On Friday, E.S. and I went to the Six Flags Great Adventure amusement park.
The last time I went to Six Flags was three years ago, with this man’s boyfriend. Twenty minutes into the bus ride there, when I started talking about what roller coasters we should go on, he said, “Oh, I don’t really like roller coasters.”
“What?” I asked, dumbfounded. “Then why did you say yesterday that you thought going to Six Flags sounded like a great idea?”
“Well, I thought we’d do other stuff,” he said.
“There isn’t any other stuff. It’s an amusement park.”
In the end, we had a terrific time–we were able to find four or five rides he was glad to go on, and we ate lots of junk food, and we played Whack-A-Mole, which I won.
Fast forward to this past weekend. It was clear to me that E.S. wasn’t nearly as excited about going to Six Flags as I was–a fact that mystified me–but, luckily, he had agreed to go simply to humor me, or, more likely, to shut me up, as I’d been begging him for about three months to go.
When we arrived, E.S. looked through the map of the park and said, “Oh, we have to go on Nitro.” According to the map, Nitro is the largest steel roller coaster on the east coast. We wandered over to the Movietown section of the park and stood in the line for Nitro behind (and eventually in front of) a group of preteens. Those who were not wearing identical blue T-shirts with musical notes on the back were wearing identical white T-shirts with “Calvary Christian High School” on the front; I wasn’t sure who to be more scared of.
But soon enough it didn’t signify, as Nitro was far more terrifying than all the preteens put together. It starts by taking you slowly and creakily up a 230-foot ramp and then dropping you at an 85-degree angle almost to the ground. Then it goes on for another four minutes.
When the ride was over, a thoroughly terrified E.S., whose hands were shaking, said, “Did I tell you that I’m scared of heights?”
This explained his mystifying reluctance to go.
“That was too scary for me,” he continued. “I think I’m too old for this.”
A booth at the exit was selling photos of us; evidently, a strategically-placed camera had managed to capture our likenesses as we plunged to what our noradrenergic systems were convinced was our deaths. In the photo, E.S. looked handsome even filled with terror, and the preteens, whose noradrenergic systems were clearly far less gullible than ours, looked like they were having the time of their lives. I, on the other hand, had on my face a look of such grim concentration one might think the lens had caught me in the midst of performing a particularly complicated neurosurgery. E.S. wanted to buy a copy of the picture but I forbad him.
Then we found three or four more rides he was glad to go on, and we ate lots of junk food, and we played Whack-A-Mole, which I won.