Roller Coaster Puppy

I’ve always hated roller coasters. The ones that go upside down, twist all around, plunge towards the earth at an alarming rate...those kinds of roller coasters.

I know they’re…”safe”...but they’re also not. Every now and then, you’ll see those horrifying headlines, and that’s all the proof I need to know that nope, they’re not my jam. And not only that, but I’d hate to be that girl that had to throw up after a ride. Can my stomach handle that level of tomfoolery? What if I can’t make it to the trash can in time? Or...oh gosh, what if I puke in mid-air?!

Hence, why I wouldn’t even bother. I’ll proudly hold purses and belongings safe and sound, on the ground, settled stomach and all.

So, that I did, for 26 years of life besides the single time I rode a ride called Great Bear in middle school against my will. I questioned the ride technicians like a prosecutor. You swear to me right now I won’t fall out. Check again. I said check again! It’s the kind of ride where your feetsies dangle and you’re held in with giant padded bars over your shoulders. And I can’t lie, I actually I liked it. But that was it, I did an upside down roller coaster, no more. I’m retired.

Fast-forward to last summer. I went to the same theme park where good ole Great Bear is with Jake - my boyfriend, my best friend Casey - refer to my scuba story with her (as you can see, she’s always there for my “moments”), and her now-boyfriend Charlie. I went with the intention that I wouldn’t do any scary roller coasters besides Great Bear since I’ve done it before and I knew I’d be safe and wouldn’t puke. That was it.

All was going well...and then we reached a ride called Storm Runner. A death trap. There are three main reasons why I profusely shook my head “no.”

  1. I hate (certain) countdowns. They make me even more anxious to do something I already don’t want to do. So knowing that, you slowly leave the gate and sit there on a “launch platform” (terrifying), waiting in anticipation (terror mounting), and then there’s a kind-of countdown (my arch nemesis) that says, “Get ready, you’re about to die,” (it doesn’t say that, but it’s still true), and then you go from 0 to 72 mph in two seconds. Just...think about that. 0 to 72. In two seconds. It’s so much nope I can’t even stand it. And yes, I realize I actually named 4 sub-reasons in this one reason.
  2. Already accounting for all of the drops and twists and loops, the worst is in the beginning. At a *90 degree angle* you go up, and at a *90 degree angle* you fall. Face down. Towards the ground. 90 degrees. 72 mph. Now, I wasn’t the best at geometry, but I know enough to know how absolutely appalling this is. It’s simply unacceptable. Seriously, who makes these kinds of rides? More importantly, who okayed them?!
  3. I very well could vomit.

My friends were pumped and I wasn’t worried because I already knew I wasn’t getting on that thing, mh mh, no how - because I like my life. I figured I’d wait in line with them, then walk through the seats and dip set. Wave goodbye to them and as they buckled in. Tell them I love them and I’ll miss them. And that’s exactly what I did.

They came off the ride to where I was safely standing (proudly) and gave me crap for my escape tactic. They told me they were going to do it again and this time, I would too. Part of me was obviously reluctant, but another teeny tiny part of me wanted to overcome this fear.

We all got back in line, giving me plenty of time to worry now that I was torn between doing it or not. It was almost our turn when in the row next to us, there was a big brother and his little sister, probably 12 and 10 if I had to guess, but I’m the worst at guessing ages, especially when it comes to children so take that with a grain of salt.

But it makes me feel better seeing children get on ghastly rides. If they can do it, so can I.

The brother was comforting his terrified sister, and it made me smile thinking of my brother and myself. Not sure if he’d be that supportive and calming, but he’d help me in some weird way of his. I turned to the girl and told her I was scared too. How about we do this together? I’ll be right in front of you. We can scream together. Yeah?

She smiled at me and nodded, and the brother smiled too. We all climbed in and I was silent. Like, dead silent. I was too scared to be freaking out. Jake was trying to pump me up as I got buckled in and I had tears falling down my face. I so did not want to do it. He admits feeling really bad about me legit crying, but eh, keep reading...

We crept up to the launch pad and my eyes were already closed. I couldn’t go back. I couldn’t get off. I tried to calm my heart down and breathe, but I still didn’t want to do it. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to fly around in the sky. I didn’t want to puke. And for the love of Pete, could someone please tell that stupid machine voice to shut up?!

We got catapulted to 72 mph and I ballistically started to scream, eyes still totally shut. I was even more scared because I didn’t know what’s coming, but I just didn’t want to see any of it. How far off the ground we were, how many loops we were about to do, how nauseous I could get if I was looking…

We got off the ride and everyone asked how I liked it. I confessed to them my eyes were shut and they could’ve killed me. D, no! That’s literally the worst thing you could do!!

But here’s the thing, GUYS: at least I did it. And I didn't puke! Winning.

I saw the little girl afterwards and we high-fived each other. Go and fly fly, do anything you want, little girlfriend! The world is your oyster!

I felt confident that I’d try it again, with my eyes open. And I’m pretty sure we did right after that...I can’t remember exactly because we actually rode it a few more times that day. Twice with my face entirely painted as a black and white puppy with droopy ears and its tongue flapping on my cheek. Casey was my tiger friend. We dared each other because we clearly don't take ourselves too seriously. We walked around the park that way for a good portion of the day (Tröegs afterwards). No shame.

When we went back to Storm Runner, we couldn't wait to see our picture at the end; a tiger and a puppy on a roller coaster. It was pretty perfect too because they snap a picture in those first two seconds when you go from 0 to 72 mph, so my painted, flappy tongue was most appropriate. But waiting in line in and of itself was the most fun for me. I just figured I could comfort someone else who was as scared as I had been earlier.

If a 26 year old puppy can do this, so can I.

- Diana

Diana JoinerComment