Updated: Jan 19, 2021
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Roller coasters terrified me growing up (maybe they still do). I still watch documentaries on how they are made, or ranking videos on the biggest roller coasters in the world, or just some random video of people riding on them. But I hated riding on them. It wasn’t so much the loops, it was the drops and the ascents. I hated the ascents because they led to the drops and the drops did not feel good at all. Though I feared roller coasters, I was also fascinated by them.
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When I was young, I would stand in awe, watching people ride on them. I enjoyed waiting in the lines leading up to the roller coasters, progressing closer to the giant machines to better see their eye-popping colours and powerful designs.
I liked watching people enjoy themselves, tracking them with my eyes as they rose, fell and were spun around. I enjoyed hearing their screams and thinking that they were a bunch of weirdos (like my sister who had to sit in the front row, or she’d wait for the next turn). I loved hearing the loud roar and the groans of the carts as they zipped around the tracks at dreaded speeds.
But without fail, as I got closer to my turn, awesomeness decreased and awfulness increased.
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By the time I was strapped in, roller coasters were evil creations and my siblings were wicked creatures for forcing me onto them. I was never really forced to go on, at least not actively, but I hated being teased so I went.
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Once, I hid in the bathroom just so that I could "miss my chance". Another time I decided not to go and endured the teasing. Both times I regretted not facing my fear. I knew though, that soon I would be cursing myself as a "Fool of a Took” and looking for a means of escape. But there was never an escape for me. Once I was strapped in, control disappeared and I was at the ride’s mercy. But the ride always ended. I was only in its cold and impersonal grip for a short time, and that was my only comfort. As I was unbuckled and moved away from the roller coasters my awe of them would increase again.
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Maybe that was it. Maybe I didn't like something so powerful controlling where I went and flinging me about recklessly, driving me at awful speeds where I had no escape, no say, no voice. Now that I'm older, maybe I need to go ride another and try to figure it out.
How do you feel about roller coasters? If you don't like them, what is it about them that gets to you? If you do like them, why are you a weirdo?
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