The Ride of Your Life

[Note: I have been faithful to a twice-a-week posting rhythm on this blog but am about to take a week off for a business trip—a trip that should produce enough writing inspiration for another year at least!]

I still consider it one of my better ideas.

It was our anniversary, and I am nothing if not a romantic.  My wife loves (note: loved, but still loves—the use of verb tense in this sentence is telling) roller coasters, and I didn’t mind roller coasters, at least the last time I checked, which admittedly had been several years ago, so we blocked out a full day with zero distractions and beat the early morning traffic to Six Flags Magic Mountain—the real Walley World in the original Vacation!—on an absolutely gorgeous day.  What could go wrong?

We were there early with our faces plastered against the front gates until they opened and strategically shot over to the backside of the park to conquer several big roller coasters before long lines formed.  Our plan worked to perfection.  No waiting for ride number one.  No waiting for ride number two.  I wasn’t sure anyone’s stomach should ever feel exactly like mine felt after ride number two, but there was no waiting for ride number three . . . .

After ride number three, I concluded that it was best for all park visitors that I not attempt ride number four.  My poor, poor wife.

With time, and 7-Up, and sitting V-E-R-Y still, I concluded that I might not die at that exact moment, which at the time felt like a significant victory.  Eventually, I was able to walk around the park, albeit slowly and sadly, holding my wife’s purse as she boarded several other apparently fun rides with complete strangers.  I am such a loser.

At the end of the day, I found the courage (and, literally, stomach) to join her for the Superman ride, although the irony of the name was not lost on me and made the achievement a little less satisfying.

I remember this sad story because the state of my life at present reminds me of how I felt boarding that first roller coaster, i.e., excited, with a few butterflies, but more than willing to go hurtling through the crazy twists and turns, and I confess that a part of me is nervous that it might end up like that day at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Upon reflection, I have concluded that there is only one way to find out.  So here we go.

I still consider it one of my better ideas.

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