Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Terror at 300 Feet

My hands started shaking as the shoulder harnesses clamped me onto the seat. Strike that -- I was trembling. Here I was, latched into a chair, which in turn was bolted to a cylinder that surrounded a 250-foot tall tower. In mere seconds, the cylinder, with me attached, would be launched up to the top of that tower, where it would fall for a short time, bounce back part way up and then lower itself gently to the ground.

Why in the hell am I doing this? I thought. I don't particularly like heights, but I can tolerate them - as long as I'm enclosed in something. Nor do I like the whole dangling feet ride. On a roller coaster, it's okay - you move too fast for it to really hit you. But on this, the Power Tower? Nope. You get to fly straight up and bounce back down.

Darcy smiled at me as the ride moved into position. She looked around eagerly, ready for liftoff. I clutched the shoulder harness more tightly, and realized the sound I heard wasn't hydraulics tearing themselves to shreds - it was me preparing to hyperventilate.

Why am I doing this?

Liftoff pressed me down into the seat, leaving my stomach somewhere on the ground. The wind burned my face as we kept climbing up up up. Darcy may have said something, but I was screaming too loudly to hear it. I would have looked, but my eyes refused to open.

Finally, we started back down -- and then we bounced back up. I opened my eyes a bit, and saw the sun peeking through the evening clouds, its orange reflection shining up from Lake Erie. The lights from the amusement park glittered like stars.

And finally, we hit the ground. I climbed out of the seat and reached out with a shaky hand to get my glasses from the shelf. My legs shook. I was sweaty, scared and ready to go home.

Why did I do that?

Darcy's smile said it all; for her, being launched into the sky wasn't terrifying, it was exhilerating. And that made the trip worthwhile.

But no, I didn't join her for the second ride. I was perfectly happy celebrating gravity from the ground floor.

1 comment:

Chilly said...

I did all the big coasters at six flags last friday. Weenie.