So this is the deal. I can’t handle rides. Everyday, ordinary show rides. I just can’t handle them. I know, I’m a pussy, but they scare the living hell out of me. Asides from the very tame Ferris wheel and ghost train, I had only ever brought myself to go on one real ride in my 24 years of existence. This was several years ago when I decided I would confront my fears and go on the zipper. After all, little kids lining up in front of us got off the ride laughing and joking so how bad could it be? Cut to ten minutes later when I stagger out of the metal cage shaking like I’ve just witnessed a murder, expel the contents of my stomach behind a tree and then again on the way back to the car.
Like I said, I can’t handle rides. I gave it a shot, it wasn’t for me and I never intended on trying again. But now Sarah, Taz, Mick, Lee and I are on our way to the ride capital of France, Disneyland, Paris. Sarah’s mother Jillian, back in Australia, had kindly shouted us all tickets (All rides inclusive) as a present for looking after her daughter so I figure between the obligation to make the most of the gift and getting badgered by four ride-loving friends, I’m not gonna make it through the day without forcing myself onto at least one ride. The whole morning, I am noticeably quiet in apprehensive anticipation while everyone else is bursting with enthusiasm. I try to not think about the rides and instead focus on everything else Disneyland has to offer. Everything that won’t make me violently ill.
So we rock up to the place and I try and stall for time by suggesting we go and do something tame to begin with but I am severely outvoted and first stop is “Indiana Jones: The ride”. This is a relatively small roller coaster that travels backwards so you can’t see which direction you’re heading in. I manage to remain composed as we begin lining up to get on. From the line, the view of the ride is obscured so you never get a clear idea of what you’re about to get on. You can only see small sections at a time as the line twists closer. We climb some stairs and a large loop in the track becomes visible accompanied by the piercing sound of around twenty people screaming in unison as a train of carriages reverses around upside down. This is the part where I freak out. I take the walk of shame and bail out of there. Rides 1: Jag 0.
Immediately afterwards, everyone else, hopped up on adrenalin, opts to go straight to another ride. Outvoted yet again. I am fully aware that if I back out this time I shall be recipient of the sissy of the year award so I have no choice but to confront yet another one of my fears. We are in the line for a wild west theme roller coaster named something like “Terror hill” or “Pain mountain” or something as equally threatening. Paying attention to the ride’s name isn’t exactly high on the priority list at the moment. The huge line seemed to move in fast forward and after what seemed like a few seconds I find myself strapped into one of the carriages, severely regretting my decision to decline the sissy of the year title. The ride begins. Yay! (That was sarcasm in case you couldn’t tell). We are now careening through a pitch black tunnel, somewhere in the heart of “Mount death to Jag”. Oh, what I wouldn’t give to be a sissy right now. A few minutes of severe discomfort and the ride is over. The scores are now tied. Rides 1: Jag 1.
I foolishly assumed that going on one ride would be enough to prove my masculinity but it soon became evident that I would have to go on all the major rides before the taunting stopped. Three in total. Not too much to ask. The next stop is some kind of rocket themed ride purporting to fly its occupants to the moon. Sick shit! (More sarcasm). We are not going to the moon. We are not going anywhere. We are just going to be fiercely hurtled around and then end up where we started off. So we get on this “Rocket”, get hurtled around and then it’s over. I am a nervous wreck but I have now secured the lead. Rides 1: Jag 2. One more ride to go and I am the victor.
It’s now time to take on my old arch nemesis Dr. Jones. By this point it had begun to rain quite heavily and I get to thinking that maybe, just maybe, if everything is too wet from the downpour, then the rides might be cancelled. This could mean a win by default. Perhaps I would not have to endure any more suffering on this day. But alas, we are soon informed that Indy is in fully functioning condition. And once again I find myself strapped into another carriage, awaiting the inevitable. The ride commences and I am thrown backwards around fake cliffs decorated in themed props. My fingers are raw from pulling myself into the bottom of the chair. A few seconds pass and I am still alive. I have taken on Indiana and I have reclaimed my manhood. A wave of relief floods over me. Rides 1: Jag 3.
After a small incident on the tea cups, we use up the rest of the day having fun, enjoying everything non ride related that the amusement park had to offer. We gorged ourselves on fast food and fairy floss. I contemplated trying to get Mickey to sign my man-boobs but lost interest after having difficulty finding a marker. We spent an embarrassing amount of time trying to navigate our way out of the Alice in Wonderland labyrinth. All the usual antics one would get up to in one of the happiest places on earth.
You would think that after confronting an irrational fear a few times you would realize there is nothing to be scared of. This is not one of those stories. I am still terrified of rides. Maybe one day I’ll learn to like them. Maybe one day I’ll grow a second arse on top of my head. In this crazy topsey-turvey world, who can really tell?