On the Road: Live from Orlando

John McManamy Health Guide
  • Monday


    I've been up since six in the morning, California time. Six or seven hours in the air and four hours in airports later, I walk out of the airport terminal in Orlando 30 minutes short of midnight into a steam heat that has sweat sluicing from every pore on my epidermis. Even my eyes are sweating. I joke to the cab driver that I'm going to have to apply my deodorant all over. It's 1:30 AM by the time I settle down and hit the sack. I hate travel.




    I take it all back. I'm at Disney World. I enter the gate to the Magic Kingdom. A brass band in spiffy uniforms with epaulets is belting out Dixie tunes. Best of Sousa meets best of Louis Armstrong. It's a street carnival on Main Street. I'm bipolar and I'm eating this up.

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    The Sousa-Armstrong band is playing my favorite song of all time, Tiger Rag. Once, I was about to download 30 different versions of Tiger Rag into iTunes. Then, in a fit of better judgment, I figured I might be hypomanic and restrained myself.


    What was I thinking? I reflect as I listen to the best tune of all time in the best place in the world to listen to it. When I get back home, I'll download FIFTY versions of Tiger Rag into iTunes.


    I feel good.


    Back in the mid-eighties I took my then-eight-year-old daughter Emily to Disney Land, and the two of us had the best day of our lives. I thought you needed to have a kid in tow to enjoy the Disney experience. I was wrong. I keep forgetting. I'm bipolar. I will be an honorary kid forever.


    Disney World, instant mood unstabilizer.


    The analytical side of me is totally in awe over the vision and planning that went into an enterprise of this scale and complexity, from quietly buying up the Florida swamp land to integrating at least four parks into hotels and film and who knows what to no traces of discarded gum anywhere.


    I manage to survive the humidity by ducking into souvenir shops, as ubiquitous as mesons in a subatomic singularity (I have no idea what that means). I pass my hypomania test with flying colors by not buying anything. Okay, I lie. I bought three things, but they're all related to the talk I will be giving at the DBSA conference on Friday.


    I'm now in line to ride on Pirates of the Caribbean. Two kids - about ages three and four - are behind me, plastic cutlasses in hand, totally ready for this one. Avast ye maties, I carry on with them. This is the closest I get to being able to borrow a kid for the day.


    We pile into the boats and shove off into the dark. The kids are now beginning to question the wisdom of their choice. Pirates are lurking around the corner and suddenly those plastic cutlasses don't feel too reassuring.


    A pirate ship is bombarding our boat! Cannon shot is splashing all around us. The kids are squealing with delight. Their joy is infectious. I am resonating in harmony two octaves down.


    Oh rapture, oh unelucidated synchronicity (I have no idea what that means, either).


    Time for a Disney parade, then back to my hotel for a late afternoon nap. Tonight will be a quiet night of chilling out and reviewing the two talks I will be giving, maybe a little didgeridoo practice on the balcony.


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    Tomorrow morning will be more quiet time. Then, around noon, I will be meeting up with a good friend of mine. After that, my time belongs to other people.


    This is John McManamy, reporting "live" from Orlando.

Published On: August 08, 2007