There are two things that frighten me enough that I choose not to confront them. Heights and getting my head under water. We’re not talking about snakes and spiders right now. That’s another post.
I credit my fear of heights to my dad rocking the seat on the Ferris wheel while we were stopped at the top. I was around 7 years old at the time and I have never forgotten the memory of absolute panic. The getting my head under water would come from two occasions when I almost drowned. I’ve had a few more of those panics since then — a couple of rides at Knott’s Berry Farm come to mind.
So this past week, I found myself confronting my fears — somewhat. My boyfriend and I were at a water park and I was getting weary of always saying I wouldn’t do something because it frightened me. And since he’s a 73 year old daredevil, I didn’t want to ruin his enjoyment or be held back by an “old lady”. So, I voluntarily stepped up to the plate.
There was a ride I suggested we go on. YES! I suggested it. I knew he wanted to do something like it, so I magnanimously suggested it. Boy, was he surprised! So after climbing 101 steps — yes, I said 101 steps — we’re talking high here, I had to choose what color tube I wanted to ride down. I had tried several times on the way up to discourage him by pointing out his bad knees and did he really want to continue to the top. But alas, he would not be deterred. Now I had to choose the color. What I really wanted to do was walk back down those 101 steps. So, I chose pink. What else?
As I laid my foam mat down on the tube floor, I wished with all my might that they’d close the ride right then. But, they didn’t and I had no choice but to put my life on the line and head down. But only after being reassured by the attendant at the top that no-one had ever gotten stuck.
As I was hurtling down through these circular tubes of torture, I didn’t have time to think of the enormous slide at the end. Suddenly — right before me — the plunge! Down I hurtled! When I landed at the bottom, panic in my throat, I had the presence of mind to turn the front of my mat up, otherwise I would have ended in the adjacent ride. Coming to a stop, I had such a sense of relief. Is this how people feel when they have successfully completed a skydive? I did it! I went down Taumata Racer! Who says old people don’t have fun? Just don’t expect me to do it again. Ever again. Go ahead and call me an old lady. Where’d I put my knitting?