I spent my childhood going to Frontier City, an amusement park, with my family and friends. Some years, we even got Double Park Passes, which meant we could go to Frontier City AND White Water. Totally awesome.
I'm always told that I was such a cautious child and, for the most part, I remember being like that. I didn't like getting dirty, I didn't like getting in trouble, and I didn't like taking risks. This translated into an interesting time at amusement parks. My brother, Mark, was scared of nothing, or at least he pretended not to be. He rode every ride and didn't have a doubtful bone in his body. While he was lifting his hands and hanging upside down like a crazy person, I was looking at the metal beams holding up the roller coaster and wondering if they would fall. I was wondering what it would be like to be up in the air and have your harness come unlocked and you fall out. That's the kind of child I was ... until Karlie came along.
Karlie is my younger sister by 5 years. She really mixed up my amusement park dilemma. Sure, I was comfortable sticking to rides like the Scrambler or roller coasters that didn't loop. She changed it all. I think she was made up of half "I'm not afraid of anything" and half "I want to do what my big brother does." Because of this, once she was tall enough, she rode everything with Mark. She wasn't scared. This put me in an interesting situation. Was I really going to let my little sister show me up?? Nope. So, in middle school I started riding the rides that hung you upside down in the air and roller coasters that looped. It was like I developed another version of myself. The faster the better, the more spins and turns and centrifugal force, the better!
Fast forward to my sophomore year in college when I lived in the Taylor dormitory. Right outside was a set of swings and I remember the first time I went out there to swing with some friends. I felt sick. Was a swing making me sick to my stomach? Yes. I was 19 and if I spent too much time on a swing, it made me nauseous. Weird.
Fast forward again to the summer after I graduated college. Colt and I took a walk to a park in my neighborhood. It had a merry-go-round which was one of my favorite things growing up. I loved the feeling of getting dizzy and trying to hold on for dear life. Well, a minute of this merry-go-round and I was yelling for Colt to stop it. Yes, I felt sick. We walked home and I had to sit down with a glass of water for awhile to get back to normal.
So, based on my past experiences, I figured I was done with spinning, riding roller coasters, and hanging upside down. This past week in Minnesota, we went to the Mall of America. This is a HUGE mall with an amusement park in the middle of it. Oh, how fun it would be to ride those rides, I thought. I didn't have to think for too long because Auntie Jan had 2 free passes to ride any rides all day long. Brandon and Bjorn, the teenagers of the group, would be the obvious takers. Nope, they passed them along to Colt and I.
We knew we wouldn't have time to ride but one thing, so we wanted to make it a good one. So, we rode this:
While standing in line, I found myself doing the same thing I used to do as a kid! Oh, they're not going to make it up. The coaster is going to come off the track! Someone's going to fall out. Colt kept reassuring me that we would be fine, even after our mexican food for lunch.
The end result? I did it and I didn't feel sick or dizzy or messed up at all! I know it's not the craziest ride ever invented, but I was still proud. Take that, adulthood!