Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Guest Blogger: three pugs & a baby on Life Lived Through Roller Coasters

I am taking a break. It's been a busy month and it's only just started. Please give a warm Drama Mama welcome to my guest blogger today. You first met her on Friday (well, some of you) and loved what she had to say. Today you are entertained and once again enthralled by Jenn at three pugs & a baby as she talks about..well, you'll see. Enjoy!

I am delighted to be able to join you again this Tuesday!

The Drama Mama asked me to whip up a little something on "life" and "roller coasters," and I'm going to be honest with you. It's been a tough topic. I got about 3/4 of the way through a post this morning and scrapped the whole thing. 

It's a bad writing habit of mine.

Let's see if this is better. 

I could give you the old party line, comparing the two, and telling you to roll with the ups and downs and enjoy the ride, but where's the fun in that?

Instead, I'll try a different direction. Where I'll talk about how convenience and efficiency doesn't always improve quality of life.

Complete with a vintage photo.

You can consider me a roller coaster junkie of the old-school variety. Give me a towering metal or wooden behemoth with straight plummets, loops and barrel rolls, and I am a happy, happy girl. 

One of my earliest memories is riding the now-closed Big Bad Wolf with my aunt in Busch Gardens. One hundred thirteen feet high, with a 99 foot drop and reaching speeds of 48-50 mph, it was the ultimate in speed and thrill at the time (mid-1980s). It was also one of the first suspended coasters, dangling from the track, instead of riding on it like a train car.



Scary stuff.


My mom and my aunt, both bona fide "ride haters" probably drew straws behind a souvenir tent to see who would accompany me. I'm guessing it came down to who was least likely to get carted off in an ambulance. My aunt "won."



I think she still harbors resentment. (And yes, that is an authentic picture of the top of my head from the 80s, probably taken with a disc camera).


But I loved every second of it, and couldn't wait til the next time I could get strapped in with an over-the-head harness (or not, if you happen to be on the Seaside boardwalk) for a thrill ride.

My current favorite is a tie between Everest at Animal Kingdom and The Hulk at Islands of Adventure. Probably leaning towards The Hulk because I am pee-in-my-pants terrified of animatronics and ride Everest with my eyes closed so I don't have to "encounter the Yeti."




However, it seems theme parks are pulling away from roller coasters, in favor of simulated rides. You know, the ones where you essentially watch a pretty realistic movie, while your seat bounces all around, but at the end of the day, you don't really go anywhere. 


I don't get it.


On the one hand, I'm claustrophobic, so being trapped in a soundproof room that invariably smells of gym socks is not super exciting to me. Secondly, I get incredible motion sickness (Ah, the irony. Don't worry, it's not lost on me.), especially when I'm feeling particularly contained. For me, the challenge of a simulated ride is to see how quickly I can sprint for the bathrooms when the seatbelts unlock. 

I give myself points for hurdling over small children.


But the worst part? It's all fake. 


Sure, you might get to take a space flight to Mars (Mission: SPACE), or embark on a Star Wars adventure (Star Tours), but none of it's real. It's nothing but a glorified bus ride, where you stow your belongings in the under-the-seat cargo net and watch a kind of dizzying movie.


But theme parks see things differently than me. It's clearly less of a liability to keep guests contained in an air conditioned theater with a few hydraulic effects, than to send them out on a narrow track to do battle with acceleration and gravity. They can also load more guests into a collection of theaters, which keeps turnover at a high rate.

But something gets lost in that translation. It's all smoke and mirrors, and no substance. It's the easy way out, the convenient thing to do. And that's not how I want to live my life.


I want to have to tuck my flip flops under my butt and leave my sunglasses with a friend on the ground so they don't go flying off my body, never to be seen again. 

I want my photo taken by a stealth camera, just as the coaster cars start slipping over the the peak of the tallest precipice, my expression one of nerves and excitement, mixed with a dash of fear and anticipation.


I want my stomach to lurch and my heart to pound for 90 thrilling seconds, and I want to spend the next few minutes breathless and weak-kneed, flying high on adrenaline.


Most days, I like to live simply and smoothly, but sometimes, it takes those risks and bumps in the roads (or 90 ft plummets, as the case may be) to really appreciate the little everyday things.

And I'm always going to be up for the ride.


****
This post comes to you from 3 pugs & a baby. We'd love for you to pay us a visit anytime!









So, let's hear it. How do you like your roller coasters? Do you prefer the safety of the simulated rides or the thrill of the track, always leaving you breathless and anxious for more?

 

10 comments:

Kristy said...

Love it! Love the thrill of a real roller coaster ride! I'm even deathly afraid of heights, but when you're going that fast, it doesn't matter (and I just close my eyes on the slow way up). I love the speed and the whooshing and the twirling. And nothing is better than the photo you get at the end. I'm usually just wildly smiling or screaming. My husband poses for it and puts a god-awful scary look on his face!

Mrs. Wonder said...

I LOVE roller coasters!I'd rather have an old wooden coaster than the crazy thrill ride ones, especially when riding at the SoCal Magic Mountain where they couldn't afford to keep up the coasters and you were thrown around so much you hurt for a day afterward.
My mom started me early with Thunder Mountain Railroad- I think that was my first!

gringationcancun said...

I love Busch Gardens Williamsburg! I used to get season passes there in the summer. Good times.

I also loved Kings Dominion in Virginia. The Grizzly, and old wooden coaster, was the best.

Thanks for the memories.

The Drama Mama said...

@gringation: The last time I went to KD, they still had the grizzly. It's my favorite too!

Morning Star Loft said...

Great guest post! I love riding Shiekra at Busch Gardens Tampa. At the top I can just about see my house before those terrifying seconds where you're left dangling over the drop.

sarah said...

Roller coasters are amazing...my fave by far is Ghost rider at Knotts...I laugh so hard I almost piss myself everytime!

Accustomed Chaos said...

I. DO. NOT. DO. ROLLERCOASTERS! Seriously I am a GIANT wuss about them ... i do not like anything that goes faster then a car (and that is iffy at times) or anything that is off the ground. Kudos to you though :D

Devan @ Accustomed Chaos
http://accustomedchaos.blogspot.com

Jessica said...

I'm not a fan of roller coasters either, but I love to watch them. A spectator sport? I think our kids are taking after me, although hubs would love to have someone to ride with.

Christine said...

I used to ride roller coasters when I was young but I've hated then for about 10 years now. I get anxiety so it's physically like torture going on some of them. Half the battle is making it in a long line! I psych myself out!! Good post. :)

The Redhead Riter said...

I can not do those rides any more. At sixteen, yes, I was obsessed with them, but now...FORGET IT.

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