I am no wus. I would consider myself a thrillseeker. I adore go-karting hurling myself around a track at 50 miles an hour in a gismo with the protective capacity of a shopping-trolley and the fiercest kind of death-defying whitewater rafting. I have alsopiloted a small plane, been paintballing, taken part in army assault courses, and completed some extreme high ropescourses with ease. I am not a big fan however of theme park rides. In fact I never go on them. I have never been on a rollercoaster and don't intend to start.
I have concluded that it is a question of control. In the dare devil experiences I mentioned above, I exercised some control over my movements; some semblance of power over my destiny. However close to death the activity may take me, I believe I can act if needed to try to do something about it. And I back myself to be able to. Strapped into a roller coaster, whose energy is entirely of its own volition, I am completely at its mercy. I don't trust mechanical and inanimate objects enough to not be terrified.
This presented a problem when accompanying my girlfriend to a theme park. I went with her this week to a waterpark named Splash down. I enjoyed the inflatable ring rides, the rapids, and the meandering almost scenic flumes. However, she wanted me to go down The Screamer. It's a closed tube slide, about an inch in diameter (so it seems) and it descends one hundred and fifty feet. Since it only takes a couple of seconds, you can image the sheer plummeting drop that awaits any fool who attempts it. I could not prove that I was a real man with any tales of extreme activities previously completed. So, presented with puppy dog eyes, I had no choice but to do it. With closed eyes and held breath, I said a silent prayer, and trusted my life to a few kilos of plastic. Those two seconds lasted a lifetime. A lifetime of extreme G force, drowning, speed, pain, and dread. I could taste blood in my mouth. Eventually it spat me out sideways, smashing me into the side of the catch pool and I emerged bruised, digested, and deflated, but once again a real Man.