Last Sunday, some park attendees at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in California, became stuck on a roller coaster ride for two hours.
Been there. Done that.
In the recent California incident, a fire truck raised a crane with water for the stuck people. They finally got the cars to roll backwards to ground level where the people safely climbed off.
In the mid-1960’s, Alison and I were celebrating our end-of school “field trip” to a Cleveland amusement park, when we also got stuck on a roller coaster, also for two hours. However, back then no one brought us water. We just sat there in the hot sun at the top of the last hill — oh, so close — waiting and wondering how and when we’d get down.
At the end of our two hours, park officials instructed us to climb out of our cars and walk down the track. Fearless-stupid me waited impatiently for our turn to finally come. Each person was offered the helping hand of a park employee. Ha. Sure. Right. Not I! I wanted to dance and twirl the entire way down. This was SO cool! However, I’d only bounced about half-way down when I looked back and realized Alison wasn’t following. She was too petrified to even climb out of the car. What? The rails were too close together for skinny little us to fall through, and there was a narrow wooden walkway right next to the track, nice and sturdy, sort of, if you didn’t mind the wiggles or creaking. Of course, I suppose we could have gone sideways… That was probably what gave Alison hesitation.
When I realized her predicament, I started back up to help, shouting encouraging words like, “See! Look at me! No hands. This isn’t scary at all! You can do it!” And wouldn’t you know, the rescuers yelled at me to move on down the track. Geeze! I was just trying to help my friend out.
Way back in the day, it was all about trill, adventure, and survival — and the stories we’d be telling later. Well, for me, it was. But what if the same thing happened today. Oh. Right. It did. And in today’s attitude, with 36% of the USA’s population being lawyers, and 34% of the nation’s population on welfare (who doesn’t want more money?), I’m wondering if there will be a follow-up story to the recent California roller coaster happening, dealing with emotional lawsuits. (Did you get an owie? No? Were you scared? Okay, then. We’ll give you lots of money so you won’t feel scared any more.) (I also know a women receiving month medical disability checks for years from our military, but owns and rides horses. Life is not fair.)
Back to my own roller coaster story. (And my son says I even speak with parentheses.) Foolishly fearless or terrified? Adventure-filled or greedy? Concerned or amused? Which point of view in my own story do you find the most emotionally tugging for a reader — either of the girls’? a rescuer’s? the park owner’s? an anxious parent’s? Pick your era. Pick your characters. Pick your amusement ride of choice. Write away.