Sunday, 9 February 2014


"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
- Franklin Roosevelt

Husband and I recently went to Wet 'n' Wild without our children. It was intended for us to finally go on some big rides together, as our 3-year-old doesn't yet meet the minimum height requirements, and I always happily volunteer myself to stay in the little-kids section with him, where I'm comfortable and safe because the water level barely goes past my knees.

We hadn't been on a ride or water slide together since we were in America 10 months ago. And before that, it had been years since I'd been on a ride full stop!

Of course, Husband was eager to go on the 360 Rush first. I, however, wanted to go on something a bit less terrifying! He suggested the racers, which honestly didn't look that bad (from the ground!)... We collected our mats and made our way up the stairs.

But on our way to the stairs, I began feeling concerned with the fact that we were about to go on a ride head first. Perhaps I'm a traditionalist - I believe in going down slippery dips the regular, comfortable, safe way. Not on my feet, not on my stomach, not on a scooter, and certainly not head first! Maybe I've just gotten boring in my old age.

For a bit of perspective, this is what the 360 Rush looks like:

We arrived at the top and it was our turn. With my heart beating fast, I was about to chicken out, but instead forced Husband at the last possible second to switch slides with me because I was scared by the look of the pink one. He agreed, the light turned green, and we both made it to the end of the ride unharmed. It was then declared that next was the 360 Rush.

I was hesitant. I was anxious. I was uncomfortable. Or at least that's the way I saw it. Apparently Husband bribed me with chocolate, but still had to drag me to the line.

It meant a lot to Husband that I agreed to go on this horrendous type of ride, because we "went on a nice one first". I disagreed that having water constantly shot into my face, in the dark on the racers, and not being able to see where I was going was "nice", but comparatively, I s'pose he was right.

Fear and anxiety hold me back from being adventurous like Husband (and consequently, our children, who seem to be afraid of nothing except boredom). I know that like I know the colour of my undies today is blue... I think. I never like not knowing what to expect, and have refused to go on the big rides with my kids before I knew what they were like, much to their disappointed acceptance.

In this state of hesitation, I was reminded that while Husband and I were in America last year, I plunged 120 feet down the Summit Plummet, and lived to tell the tale. It took me 20 minutes once I was at the top, and I almost vomited a few times, but still, I (eventually) conquered that ride. He reminded me how proud he was that I did something crazy like that!

I'd obviously quickly forgotten this great accomplishment when faced with the pressure of tackling this next fear. It wasn't as tall, but, it was a completely different experience, and certainly (to me) just as scary!

We weren't even on the stairs when the nausea kicked in. I really wanted to be brave, I really, really did. But my heart wouldn't stop racing. I'd had plenty of time in the line to settle down, but then as we were approaching the top, the screams of people dropping into the ride became clearer and louder.

Once we had reached the front of the line, I had stepped forward, with some others, to get a better view of what happens in the ride. Was I trying to convince myself that the more I knew, the better I'd be able to handle it??

What I could see was that you had to stand upright on a clear piece of plastic, inside a capsule, with a 40 feet drop in clear view beneath you. The attendant then presses a button, the sound a the trap-door releases, screams begin, and the unsuspecting rider disappears quickly down the brightly coloured tube of terror.

I don't know what it was exactly that I hated about this particular ride. Could I have been the one to make the plastic break?? If it did break, would I accidentally go backwards (and head first!) down the 6-storey high slide, with water gushing all around? Would I also not make it around the loop, like two other people didn't, just minutes before it was our turn??

No sooner than these thoughts crowded my mind, our time was up. Dozens of people stood waiting in line, waiting for me to stop being a chicken and go down the damn ride so that they could also have their turn.

I climbed in. The sounds of rushing water encompassed me. I grabbed tightly to the side of the slide, refusing to let go, even though I knew I had to. It was like my brain and my body disconnected for what seemed like endless minutes. Strangers were worried about me. I didn't think I could do it. I tried to remember the Summit Plummet, but all I could remember was the exact thing happening right before I went on the ride. I was just too scared to complete the mission and make Husband proud.

Maybe I just wasn't ready yet... "One more person" I declared to Husband, who was strapped into the slide next to me, and ready to go! He was going to go without me! "I'll meet you at the bottom" he says. "One more person! And then I'll go!". He grudgingly got out to wait with me. I think it was the waiting that terrified me the most. Waiting, ever so still on that clear piece of plastic. Waiting for the sound of the trap-door. Waiting to free fall into the tube of terror.

He waited with me. And then it was time to step in. I slowly crossed my legs, as the attendant had told me to do. I closed my eyes tight, and would not open them. The capsule encased around me. The speaker began it's countdown. This was it. I held onto my boogie-board backpack so tight it was pinching my palms. Did I care? Has it finished? I just wanted to do this, and then pack up our towels and move to the slow and comfortable river ride, like Husband had promised.

"3, 2, 1." Then nothing! My eyes were closed tighter than the grip my hands had on the shoulder straps. I did not want to open them to people staring at me! The speaker came on again. "3, 2, 1." Then I dropped. Gravity pulled me down, and water gushed everywhere. I could feel myself slide down and down, and then up, and around. It happened quickly, but also very slowly. The light appeared and water went up my nose. I finally opened my eyes (yes, they were shut for the entire thing!), and Husband came to collect me from the slide, laughing! He pried my hands from the boogie board and took it from my back. I asked if my nose was bleeding and he laughed again. Gee, he certainly knows how to make a woman feel loved.

I don't even remember if I screamed. All I knew was that I did it, and Husband was proud of me once again. We walked onward to the next ride, smiling, and finally laughing together. I was alive!!

But wait. Was my nose bleeding??

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