I hate roller coasters. I spent one day at Carowinds in North Carolina a few years ago. I decided to confront my fear and loathing of the amusement rides and try it. Actually, it wasn’t about confronting anything. I went because I had a date and he loved roller coasters. As usual, my perceptions were correct. It was not amusing or fun. It was a bit of insanity strapped into a seat.
As I sat in a metal chair with my feet dangling below, the wires and contractions holding the seat to a rail looked unsure at best. The nice young man boy came to be sure I was securely strapped into my seat. The lack of concern or caring from his face was not reassuring. Without warning, the seat began to move and my dangling feet had only air as their perch. I vaguely remember a warning about the potential to lose one’s shoes.
There was a symphony of screams coming from voices both young and old, high pitched and low, male and female. In that moment of suspended fear, we were all equal. I don’t believe I screamed because my vocals cords were paralyzed with fear. I also did not open my eyes during that 60 or so seconds of being tossed around like a schizophrenic bird. When the seat finally stopped and my feet once again touched solid ground, I gave thanks and unhooked as quickly as possible for fear it would begin again.
Of course, you can’t spend the day at Carowinds and ride only one ride. I believe at final count I had ridden on five different varieties of terror. I left the park that day vowing never to do it again and filled with the knowledge that I had indeed faced the fear.
This week I feel that my life has become an amusement park filled with roller coasters. I am going to face them and strap in, not necessarily because I choose to, but because l must if I want to leave the park. This morning I am standing in line ready to be strapped in to the first ride. The fear is strong but so is the desire to make my way out of here.
I was reminded last night that I am not alone at the park. There are people here to hold my hand and take this ride with me. They can’t take the ride for me, but having them with me gives me strength. I will try not to scream and I hope I can keep at least one eye open most of the time.
It looks like the line is moving so I must go. I hope I don’t lose my shoes.