So, on Saturday, we went to Busch Gardens. Because, while we have guests coming to stay for an entire WEEK starting tomorrow night, and while the house was an absolute disaster, I’d been telling Andrew since last summer that we could go and because there’s no better time to go spend an entire day sweating in the sun, melting your ass off than when you have a to-do list that could circle the world. So we went.
First, you should know that I don’t do rollercoasters. Ever since that time I was 13 at the Athens County Fair in Ohio when I rode the Scrambler, got off, and puked up my french fries, I’ve pretty much avoided rides, of any sort. I don’t like feeling like my stomach is being dropped from 40-story buildings, nor do I appreciate being strapped down to a sticky chair and I really don’t like giving up control to some pimpled teenager pulling the operating switch. It’s just not my thing.
I went to Busch Gardens excited about the Clydesdales. And the sheep. And the Border Collies. And the beer.
Andrew, on the other hand, wanted to ride all the rides and no matter how many times I told him I *don’t* do roller coasters, he just brushed it off and told me I had to ride something with him. Or else. It was cute, really.
So we go to Busch Gardens. And we get there early before there are any lines and before we melt to death from the stupid, stupid heat that’s been plaguing the area and Andrew runs up to the first roller coaster he sees and wants to ride it and I tell him I’ll go get some cash while he rides the stupid, stomach-flipping ride. I remind him, again, that I don’t do roller coasters.
And so he rides that one and I get some cash and then, of course, there’s another stupid, no-good roller coaster and again I tell Andrew I’ll wait while he rides it and I’ve got my camera out and I’m taking pictures and watching people on this ride and listening to the screams. And you know what? It starts to look like it might be fun. Just a little bit. Because I’m an idiot.
Andrew came back after riding this roller coaster, called the Griffon (dun dun dun), and asked if I wanted to ride it with him. I told him it looked kind of fun. He told me it was the best, most awesome thing ever. So I went with him. To ride one of the worst roller coasters in the whole damn park:
Clearly, the heat had gotten to me and I had lost my damn mind.
I just looked the Griffon up on Wikipedia.org and it’s all like “Hey, person who hates rollercoasters, did you know that the Griffon (it’s the French spelling, by the by) is the fastest dive machine coaster in the world at 71 miles per hour? And that it’s got a 205 foot, 90 degree drop? Isn’t that just neat?” Of course I did not know this shit when I went, all un-knowing like with my husband, who is supposed to protect me from stupid, asshole roller coasters and serial killers and boogey men and all that shit, but there I was. Barefoot with my feet dangling and my flip-flops thrown to the side of the entry point, all strapped in and down and worried and stressed the fuck out because, did I mention? I don’t do roller coasters.
It was wretched. There was this very dramatic climb up this stupid dramatic hill and then DOWN. 71 miles per hour, 90 degrees DOWN. I closed my eyes. Had to. I couldn’t stand not seeing what was below my feet that, mind you, were just dangling in the air. There were more twists and a moment of being upside down (DO NOT LIKE!) and then it was over. Quick. I’d survived. I didn’t puke. My breakfast wasn’t still in my stomach really, but had managed to feel like it was ready to make a surprise visit at any moment but, my feet were on the ground, there wasn’t vomit in my hair (yet) and I was alive. Very much alive. So that was nice. I turned to Andrew and said “I hate you. I don’t do roller coasters. This was not fun.”
Lucky for my sanity, there were animals all over the place. Diane, this beautiful bird of prey, was part of the Wolves presentation and pretty much blew everyone away. She landed right in front of me on this little podium. Having a massive bird of prey land right in front of you is much more in line with the kind of adrenaline I enjoy. Fuck a roller coaster. I get my kicks from animal encounters.
Then, beer. And lunch at the Germany part of the park, complete with some lovely Oktoberfest-type dancing and singing by some over zealous teenagers. We spent the afternoon trying to get the Clydesdales to come close enough to pet and riding water rides that left me drenched and happy.
All in all, it was a good, long, hot day. I’m glad I rode the roller coaster, if nothing else than to prove to myself that it’s really not fear that keeps me away from them, but hatred of that stomach in my throat feeling.