When I was young, we summered at the shore, and part of that time included going to the boardwalk and “doing the rides.” I enjoyed the ones that were simple – merry-go-round, tilt a whirl, caterpillar, but I was afraid of heights. The rest of my family loved the thrill of roller coasters and other frightening rides, but I cringed. I never wanted to let others know of my fear, nor did I want my siblings to surpass me. So, I sucked it up, swallowed my fear, and went on the scary amusements with them.
As the roller coaster would slowly climb the hill, I stared at my feet. Then I couldn’t see how high we were. Then there was that pause at the top, and I’d be petrified. The fast plunge down the slope made my stomach lurch, but I never exhibited the face of fear. I was too embarrassed to admit how frightened I was of going on those rides. I kept up the pretense well into my teens, but then I got smart.
My husband and I liked to take the kids to entertaining areas in the summer. Their choice usually included amusement parks and those dreadful rides. When the children were young, I could escape my fears and put them on the little fire engines or boats. However, they soon outgrew the baby rides; eventually, they were clamoring for roller coasters. They begged us to join them, and my husband was more than willing. I, on the other hand, had ready-made excuses. One time, when we went to Hershey Park, my husband and kids tried to persuade me to go on the old wooden coaster. After refusing for a while, I ended up capitulating to their pleas. Guess what? The ride was as bad as I remembered – my heart was pounding and I was a bowl of jelly when I finally exited. That was several years ago, and it was the last time I ever went on a ride. After that, when the others wanted to do amusement parks, I’d find alternate pleasures. At Hershey, I’d roam through the gardens and museum. In Williamsburg, they would go to Busch Gardens, and I would go on tours of plantations or shop in the town. At the shore, I sat on a bench or found interesting stores. They went to Disneyworld without me – and I was fine with it! It was a win-win for all of us.
These days, I wouldn’t even consider going to an amusement park. First of all, the sensory overload would demolish me. The quick-moving, brightly lit park would cause my eyes to go haywire, and the noise would be devastating. And, oh yeah, I wouldn’t be able to walk around at all! So, when my family and friends visit these places, I look at their photos, and I’m happy that they had so much fun. But I never want to visit amusements again!