Well. Let me tell you. I have never been a fan of roller coasters. Never. Ever. Ever.
As a child, I refused to ride them. I adamantly said NO to the Cannonball at Lake Winnie over and over again. I was smart enough not to ride that swinging viking ship too, even when Mammaw said it wouldn’t be that bad and it was that bad. I could tell by the frightened look on her face as she clung to the seat beside Kathryn and Jessica and Jack as Andrew and I sat smugly, smartly down below. On the ground. Where we should be.
I’m not scared of much in life. I’ll do crazy things. Like move to Korea. Or ride a motorcycle in a foreign country. Or go to the public bath house. Or stand too close to the edge on high cliffs.
But I have never. Ever. Been a fan of roller coasters or anything remotely related. I’ve ridden only one in my life and I regret it–Space Mountain at Disney World. I knew it wouldn’t be fun. It wasn’t. And once, I was even talked into doing some kind of Super-Man high-flying, free-flying contraption with my much more adventurous cousins in Kennett, Missouri and they are STILL making fun of my fear from that.
But today, when Whit and I went to Family Land, an amusement park and zoo in Gwangju, I was ready to face my fears again. I mean. It has been at least 15 years since the last time I rode one of these horrible things. It couldn’t be that bad. And these people seemed to be really enjoying it.
And there is something about living in a foreign country that makes you want to try things you would never do at home.
This ride, The Dragon Chaser, went upside down three times. I have never been upside down. I watched it with sweaty hands as it sped through fast curves and along two corkscrews or “Loop de Loos,” as Whit called them. He couldn’t wait to get on it.
I tried to explain I don’t do roller coasters. He smiled and laughed. He didn’t believe me.
Just hang on, he told me. And take your sunglasses off. And don’t let your head whip around too much.
Oh goodness. Too many things to remember.
There was no line. If there had been, I know logic would have set in and I would have said “Forget this. I don’t go upside down unless I’m flipping on a trampoline or diving into water.”
But we hopped right into the death trap better known as The Dragon Chaser and harnessed in. I checked it 15 times. Maybe 30. Possibly 50.
I can’t believe I’m on this thing. I can’t believe I’m on this thing. If only Mom and Dad and Mammaw and Christy and Brittani could see me now. They would be so proud. Or worried. Would they be worried? Is this thing safe? Oh. God. Get me off this thing.
And then there was the clanking. The slow clank of the carts going up and up and up. Look how high we are, says Whit.
We peaked out, that part where everyone starts screaming and raising their arms in delight. Mine didn’t raise.
“Lindsay. Breathe!” Whit said, FINALLY realizing the degree of my fear when he looked over and realized I wasn’t breathing properly.
We zoomed down the first hill, leaving my stomach up at the top. Then we went upside down. UPSIDE DOWN. But it was too late to explain I don’t do upside down. I closed my eyes and pretended I was just doing a flip on the trampoline. I would touch the black vinyl anytime now, landing on my feet to the applause of the neighbors.
I opened my eyes. Were we about to fall over. We are sideways. Whit. We are sideways. And then. The Loop-de-Loos. The Corkscrews. UPSIDE DOWN two more times.
Shit. Shit. Shit. I am so retarded. I didn’t like this 15 years ago. And I certainly don’t like it now. It’s just not natural.
I couldn’t open my eyes. I was screaming. Not the normal screams of a fun ride, but the screams of imminent death.
Whit laughed. And laughed. And laughed. And laughed. “I had no idea you were really that scared,” he says. He thought I was exaggerating. Something I have been known to do.
I promised, right then and there. This was the end of my roller coaster days. Never. Ever. Ever. Will I do anything like that again.
Not even in a foreign country.