Friday, September 28, 2012

Six Flags Great Adventure

Dave and I stood at the foot of Kingda Ka, a steel roller coaster at Six Flags Great Adventure, not feeling very great or adventurous at all. A car rumbled across the lime green steel track that suddenly bent upwards at a ninety degree angle, pressing thirty fragile human bodies helplessly against the padded seats behind them and redirecting the car onto a one-way path to the stratosphere where it would surely melt in the sun, hopelessly clicking towards doom.

At the peak of the sweaty climb, everyone in the front of the car who was desperately clawing at the foam-covered restraints on their shoulders had several grueling seconds to regret their life choices as the car teetered on the apex, almost coming to a stop. Then the car slid forward, giving into gravity, and rumbled the back seats over the tip and plummeted to the earth below with a tail of fire, spiraling mercilessly. The faces of the passengers rippled as they cut through the air, splitting atoms in a torrent of shrieks.

“Why are we doing this?” Dave and I asked each other. The line of thrillseekers ended near the “One Hour From This Point” sign, but more adrenaline-pumped lunatics with souvenir cups full of Mountain Dew were queuing up by the minute. The line was only going to get longer before we made up our minds.

A group of bald guys roared at each other, “Let’s do this! Let’s do this!”

“I don’t think I can do this,” I said to Dave. “I’ve been out of the game for too long.”

“Did you say ‘out of the game?’”

By which, of course, I meant that I had just moments ago broken a six-year roller coaster fast on a “moderate thrill” wooden coaster and nearly popped a blood vessel in my heart. I’ve never been one for screaming my way down the drops, but instead found myself whimpering like a puppy. I tried to breathe deeply. Are my adrenal glands shriveling at the ripe old age of twenty-two? Has yoga and meditation completely decimated my capacity to appreciate a “moderate thrill?”

I was terrified of roller coasters when I was I was little. I’m still barely tall enough to ride them, which exponentially increases my chances of slipping out on the drop and careening through the roof of a Dippin’ Dots stand. My nine-year-old self had to maintain a reputation for fierceness and a Napoleon complex, but who did I have to impress now? Dave seemed as alarmed by the angles of the first drop as I did.

Dave and I tweaked our itinerary and headed to Superman.  We passed some girls in gray polos with clipboards.
“Have you ever considered a career in modeling?” they asked.

Six Flags modeling recruiters. I imagined my own image in the Six Flags brochure, digging my nails into the foam-covered restraints on the Kingda Ka, my open lips rippling and exposing a chronically wind-burned pair of tonsils.

“No,” I said, walking passing them quickly. “Have a nice day.”

The girls turned and descended, like animals, upon a woman in a burqa rushing by with a baby carriage. “Hello, gorgeous!”

We got on the Superman roller coaster, a high-thrill that we could both agree on. After this magnificent ride, we went to a food court boasting vegetarian options for lunch. I scrutinized the selection of Chinese food. Beside the register there was a cooler of full of sushi and cubes of melon.

“Who would eat sushi from a theme park?” I wondered to myself.

Then I noticed little containers of octopus salad on the bottom shelf and thought, “Who would eat octopus salad from a theme park?” Anyone can survive endure a high-thrill roller coaster, but it takes a true daredevil to ingest Six Flags octopus salad.

We devoted the rest of the afternoon to simpler theme park pleasures. We watched a bearded man on a white pony much too small for his stature ride the carousel alone. He grinned into his smart phone, videoing himself alone on the carousel. About half way through he turned the camera onto us.



  1. It seems like you had fun at Six Flags, and by fun I mean it seems you almost wet yourself from fear! lol But who would eat octopus from a theme park, let alone at all? Ew.

  2. I would say that there's a time and a place for octopus, but there isn't.