On Monday, almost the entire eighth grade of my school hopped on buses and headed to Great America, an amusement park in California.
I hadn't been sure whether to go or not. I thought that it would be wasted on me because I cannot go on rides much scarier than the carousel...Since I have gotten carsick, airsick, and seasick in the past, I was sure that riding on a rapidly-spinning ride or a roller coaster would cause me to pass out, throw up, or some other atrocity.
But I didn't want to stay at school, either. For one thing, I had no idea what we would be doing all day, seeing as all our textbooks had been returned and there was nothing academic left to be done.
Also, I had hoped to gather up my courage to try a roller coaster for the first time. (I vaguely remember having ridden one and having been very upset by the experience, but then again, it could be my imagination and not an actual memory, so I instead consider it to be that I had never been on a roller coaster) Since so many young people seemed to enjoy thrill rides, I figured that it would not kill me to at least try it before dismissing it as undesirable.
I traversed the park with two friends. The first place we headed was the Kidzville. (Supposedly, the rides intended for younger children would be milder than the rest of the ones in the park.)
We rode one of those swings that go around in a circle first. I cannot describe how terrifying it was at the beginning... My head felt unsteady and so did my intestines. It was all I could do to not scream and cry and thrash until someone stopped the ride to let me down. I tried closing my eyes. Then I realized that the ride was really just a pattern. As you went around in a circle, you would swing upwards and then drop a little downwards, and that would repeat. It was easier to deal with the nausea if I closed my eyes right before the highest point and opened them once I started to move upwards again. Towards the end of the ride it was bearable and I could look around with some degree of calmness. But then the ride slowed down and we got out of the seats.
hen we went to the roller coaster in Kidzville, but the man working there compared our heights to a pole and said we were too tall. (Maybe he didn't feel like working, so he figured he'd reject people until he felt like taking customers. I mean, it is kind of waste to run a ride for only three people, but it was still annoying since we were only an inch or two too tall. And we were able to go on the swing ride, even though the same height restrictions are used there) Isn't it ironic? I've been considered too short before. So it's unexpected that I'd be told I was too tall for a change.
I thought I wouldn't be able to try a roller coaster because I figured there were no other small roller coasters in the park, but it turned out there was one, the Woodstock Express, in Snoopy Land. I thought we were going to die several times. (There was a point where the ride seemed to stop and then jerked...) And when it was rushing up and down I thought we were going to crash into something or run off the track... And then when it was going around the bend I thought we were going to fall out of the seats... I was so surprised that I was still alive after the ride. (I must have been crazy because later that day I rode the Woodstock Express a second time.)
Nevertheless, I declined offers to go on certain rides such as Berserker and Centrifuge because they seemed far too dizzying for me to handle. But since I wasn't going on as many rides, one of my friends urged me to go on a ride called Whitewater Falls. I thought I was going to die again when we were going down the slope...I didn't pay attention to where I was going and started walking off but then the people working on the ride told me the exit was the other way. Whoopsy-daisy.
I wonder if someday I'll have enough courage to go on one of the really thrilling rides, like Drop Zone or Invertigo. Or perhaps I never will. Maybe I won't ever do it and it'd turn out I would have been fine even if I had gone on those rides. Perhaps I've been afraid unnecessarily. And that fear may have prevented me from doing a lot of things, from taking risks that would have turned out well for me. But at the same time I wouldn't want to be too reckless. Still, I wish I could be a little braver...