First and foremost…Happy New Year! I’m waiting for Happy to catch up with my New Year. It’ll get there, but first I have to wake up and climb through the pile of dirty laundry. Also, my website has a bit of a new look to it. It’s been updated to be easier on the eye and easier to find what you are looking for. I hope you like it.
I recently went to Six Flags in San Antonio with my two teenage daughters, my friend Cara and her two teenage daughters. Nothing will remind you that you are aging like a good ‘ol theme park.
Why does it seem that theme parks have nothing but roller coasters?
When I was growing up, the only roller coaster that scared the pants off of me (could have been literally) was the Texas Cyclone at Astroworld. I can still smell the fear, feel my sticky palms and hear the dreaded click, click, click, click sound as the roller coaster climbed up the steep incline preparing to drop its inhabitants off the edge of the earth.
But my friends and I would ride it all day.
I could handle it back then because I was a young teenager. And apparently stupid. Maybe that’s what caused my brain cells to be a little jumbled up for the remainder of my life.
Fast forward 35+ years. Apparently, I am still stupid.
Of course, the first thing all four teenage girls wanted to do was ride a roller coaster. My chest started tightening as I thought about getting on one.
I’ve never seen my girls work so hard to get me to do something as they did trying to get me on that roller coaster. So, contrary to what I’ve tried to instill in my children, I gave into peer pressure.
Let’s just say shame, I mean encouragement, was the theme of the discussion.
I returned the favor to my friend, Cara, and put the same amount of pressure for her to ride it with us.
Because that’s what friends are for.
I might mail in a comment card to the Six Flags corporate office suggesting they put a dispenser of Depends undergarments by the roller coaster entrance for anyone over 40. Oh, and some free hits of Dramamine might not be a bad idea either.
What is it about aging that makes motion sickness worse? I can barely watch people swing on a swingset these days without having to lie down with a wet washcloth behind my neck and some ginger ale.
We got on the roller coaster and I pushed the safety bar down so tight that I think I could feel my spine through my stomach. Yet another reason for that Depends dispenser.
I was transported back to 1980 when I heard the familiar click, click, click, click as the roller coaster began its slow march upward. Cara was in the seat in front of me clutching Caroline’s hand close to her chest like she was being read her last rites. During some serious twists and turns of the coaster, many “OOH, OOH, AHHH!!! NOOOO”s from us, I felt my spine click all about.
I think my back was unaligned and realigned before we shot our way back into the depot, or whatever you call the place where the stupid ride ends. Oh, and the speed at which the roller coaster comes into its landing area is ridiculous. It’s like going from 80 mph to zero in a nanosecond. Whiplash all about. Not to mention a bad hair day.
We got off the ride and I looked at Cara and had to do a double take. She had a lovely shade of green to her face.
The saddest part of my day was when I learned that first roller coaster was the baby one.
The next one was called Superman.
Superman is where I might have come close to earning the ever elusive mom card.
With each passing minute of the 45 minute wait, I got more nervous and couldn’t believe I was actually paying to put myself through this torture. Cara’s oldest daughter kept telling me “it really isn’t that bad”. Then she left the line and went to sit with her mom.
I kept surveying people who exited the ride (looking for signs of distress and an excuse to bail) and even asked a few people what they thought about it. People just don’t seem as friendly these days – or maybe they were just annoyed a frightened middle aged woman was accosting them as they left Stupidman, I mean Superman.
After we got off the ride, and yes, it was as terrible as I thought it would be, I almost told the ride operator that if they found a missing brain and colon on the tracks to give me a call because they were probably mine.IMG_0809
I was basically no good for any ride the rest of the day. It took me longer than I want to admit to fully recover. Cara even tried her best to get me to ride one of those tall tower things that drop you from the top to two feet above the ground at the speed of the Concorde.
The “once bitten twice shy” line came to my head. Actually, it was more like “twice bitten, three times you die”. As I watched her shove 2 pounds of jelly beans down her throat from sheer nerves in line, it made me realize I had made the right decision to be an onlooker.
At the end of the day, I was glad I rode those roller coasters with my daughters. I could have played it safe, maintained a few more precious brain cells, but I would have missed a really fun experience with my girls. I think the best part was seeing how surprised they were that I actually rode Superman (only to be matched by how surprised I was that I did it).
Secretly, I’m praying I’ve earned a lifetime pass from riding them ever again.
As with any experience in life, there are things to be learned.
The pages of 2017 have been written and the book has been put away. It’s now history. It was a challenging year for me, but I learned a lot. But it’s now gone and time to look forward and take with me what I learned.
The book for 2018 is full of empty pages waiting to be filled with new memories, experiences and of course, life lessons.
As I think of the new year, I can’t help but think of those roller coasters, specifically Superman. I have no choice but to click, click, click, click up the track of life and I don’t always have the benefit of seeing what is approaching, which can cause me to get all worked up. There will no doubt be twists, turns and some upside down loop de loops.
And I might need to be realigned a few times.
I just need to click the safety bar in place and trust that the real operator of my life will take me on an exhilarating ride and bring me back in one piece. I don’t have to have sweaty palms, fear and dread because I know who has my best interest at heart and who is in control of my life’s ride.
And that person is the real Superman.