I have never quite understood the adrenaline rush others receive from riding a roller coaster. I have always wondered what would be attractive about being flung through the air like a rocket launching into the atmosphere. Who created these thrill rides knowing that someday riders would experience the feeling of excitement running through their veins, like water through a faucet? The thing that I find funny about roller coasters is that they do not give me the rush of excitement that they give to others.
There is only one feeling that runs through my body when I think of roller coasters: fear. I was 13 years old when I rode my first and last roller coaster. As I walked into Cedar point amusement park, I could not help but be intimidated. Suddenly I was surrounded by frighteningly humungous objects that seemed to have trapped their occupants like flies caught in a spider’s web. Deafening screams rang through the thick summer air and my heart began to pound like the beat of a bass drum.
The place was filled with ordinary, everyday people who seemed to enjoy the idea of waiting in an endless line for hours for only 30 seconds of supposed pleasure. As I watched all that was unfolding around me, the only thought that ran through my mind was: I have to get out of here. My friends would not let me escape so easily. They insisted that I ride one of the oldest roller coasters in the park, Cedar Creek Mine Ride. Peer pressure is a mother, because within seconds I was whisked into what seemed like an assembly line of people waiting to meet their maker.
With the scorching sun beating down on my skin, I waited my turn. I do not know if it was due to my fear, but the line I was in seemed to move more rapidly than all the other lines around me. As I inched closer and closer to my doom, I finally caught a glimpse of what I was about to ride. Staring back at me was a freakishly large wooden beast ready to lock me into its treelike grasp and never let go. Oh no, suddenly it was my turn. As I stepped onto the coaster, my heartbeat quickened. I could feel my stomach becoming lighter, like a million butterflies released into a spring meadow.
I felt as though I was out of control of my body and could not keep myself from making a big mistake. I can remember feeling exposed, I asked myself how this cold metal bar, hugging tightly against my thighs is, supposed to keep me from falling to my death? As the treacherous ride started, I could not help but get a surge of anxiety, and then, dare I say it, excitement, before fear took over my being. As the ride slowly reached its peak, I experienced a brief feeling of peacefulness before the fear took over again.
As the ride violently shot down like a torpedo aimed at its target, my stomach jumped up into my throat and threatened to fly out of my mouth. The only thing I could do was scream, like an infant calling for its mother. The wind hit my face with such force, I felt as though I was paralyzed. I went back and forth between the feeling of peacefulness and paralysis for what seemed like hours. Finally, it was over. Stepping off the brute, I felt like I was floating in a cloud. Surface, sweet surface, I wanted to kiss the asphalt as if it were my long lost love.
Never again will I put myself through such torture, I thought to myself. My friends informed me that the Mine Ride was one of the tamer roller coasters. From that moment forward, I made the decision that thrill rides were not for me. Questions also began to form in my mind. Why would people like the feeling of their heart beating in their throat? Why would they wait in line, in the blazing sun for hours, in order to experience 30 seconds of paralyzing fear? I will never know the answer. As the old saying goes, to each his own.