I grew up 10 minutes from a local amusement park that was affordable enough for my parents to take the five of us to several times each summer. Like most little kids, I suspect, I wanted to spend the entirety of those few days spinning around and around and around, and then laughing at my inability to walk straight after being released from the Lasso, the Sleigh Ride, or the scary, gravity-defying Enterprise. No amount of French fries drenched in melted cheese and no amount of Barbie-corvette-pink cotton candy could make me queasy enough to be amenable to driving my not-yet-this-tall little brother around the Tin Lizzy loop more than once.
My father, on the hand, never went on anything other than the Tin Lizzies. Not the Giant Wheel, not even Cinderella’s carriage on the Carousel. His refusal was unfathomable. Who would want to just walk around in the hot sun all day and not even cool off with a plunge down Thunder Rapids? The moment when the log boat crested the hill and your stomach leaped into your throat because you were sure that boat was going to be jettisoned right off the track lasted only a second, but the cool splash of water over your sunburned shoulders was more than enough to keep you cool until the Lasso was whipping you around and around once more.
My father said the rides made him sick. The speed, the height, the whirling motion – they all made his stomach desperate for medicine that was the same color as my cotton candy. Self-assured, little me laughed out loud each time I tried to drag him onto a ride anyways and made a public oath to anyone who would listen that I would never be like that when I reached the impossibly old age of 30-something. I would always be the one running as quickly as my wobbly legs would let me to the back of the line as soon as I got off the ride, eager to have my stomach flipped one more time.
The last time I went to an amusement park was 9 years ago and the Tin Lizzies suited me just fine.