Click. Click. Click. Click.
I’m feeling the cocktail of excitement, fear and relief as the car that I am securely strapped into is pulled higher and higher. I’m excited because I am about to speed down a near vertical angle that looks impossible when viewed from the ground. As the car lurches upward, there is a split second of fear that the chain dog will snap releasing the coaster backwards ending in a horrific crash. The click of the the chain comforts me into thinking it must mean everything is fine. Until we lurch forward again. And again. And again. It is, after all, by record, the tallest wooden roller coaster.
Despite my alternating states of emotion, I am drinking in the view. It’s a shame that the American Eagle name was already claimed because the top of this lift hill is an eagle eye’s view. My son, brave enough to ride the coaster with me, actually isn’t brave enough to have his eyes open at the top. Looking to the sky from the top of an impressive height has never quivered my stomach. It’s a glorious view of the people below coming together to scream their heads off. It almost takes my mind off the click of the roller coaster I am on.
Click. Click. Fear. Relief. Fear. Relief. Fear.
Then a pause as we hang at the top of a 180 feet drop while the anticipation builds. I thought looking down 85 degree decline would trigger some unknown anxiety once we got there but the reality is that I am ready to fly.
The locks release and we accelerate to 72 miles an hour. The roller coaster twists us, change directions and never shows us what is coming next. I can’t control what is coming out of my mouth.
A month later, I’m driving a tiny economy rental car through the mountains near Golden, Colorado. I’m fairly certain that the decription on the Avis website would read “Clown Car”. Most people rent an SUV for the mountains. Apparently, I rent clown cars.
The GPS says turn right at the next intersection. I hesitate because this road seems more like a dirt driveway than the shortest route to Golden Gate Canyon State park. A dirt road in the mountains could end up anywhere. Like throwing a Jackson down on black number six, I decisively drive ahead into the mountains. On a dirt road. In a clown car.
At first, I’m just driving along hoping that the GPS signal stays strong enough to guide me back to civilization sometime before my flight leaves that evening. However, after a while, I note the washed out narrow ditch is a good 3 to 4 feet below the “edge” of the road, and I begin hoping that a tow truck will be able to get to me in time for me to make my evening flight. I throw a Grant on red number 33 as I press on thinking that I will turn this car around at anytime I feel like the road isn’t safe enough to proceed, provided I’m smart enough to recognize it in time and tire of the gamble.
After another five miles driving the clown car down the narrowing washed out dirt road, I pulled onto the paved main road. I glanced over my shoulder at the mountain side and once again I cannot control what comes out of my mouth. I laugh semi-hysterically for a good 30 seconds.
Holy Shit! How the hell am I not sideways in a washed out ditch?
The laughing reminds me of my uncontrollable laughter on the roller coaster rides a month earlier. In both instances, I am euphoric because I have just broken Murphy’s Law.