19 August 2013

Riding rollercoasters

I blame Foghorn Leghorn.

When I lived in Australia, I visited Movie World. One of their rides is a rollercoaster called the Wild West Falls Adventure Ride. Now, I was not much of one for thrill rides. But near the end of the day, I saw a sign with Foghorn on it, saying something like, “You got to, I say, you got to face your fears, son.” That goaded me into going on the ride. I didn’t rate it as a particularly enjoyable experience.

It wasn't until several years later when I had a little extra time at an SICB meeting in Orlando to visit Walt Disney World with my buddy Suzy Renn. She conned me into going first on to Thunder Mountain, and then Space Mountain. Still didn’t like Thunder Mountain. I was grabbing on to the handrails, hard, all the way through. But Space Mountain? Space Mountain I enjoyed a lot.

The difference was all in the seats. The other rollercoasters I’d been on had quite a bit of wiggle room; indeed, I suspect that a lot of them are designed to be bumpy to be more thrilling. On Space Mountain, though, there was only one seat in a row, and you were in there tight. I didn’t feel at any time like I would shake loose, so I was, for the first time, able to enjoy the ride and was laughing a lot of the way through.

If, about a decade ago, you’d told me that there would be a time when I would seek out rollercoasters, I don’t think I would have believed you. And I certainly wouldn’t have believed that I would voluntarily go on a rollercoaster that did a full 360° loop, taking you upside down (California Screamin’). And not only did I do that last week at Disneyland, I did it twice.

The moral of the story? Not sure. Maybe, it’s that sometimes, things that you think are scary turn out not to be so scary after all. Sometimes, they can even be fun.

Even if my trip on Splash Mountain destroyed my phone. (“You will get wet”? More like “You will be soaked as completely as if you jumped into the lake if you’re sitting in front.”)

California Screamin’ photo by andy castro on Flickr; used under a Creative Commons license.

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