Wednesday, June 16, 2004


I am afraid of roller coasters, airplanes, motorcycles, jet skis, ski lifts and [insert any other activity that involves heights, traveling at high rates of speed or the slightest risk of death].

Much of my life has been spent attempting, unsuccessfully, to avoid social situations where this information will become known.

Like the time I was in Hawaii for Spring Break, and my friends thought it would be fun to rent mopeds for a day. I can’t say that any of them bought my “I think there’s something wrong with mine” excuse to explain why I spent the majority of the day a good mile or two behind the pack.

All of them, in unison: “Yeah, the rider!”. I didn’t argue.

I knew that my nearly four year relationship with Kari was doomed after our trip to Raging Waters, which boasted at the time (and may still for all I know, I’m too ashamed to go back) the world’s tallest waterslide. I made it about a quarter of the way up the staircase before remembering something vital: I am a complete and total wuss. I can’t help but believe that about 94% of Kari’s decision to end our relationship, which she did shortly thereafter, occurred during the “Walk of Shame” down the up staircase.

I had been dating my wife for less than six months when we joined another couple for a weekend trip to Laughlin, NV. I was not looking forward to the trip, knowing that the probability of making it through a weekend in Laughlin without someone bringing up the idea of renting jet skis was not good. I was proud of myself for actually having the guts to take a ski out on the water. I was ashamed when my wife, tired of being passed up by just about everyone else on the entire Colorado River, asked if she could take the reigns for awhile. She never gave them back.

I had actually become a lot more comfortable with flying on airplanes prior to September 11th, but as if the fear of engine failure, someone forgetting to put gas in the plane or a mid-air collision wasn’t bad enough, now I have to worry about shoe bombs or hijackers flying the damn thing into a building? Forget it. The longest post-9/11 flight I’ve taken to date was from LA to Cancun, where I learned first-hand that my fear is actually stronger than Xanax, two of which did not stop me from having my usual mid-air panic attack.

To my credit, except for the tall waterslide, I actually DID all of these things, I was just scared during the process. Roller coasters on the other hand...? Won’t touch `em. Does it go upside down? No way. Does it bring you to a height where you would likely die if you somehow slipped out of your seat and fell to the ground? Uh-uh. Does it travel at speeds faster than Space Mountain (which I’ve only found the courage to enjoy in the past few years)? Count me out.

Any shame I feel about my irrational fear of coasters is generally balanced by the humor I find in the people who seem to hold the belief that the ONE thing that has stood in the way of me and the enjoyment of thrill rides is that I haven’t been to an amusement park with THEM yet. As if he or she is going to be the ONE person in 30 years of intense coaster-phobia who is going to cure me.

I do, on the other hand, make an excellent amusement part date. I’m great at holding purses.

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