I’m not a person that needs any excuses to sit down and reflect on my life and my experience at Cedar Point was no different. It’s been 7+ years since I’ve visited America’s Roller Coast and many things have changed, most notably my childlike perception of invincibility. Whether there were just no consequences when you were little or you just didn’t think about them, they exist, everywhere, now.
I’m a lot higher off the ground now. Falling has a whole nother depth of meaning to it. When I wake up in the morning I can feel what I did yesterday, not just remember it. My mind has been building up a whole arsenal of war stories that it can use against me anytime I try to make a stupid decision. And I’ve become much more cautious. There is a certain level of trust you must have to live your life more or less normally. For instance, you have to trust that when you sit down in a chair it’s not going to buckle beneath you. Trust that the craftsman that put it together knew what he was doing or the manufacturer who assembled it was paying attention or that stupid little wrench from IKEA allowed you to put your own chair together correctly. You have to trust that whoever made your food at whatever restaurant you choose to eat in made it so you don’t get some wild stomach bug. But there are other bigger things in life that maybe you throw into question. Most often when I’m facing a decision, a bigger decision than normal, to act or not act or go this way or that it comes down to one question: Am I going to survive this?
That question turned out to be quite prevalent in our five or so hours at Cedar Point after we willingly threw down a few bucks to be thrown around like sacks of flour on crazy steel alien like machines that rise and tower hundreds of stores above you. Yea, that sounds like fun. I mean, are humans supposed to do this? When you reach a certain age you begin noticing things you probably didn’t notice as a kid, or if you did, didn’t process in the same way. You notice all the little nuts and bolts in the track of the Top Thrill that you’re standing in line to ride. You notice all the little compressors that cool down the crazy launch pad that shoots you off at 120MPH. Then you think about all the people that built all those little parts. You think about the engineer who put all those little parts together and said, yes, yes this is safe and it’s going to be fun. God I hope so.
But at an amusement park, as the name suggests, there are many things going on to reinforce that engineers sound stamp of approval, namely that there are people on the ride before you, (most) all of them smiling and laughing and screaming with joy when they return from their journey over that monstrosity of a ride. And that tells me (over and over again- because the lines for these rides are so ridiculous) that this is fun and it shouldn’t be scary and best of all- that I’m not going to die. And so it turns out, that although my anxiety made it’s best effort to get the best of me, all the people- all the smiling and happy people- allowed me to feel that way too. And so maybe I just need more external cues these days to help me answer the question- yes, I am going to survive this. But it still turns out I can enjoy the thrill of a good old-fashioned coaster (and the new ones too). Please enjoy our little day of fun and amusement.