The time has come for shorts, beaches, and making decisions that you’ll probably regret by the time you’re 40––it’s Spring Break!
Most students look froward to this week of freedom and revelry for the whole year, and I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it as well. But one of the staples that most other people can’t wait for is one that I personally despise, or even fear: the amusement park.
Don’t get me wrong, if you invite me to go to Disneyland with you, I will have my Mickey ears on before you even finish asking, but practically any other park, especially one such as Six Flags, gives me goosebumps, and not in a good way.
I hate roller coasters. I’ve hated roller coasters my entire life.
I’ll allow you a moment of recovery as your jaw is most likely still on the floor in shock. It’s a ridiculous statement, I know. Hate roller coasters? Impossible! Nobody hates roller coasters! Well, I do. Sometimes I amaze even myself with my odd tastes (while we’re at it, I don’t like cilantro, either––an equally reprehensible sin from what I’ve been told).
But how could I possibly disown such a beloved worldwide phenomenon? The key is all in perception, my friend. Let me explain: for me, the absolute worst feeling one can possibly experience on God’s green earth is the dropping feeling you get in your stomach when you’re plummeting down a 180-degree drop on one of these so-called thrill rides (aside from getting a limb ripped off. Or getting impaled with a metal rod. Or childbirth. But as I’ve never experienced any of these, I’m just going to go with stomach drops for now).
What’s interesting about this is that these stomach drops are exactly the reason most other people (you included, probably) love roller coasters so much. Whenever I tell someone I don’t like the feeling, they invariably respond with, “Oh, I LOVE that feeling! It’s so great! You can just feel your stomach floating all the way up to your throat!” Yes. I know. That’s what I don’t like about it. And you reiterating how much you adore that feeling makes me think that you either didn’t hear what I just said, or are trying to invalidate my opinion simply because you don’t agree with my perspective.
I realize I’m in the vast minority here. I’ve met only a handful of people who share my distaste for drops, and if any of you are listening (or reading in this case), I appreciate you. But the reason this topic is so divisive is because that dropping feeling registers as something entirely different for me than it does for any given roller coaster buff. While they feel a thrilling rush of adrenaline, I feel pain. It hurts. It doesn’t make me feel nauseous or dizzy, it is just incredibly painful, and it only gets worse when I’m made to feel guilty for not wanting to subject myself to something that (according to my brain) is harming me.
I may sound defensive about this, but that’s because I am. I’ve had to be. I’ve learned over time that out of all the different squeamish discomforts people have about amusement parks, fear of drops is probably the least respected.
If someone doesn’t like the spinning teacups because it makes them feel sick, that’s fine. If someone doesn’t like roller coasters because they’re afraid of heights, that’s fine. And I agree with both of these statements. But usually people look down on me for not liking drops because they don’t understand how something they perceive as so enjoyable could be perceived as so abhorrent to someone else.
As I understand it, roller coasters are so well-loved because they give you a sense of danger but simultaneously a sense of immortality. They bring you just close enough to death that you can feel the panic and adrenaline, but then whisk you away again, like you have the power to fly away from your inherent human fragility with no repercussions. For whatever reason, my brain likes to interpret this phenomenon as a near death experience regardless of how strong I’m harnessed in.
If you enjoy roller coasters and are appalled by how I could denounce one of your favorite pastimes, I’m not looking to start a fight––I’m merely looking for recognition. Not everyone’s experience is the same, and in many ways, it’s our different perceptions of experiences that make us unique. In short, don’t hate––appreciate the fact that if you go to an amusement park with me, you’ll automatically have a ready and willing bag-holder.