Yesterday a friend, after sharing his family‘s last vacation experience on bungee jumping and para-sailing with us, wanted to know if we would be interested in joining them on a trip to the local amusement park soon. The silence that followed his suggestion was deafening.
To tell you the truth, his suggestion was not without merit. Schools are out for the summer and to parents like me, this means loud music pumping out of some media all day long, loud feet pounding up and down the stairs at all hours and loud voices demanding food and entertainment at all times. Insanity is an inevitable by-product of long summer vacations so letting our kids loose in the outdoors for a few hours was not at all a bad idea. It might just help us to survive this summer. Except for the fact that I would rather be gagged, tied up in front of a TV and forced to watch soap-operas all day long than to ever set foot inside an amusement park again.
Why? Because amusement parks are anything but amusing. They are torture chambers ideally suited for convicts on death row. Acres of land filled with deadly, long, sinuous contraptions that are built to toss, spin, squeeze and knock the life out of any poor soul that has the misfortune of getting trapped in them. Roller coaster rides are my idea of Hell on Earth.
I still remember my first time riding a Ferris wheel. I screamed so loud that they stopped the ride after a couple of spins to let me off before resuming. Stopping a ride in the middle was unheard of. My folks, very proudly, credited it to my screaming skills.
Screaming, if you didn’t already know, is an excellent voice exercise. It clears the cobwebs in your throat, so to speak. Young singers everywhere, aspiring for a career in music, would beg to take lessons from me if they ever overheard the lullabies I sing for my children every night. If you don’t believe me, ask my husband. He proudly declares that I am the only one in our species that can bring King Kong to his knees simply by singing ‘Rock-A-Bye Baby’. Of course, it must only be a coincidence that the minute I clear my throat and get ready to start, my children squeeze their eyes shut and pass out cold. And what is up with all the neighborhood dogs always starting their nightly chorus exactly at the same time? Seriously!
Come to think of it, screaming was not the only thing that I did when I was busy holding on for dear life up in a ride. Every time I was sent rocketing through the air, spinning and tossing in a roller coaster ride, I had a profound spiritual experience. What solid earth refused to imbibe in me, those roller coaster rides managed to do. Screaming and puking my guts out while suspended in the air, I was enlightened by the realization that God is our savior and that He will come faster to save those that have no shame. Therefore abandoning my ego, I always sought his protection and sang His hymns (yes, while on the ride) loud enough to reach Kailas without Skype. Even today, I am unsure as to why folks tripped over each other to move back and make way for me every time after I got off those rides.
Coming back to yesterday, in the silence that followed our friend’s invitation, my family turned such hostile eyes on me that I was forced to explain the depth of my feelings for amusement parks to this friend. I never meant it as an insult when I told him that I would rather sleep on the floor of a dark, wet cave with a dozen snakes slithering next to me but, unfortunately, he seemed to take it so.
Anyway, my husband and I agree that if we were to ever find ourselves stranded, wet and hungry, in a colony of aliens where the only residing human was this friend, it would still be totally unwise to knock on his door.