May 31, 2004

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.

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6 Responses to On Friday, E.S. and I

  1. shahjay says:

    i love you — and now e.s. too

  2. Adrienne says:

    Thank you for another brief moment of joy in an otherwise dull day of rereading Beowulf for school.

  3. Jeff says:

    I love you both, and I haven’t even met you. Imagine!

    This reminds me that, even though I have lived in St. Louis for 12 years, I still have not made my way to our regional amusement park — no, not the Anheuser-Busch brewery tour, but rather Six Flags St. Louis (formerly called Six Flags over Mid-America, which my friend Trish the Dish nicknamed Six Flags over Manic Depression). Perhaps this should be the year I go.

    But you should have bought the picture. I wanted to see it. I’m sure you both looked adorable.

  4. Toccoa says:

    As a longtime reader of your wonderful blog, this seemed surprising. I would have thought that men who have ridden the Faustus would find sublimations like the Nitro to be pale and uneventful.

  5. orbicon says:

    Fine. I will buy the picture. I have cancelled all plans for next weekend. I’m sure the Six Flags photo staff will know exactly which picture I need when I relay your description.
    Attn Faustas readers: I will be selling Nitro themed desktop wallpaper! Stay tuned for updates.

  6. Adam875 says:

    My boyfriend decided to inform me that he is scared of heights while we were on top of the Wonder Wheel (the tallest ferris wheel in the US) at Coney Island. When I said “Look how pretty the water looks,” and he buried his head in my arm, it was my first clue.


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