Why is it that as we get older, our fears increase? This came to mind not because I just saw a spider. It is because of a trip I took this last weekend.
Here is a little bit of my theme park background from when I was a kid. I loved rides and roller coasters. I was a little daredevil and I was totally okay with flipping around upside down and going to the highest of new rides — so much so that my parents hated to ride rides with me.
I went to Six Flags Over Texas recently. It was going to be a fun trip with my boyfriend and his family. We went to a few roller coasters that I was okay with. I totally was fine. This is where the moral of the story comes in.
We went to the Superman ride and everyone wanted to get on. I was okay with it until I realized you had to just sit at the top of the tower for about 15 seconds. At that point I told them I would just sit on a bench and wait. I thought I had beat the system: everyone got what they wanted including me sitting at the bottom waiting. Little did I know I had not even seen the worst yet.
Six Flags Over Texas opened a new ride that weekend — the Texas SkyScreamer. Everyone was so excited to get on it and I, yet again, was excited to sit at the bottom and watch from a distance.
Here is what I knew about the ride: it was basically a swing ride. You crawl up the top of this large pole until you are 400 feet in the air, swinging around at about 35 miles per hour on these tiny little chains strapped into a seat so you were stuck as it would plummet to the ground. Yes, I work things up in my mind.
I told them I would stand in line with them and get out when they got near the front. By the time we had stood in line for an hour, we were at the front and my ever-so-pitiful boyfriend had talked me into riding it. They tell you the rules — and really, any ride that has a list of rules is probably a no-go for anyone with anxiety issues in the first place.
I got on this ride and strapped myself to this metal seat faster than anyone else could even get to their chairs. As we started to rise I actually screamed when we were only 10 feet off the ground. And for the remainder of the ride I cried and screamed, and had my eyes closed. I had timed the ride while we were still on the ground and it took approximately two or three minutes.
But when I was swinging around at the top, I swear I was up there for 15 minutes.
I did look down once and started yelling “I looked down! I looked down! I looked down! I don’t want to see!” When we started to come back down I was traumatized — so traumatized I really did not think anything on this Earth could be worse than what I just took part in, although I am very sure there are worse things.
So my question is when did this happen to me and why?
I never used to think twice about being high off the ground. With age I guess we mature, and our fears become more real and increase.
My only answer to that question is I will never ride that ride again.