Yesterday Mom and I tried to cross a few (okay, one) of the Oscar-nominated films off our list before the big celebration in the evening. We went to see Milk at the big movie theater downtown and parked in the municipal parking garage.
A few weeks ago I wrote about a recent trip to Disney World. I didn’t mention that my all-time favorite ride at Disney World (well, right up there with Pirates of the Caribbean and the Tiki Room, anyway) was and is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was awesome. It may in fact be the defining reason I wanted to move to England. It had jaunty music, an old-fashioned 1900s car to ride in, and you spent virtually the whole ride thinking you were about to crash into something (the side of a pub, a policeman, a waitress with a big tray full of tea, the other cars), until the end where in fact you got run over by a train and sent to hell: a heated room full of cartoonish little demons who bounced up and down, laughing at you.
To my deep, deep sadness, Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride was closed in 1998 and replaced with the infinitely more milquetoast Winnie the Pooh ride. Let me say here and now: Winnie the Pooh is bland. Mr. Toad – now there’s a hero I can really look up to.
At this point you’re probably wondering what this has to do with the film Milk. Absolutely nothing. But the garage for the movie theater has this narrow ramp with a very sharp turn in it when you are entering or exiting. As you’re approaching, it almost looks like there’s no way out and you’re going to crash into the wall. It’s also very dark in there, so you turn the headlights on and suddenly there’s this arrow sign pointing you to the right and you better turn the wheel NOW or you’re going to…AAAAH!! (Noise of screeching tires, breaking glass, crunching metal.)
Every time I go in that parking garage it reminds me of the late, great Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I mean, the film we went to see was good too, but I really loved Mr. Toad.
I discovered in ‘researching’ this post that some brave, like-minded soul has committed to virtually reconstructing Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. The project seems to have stalled, but it’s still one of the coolest things I’ve ever stumbled across in my web wanderings.
Another small pleasure I discovered in recent weeks: I’ve been borrowing a neighbor’s VW Beetle to get around (for which I am very grateful!) As you probably know, Beetles come with a little flower vase on the dashboard right next to the steering wheel. (The manual specifically instructs you not to operate the vehicle with anything in the vase, but that’s another story entirely.) The Beetle also comes with a little plastic Queen Anne’s lace flower to demonstrate the utility of the aforementioned vase. By accident we discovered that if you position the air vent correctly when the plastic flower is in the vase, it will twirl around like a little pinwheel! After the movie we did this all the way home.
It’s the little things.