There are very few things in life I don't like, and even fewer that I really really hate. That being established let it be known far and wide that I hate roller coasters. I mean I really REALLY hate them. Like so many of our human idiosyncrasies, this particular issue began in childhood. At some point very early on, and by early I mean before “your child must be this tall to ride” became law, my parents put me on a roller coaster. Even though I couldn't possibly have been more than four years old I remember the event clearly. The place was Six Flags over Texas, the offender, The Runaway Mine Train. Now, you need to know that my parents are both possessors of above average intelligence. These are people who can put together complex electronics with ease, build random things from absolutely nothing (be it in the garage or kitchen), and solve complex problems of multiple varieties. SO, it would stand to reason that these are the kind of people who would be able to add A and B together to know that something with the words "runaway" and "mine train" in the title ought not to be ridden by a four year old. Sadly, neither of these people of above average intelligence put this correlation together...and that four year old ended up on that mine train. I have very clear memories of that ride, because it apparently lasted a lifetime. I remember being jostled and bumped and slung about until I was fairly sure that my brain was left somewhere below the second drop. The ONLY thing that kept me alive through the thing was being sandwiched between two people that loved me, and who I knew would keep me safe. Once that ride was over I swore I would never ever again get on a roller coaster. This pledge lasted firmly through my adolescent years, where even the taunts of my peers couldn't tempt me on board. There was no “Laine is a chiiiicken” strong enough to budge me. I was lily-livered and proud! Wooden coasters, looping coasters, shooting coasters, coasters of any kind were RIGHT OUT. This eventually extended to thrill rides of any kind, and I lived in a state of blissful thrill ride ignorance.
Then, the odd and unusual happened. My father turned 50. I realize that in and of itself the turning of 50 by ones father is neither that odd nor that unusual. Rather, it was what he decided he enjoyed at 50 that struck my with its oddity-thrill rides! My father hadn't been a thrill rider his entire life. He swore he hated and loathed them-then, he rode one. It was actually Disney's Tower of Terror that broke the proverbial thrill ride ice. Then, it just spiraled right out of control. It was this coaster-thingy, and that twister-thingy, and this falling/screaming/think you’re dying thingy. It was INSANITY! This was apparently his version of a mid-life crisis, but it got me thinking; did I really hate coasters, or had I let one bad experience on one coaster mold my attitude about a whole industry that was really quite grand.
So, on a trip to Disney World in the summer of 2005 I put myself right back on that horse, or roller coaster, as it were. My coaster of choice? Big Thunder Mountain. I stood and watched it for quite some time, and convinced myself it wasn't that bad, and was certain that if all those 5 and 6 year olds were laughing and having fun SURELY I would too! So, I stood in line and hopped on board. All aboard!!!! GET ME OFF THIS THING...NOW!!!! That was all I could think for the 180 seconds of pure hell I endured on that machine of death. I was slung, crushed, thrown and tossed about at random. This is NOT my idea of fun!! Again, the only way I survived that ride of death was knowing my big hubby who loves me was sitting next to me, and wouldn’t let me be flung to my death. So, it’s sealed; I HATE roller coasters. Hated them at four, hate them now. I even married a man who hates roller coasters so I wouldn't have spousal pressure to contend with until death-do-us-part.
My life has been a roller coaster for the last two weeks. The ups and downs have been unbelievable and equally enjoyable as those on that long ago mine train. I have been flung, shaken, rattled and dropped. The only conciliation is that I’ve been on it with people who love me, and I know I’ll get off this puppy eventually!