Tuesday, August 23, 2011

on overcoming my fear of roller coasters

I don't think we should call it 'fear' - the feelings I have towards roller coasters.  It's more just an intense dislike. I have never actually liked them.  But I certainly have ridden them before, so it's not like a paralyzing fear...or any kind of fear.  It's just, in the scheme of choosing to take them or leave them, roller coasters could have been left off God's ultimate plan for the world, and I would have been just fine. 

We made our annual pilgrimmage to Six Flags with the big kids the week before school started again this year.  I may have had something to prove this time.  Last year, Meiners - my dare devil middle child who is deathly afraid of most theme park rides - and I mutually decided to ride The Screaming Eagle.  Together.  And by mutual I mean Dad.  And by decided I mean told us to.  Cuz, apparently, when you become nauseous while looking into your purse riding in the van through the subdivision that's how weak your stomach is, you're just a chicken if you don't ride roller coasters.  And I'm no chicken.  (But that seriously is how weak my stomach is.)

So last year, Meiners and I mustered the courage to find ourselves in line to ride The Screaming Eagle.  Our pulses raced while we gave each other tentative high fives and fist pumps.  And then it was our turn.  The gates swung open.  I took a step forward.  Somebody hurled.  The gates closed.  The ride remained closed for approximately 7.52 minutes while the teenaged workers cleaned up a spill on aisle 8 left by someone exiting said Screaming Eagle.  It was just enough time for me to absolutely lose my mind.  I took one look at Meiners.  I took one look at The Screaming Eagle.  I took one look at Dad, shook my head no and burst into grown-up sized sobs.  I grabbed Meiners' hand and left The Screaming Eagle dock in one big fat hurry.

I have not lived that down for the last 12 months. 

Yes, I did have something to prove this year when we returned to Six Flags.  But this time I had a plan.  I had extensively quizzed my roller coaster loving friends on which ride would be the best.  I knew my first order of business for the entire day had to be riding a roller coaster.  I took Pookie (the ultimate goader) by the hand right after they smiled for Scooby Doo, and I led her straight to The Boss.  (Much to her thrill and excitement.  That girl L.O.V.E.S. roller coasters.  The faster and scarier the better.  Heart condition and all {and yes - she has special permission from her cardiologist to ride them.}  I don't know how she is mine.)  We waited in line.  The gate opened.  I paused.  No one vomited; I stepped into the car.  I sat down.  I clutched the lap guard across my legs.  I looked down. I braced myself.  I pinched my eyes closed. 

I opened my eyes again approximately 4.92 minutes later when the ride came to a complete stop.  I stood,  climbed out of the car, grabbed the waiting Meiners by the hand (nope, he wouldnt' ride it), and I ran out the door, shaking and sobbing, promising never to ride another death-defying metal ball of awful again.

The end.
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