Yesterday I asked what a writer gets from watching people at a place like Epcot. Yesterday we went to Busch Gardens, so I have a two-day supply of answers.

What we see in crowds is snapshots of behavior, and as authors we collect and file those snaps for future reference. The elderly couple who reveal with startling clarity who is in control by their walking pattern. The young family in which Dad feels responsible for everyone having a good time, including Mom-in-law. He sounds like a blend of Robert Young, Bill Cosby, and Sergeant Pepper. The teenagers who can't escape their need to project an image and therefore miss out on a lot of the real fun while they either seek the attention of everyone or pretend they don't know what fun is. The working person who can't leave work behind and spends the day with a phone glued to his/her ear, barking orders and expletives at those not allowed a day in the park. And on and on. It's great fodder for writing, and I heartily recommend it, but not in large doses.

Today's question concerns fun. Americans seem to spend a lot of time searching for it, and places like Epcot and Busch Gardens try to provide it. So what is fun about them, and what isn't?

For me, the fun is in the theater aspect. Even when it's corny and artificial, I enjoy the spectacle. It's temporary, and I would hate it for everyday, but as a one-day escape, it's great.

The downside is that everyone else in the world seems to be there with me. Crowds make things interesting, but too much human contact makes me tired and confused. I can't imagine a group larger than two trying to navigate and please. It would diminish the fun considerably, and those five-day passes seem to me more of a sentence than a vacation.

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