take my last drink back to my room and finish it in safety.
This evening the little button on my palm turns red and I get to leave this god-forsaken hell-hole. I just hope the hangover has worn off by then.
Disney – something for everyone…