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Friday, March 18, 2011

The Tiny Rollercoaster of Death

In yesterday's Strawberry Festibal post, I alluded to the tiny rollercoaster of death.

Because I thought it required its own post.

When I was a kid, I went to the fair with my parents. I was 8.

My mom never liked me riding the rides and every time we went to a fair I got the whole story about these "fly by nighter" fairs and how her mother never liked them and she doesn't like them and they are dangerous because they put them up and take them down and there are no inspections.


But this one time we went to the fair when I was 8 and we heard yelling and a little boy was coming off the Gravitron and he was holding onto the rails and he was not moving but shaking a little bit.

He was being shocked.

Someone came along and knocked him off of the railings, we don't know what happened to him next (I hope he's ok!) but it was early confirmation to me that my mother was always right because it was proof right there.

I was scarred for life.

Darned fly by nighters. And yes, I sound like my mother now.

Ever since then, going to the fair with my friends was somewhat of a torturous experience. Biting my lip and riding around on the box of bolts secretly terrified for my life.

You can imagine how I am now that we're starting to go to the fair and have kids who want to ride rides now. It's 150 kajillion times worse.

I find myself giving the same lectures my mom gave me but I'm giving them a 4 year old who gives me a blank stare as if he's hearing crickets. 

So when we went to the Strawberry Festival and it was part food, part fair, we did the "fair" part too with the games and I threw all my caution to the wind thinking the rides they want to ride are perfectly ok because they're tiny rides, not those crazy kinds like the Gravitron or the death carts that fly around at a kajillion miles an hour 1,000 feet off the ground.

Our first ride was a tiny caterpillar rollercoaster.

Oh, that rollercoaster seemed so cute, what with his tiny caterpillar grin and bright purples and greens. It was like Mardi Gras!

It was a milestone! I was getting to ride with my son on his first fair ride! Hurrah!

And we excitedly hopped on, me and my 4 year old and our 8 tickets.

The first thing I thought was weird was that the bar didn't go all the way down on our laps. I like a nice tight-fitting lap-bar personally. Even on the "secure" rollercoasters at places like Busch Gardens, I suck in with all my breath and push down on the bar until it goes the absolute farthest against my body that it possibly can. I do not want any wiggle room so as to fly out, ya know?

But the fetus worker guy who was definitely at the most, half my age, wasn't concerned about it at all when I brought it to his attention but that didn't make me feel better.

So I spent the whole time while people were getting on trying to observe their lap bar but I couldn't see any of them so I panicked to myself with a smile on my face while trying to jam the thing down closer to us.
See? Still smiling.
There aren't any real dips anyways, it's not a big deal. Right? I'll just hold onto him real tight. Yeah, that'll work.

Then the ride started and we're still under the sketchy lap bar but the main thing is that he's smiling (nevermind that death is near) and I was smiling on the outside but not on the inside but on the outside is where it counted in this scenario.
OK so this thing is way taller than I thought.
Then we rounded a curve and we went down a hill that was way higher than I had originally thought, especially while sitting on top of it, and the rickety old box of bolts was flying around curves and we're flying from side to side in our seat with very little to hold us in and that's when my 4 year old's smile turned upside down. WAYYY upside down.

At this point, he's ready to completely jump out of the car, he's literally starting to climb out and I DON'T BLAME HIM! This thing is barely hanging on to the track and you can HEAR the track literally about to come apart! It's swaying with every curve!
Whose idea was this anyway!

And stop smiling, damn caterpillar!

But I'm sitting there smiling with my arm around him comforting him, saying things like, "Don't worry honey, it'll be over soon," thinking that the ride will be over in a second as we pull up to where we get off but it goes around again!

Tears sprouting from his face.

The ride is so loud but people in the cars around us are looking at my poor terrified son because he's now louder than the ride.

Each time the ride makes a new round, it goes faster and faster, rounding corners and going down dips, we're FLYING! And barely clinging into the seats, and yes I say each time we start a new round because every time I think it's over and we pull up to where we get out, we start all over again, much to the dismay of my screaming wailing want-to-jump-out-of-the-car child and his still-smiling mom!

Tiny death caterpillar, why won't you end!

It reminds me of the time I was on the ferris wheel and we were at the top (I HATE FERRIS WHEELS! AND THE ROCKING! AND BOYFRIENDS WHO LIKE TO ROCK THEM TO SCARE THEIR GIRLFRIENDS!) and I looked down at the floor and a bolt was sitting there. There are never supposed to be loose bolts on any kind of ride, especially while I'm dangling at the top of it.

Anyways, so we're flying around the track and I'm holding onto my son for dear life and it finally comes to an end and we get off and he's still crying so I get him out of the box of bolts and walk down the rickety flimsy aluminum stairs feeling like the worst mother in the world for choosing THIS as his first fair ride. Mom of the year!

And he vows never to ride it again and still won't even look at the pictures of the bastard caterpillar.

Thank God there was strawberry shortcake.

Note to self for next year.

No tiny rollercoasters of death.

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