Too Old For This

Okay. Things are slowing down. And for that, I lift my hands to the heavens and say a heartfelt THANK YOU to God. I honestly could not have kept that pace up for much longer.

So. Back last Tuesday I volunteered to drive/chaperone the 7th/8th grade trip to Great America. I really do love going there – I’ve always been a big fan of roller coasters and other thrill rides. Especially Tilt-A-Whirl type rides. (Anyone who knew me back in the late 80s/90s will attest to my over-the-top love of the Tilt-A-Whirl) I thought this would be fun for me, plus I’d be able to help out Maggie’s class so they could take this trip that was Maggie’s idea.

My mom & dad sat with William all day & picked up Henry & Steven from school so I could be childless on this day. However, Maggie expressed to me that she did not want me tagging along with her & her friends in the park. Whaaaaat? I’m very sensitive to not cramping her “style” (13-year-old girl style….puh-leeez), so I said I wouldn’t. There was one other adult chaperoning and she didn’t want to go on the rides, so that left me to be the creepy 40-something woman wandering around the park, going on rides ALONE. Having to tell the ride bouncers that, yes, there is only ONE in my party so that they append me onto someone else’s group. I hate this. Because, honestly, what group of teenagers wants some creepy old woman sitting next to them. Ew.

I and the other chaperone did a lap around the park, stopping so that I could ride the Raging Bull and Vertical Velocity. I loved them both – really fun rides. We got back to the front of the park and decided to keep walking, so we did another lap. By this time, the karaoke stage was open and I am a SUCKER for a karaoke stage. I did a quick rendition of “Me & Bobby McGee”, surprising my chaperone pal, and we made our way back to the entrance to meet the kids for lunch. We ate out in the cars and I got Maggie to agree to let me tag along with them so I had people to ride with. We went back in and did the Raging Bull again (I REALLY like that one) and then I convinced them to go on Chubasco, which is basically a teacup ride. I love the teacup ride. I work that center wheel like I’m turning on the oil rig and we SPIN, y’all. We went on it twice with all the kids piling in my cup with me and they fully enjoyed my loss of control and fits of uncontrollable giggling as the spinning took me over. The kids decided they needed to go on over and over – I joined them for 5 full rides before I had to give up. I couldn’t physically make the cup spin anymore and I was beginning to get a headache.

We moved on and went on Virtual Velocity again. When we got to the front of the line, Maggie decided she didn’t want to go, but I thought I”d do it again cuz it was awesome.

Oh – just a side note here. I know I’m fat. I get that. I was, however, a little taken aback by just how little wiggle room there is for those that are “atypical” in their body shape. I was able to fit pretty well on Raging Bull, but on VV, I almost couldn’t go. Because the stupid pull-down harness thing couldn’t lock over my ridiculous chest. The harness comes down and then there’s a seatbelt-like thing that attaches from the harness to a buckle on the side. In order to get it buckled, I had to SMASH the harness down while the attendant pushed the buckle in. I felt like 10 pounds of sausage in a 5 pound casing. Super smooshed.

The ride was, again, super awesome, but afterwards I started feeling wonky. The kids decided to go on the Eagle and I knew from past experience that I probably would have to wedge myself into the seat, so I decided to skip it. I had seen a bunch of people walking around with squid hats and I decided to get one for Steven. There was a game kiosk right there, but it was one of those “Guess Your Weight” deals and I really didn’t need any more confirmation about the size of my backside, so I kept walking to find another place to get one. If the park is a 360 degree circle, I found one at about 180 degrees, but it was for a Whac-A-Mole game that you had to play with others and win the “race” three times in order to get a squid hat. That wasn’t going to happen. I kept walking around, completing the circle back where I’d started. The kids had already finished their ride on the Eagle, but my fellow chaperone was still there. We took a closer look at the Guess Your Weight kiosk and I realized it was also Guess Your Age & Guess Your Birth Month. If only I’d taken the time to READ the sign, I’d have eliminated a lap around the park. I made him guess my age and he guessed THIRTY-ONE. I laughed so loud & hard. I couldn’t tell if he was losing on purpose or if he really was bad at this job, but I got my squid hat, nevertheless.

We headed back toward the karaoke stage and realized it was closing in about 15 minutes, so I put in to do another song. I did “Respect” and as I was leaving the stage, the person running it told me not to go anywhere because she wanted me to do the last song for the day. How flattering!! I told her I hadn’t put in another song request and she said, “It’s okay, I got it covered”. Which could be a very scary prospect – to agree to do an unknown karaoke song on the fly. She came down and told me it was “Last Dance” and, while I’d never sung it before, I was at least familiar with it. She said she’d help me, so I gave it a shot. It was fun! I actually knew it better than I thought and had a good time playing it up and being goofy.

We walked back to the entrance to wait for the kids to be done and meet at the entrance. I had brought my crochet (of course! who doesn’t bring their crochet to Great America??) and we sat and talked & I crocheted for the final 90 minutes or so of the day.

Time to go! We piled in the car and started home. And then something super-weird happened. My eyesight started going totally bonkers – I couldn’t focus on things and there was flashing in my peripheral vision. If I looked right at you, I couldn’t really see you, but I kind of could peripherally. The flashing was so disturbing – like a video game or something. When I’d close my eyes, the flashes were colorful. It was really freaking me out. I could still drive, but I knew if it got any worse, I’d have to pull over. It lasted about 30 minutes or so and then it just dissipated. I could not figure out what was going on. When I got home, I Googled it and came up with an ocular migraine. I’m not 100% sure if that’s it, but the description sounds right. Totally freaky.

I also realized that I’m too darn old for this. I love the rides, but I’ve spent the past week recovering. My neck hurts and I’ve had a headache on the left side since then. I spent 5 days feeling headachy and nauseous (no, I’m not pregnant) and I think it’s from the rides. I guess my time as a thrill-seeker is over. No fair.