Saturday, January 12, 2008

Life at the Top

It's the anticipation before the plunge.

You've waited in line for an hour-and-a-half. You've passed the same people three hundred times as you twist and turn through the maze leading to the the cars. It's hot. You finally push through the turnstiles and are corralled into a numbered zone where you wait for the car to arrive. Moments later it zips around the corner, hisses to a stop, and releases its wind-blown passengers. The gates open and you pile into the car and lower the safety harness into position. Then you're off. The car jerks as it latches onto the chain that leads the ascent to the first breathtaking drop.

As a kid I hated it. I was horrified of roller coasters. The speed, the drops, the loop-de-loops, and, most of all, the uncertainty that the cars would actually stay on the tracks scared the crap out of me. So I didn't ride. I would wait
patiently at the exit while the rest of my family twisted through the mile-long line to ride the Screamin' Eagle, not entirely confident that they would come out alive. They always came back, and somewhere along the line as I grew older, I overcame my fear of roller coasters. In fact, I grew to love them to point that they're the only rides I want to spend time on when I go to an amusement park.

Why the hell am I talking about roller coasters? Because today is my birthday. I'm 39, and suddenly I'm that little boy ready to piss his pants at the thought of the plunge waiting on the other side of the hill. It's not here yet, but definitely inching closer and closer. I just need to remember that I like roller coasters and hope that once I'm officially over the hill, the plunge will be one hell of a ride.

Oh, and please, no applause. Just send cash.

4 comments:

Kate said...

Happy Birthday Derek!

the battered ham said...

Thanks!

The Beast Mom said...

Happy belated bday!
I'm catching up on blogwalking.

Your post made me think of Steve Martin in "Parenthood" when he goes on about roller coasters as an analogy to life. It's a great scene in that movie. I think I'll rent it again now that I'm fully entrenched in the parenthood gig. I think I will find it funnier than the last time I saw it.

-bm

the battered ham said...

Thanks!

I had completely forgotten about that clip. I really enjoyed that movie even before I was a parent - I was probably subliminally channeling it when I wrote the post. Funny how that works.

I've been meaning to rent another Steve Martin movie, "Planes, Trains, & Automobiles", since my "Pillows" post last week.