Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Hell at the Church Carnival

So, I mentioned the church carnival was last weekend.  That Zipper ride I took a picture of?  Decided to ride it on Sunday after some hell broke loose I'd rather not get into yet or possibly ever because I'm still a little bit in shock over the whole thing.  But today we're talking about the Zipper ride.  And that's not even a euphemism.  Well, it wasn't.

The Zipper is a carnival ride.  It's got a big long, oval piece in the center maybe 50 feet long with 14 or so people cages attached that two riders can cram inside.  No Single Riders, the signs warn.  You have to find a friend and buddy up.  foreshadowing, I never knew thee.

The aluminum cages for riders are faced with a dog kennel kind of mesh and the insides are reinforced with foam wrapped bars that have seen fluffier days.  The seat side of the inside isn't a seat per se.  Rather a contoured wall, padded with red diner booth vinyl.  Looking back, I'm convinced an epic amount of WD40 had to be involved to keep these death traps from squealing out rusty hinged hints of impending peril.

As such, my sister and I met the kids up at the carnival on Sunday day and happily climbed right in after much coaxing from Thing 1, Thing 2 and their gaggle of buddies.  Fine.  One ride.  that's it.  We leaned into the diner vinyl ready for an adventure.  Sometimes when your life feels like a carnival ride, it's good to get on an actual carnival ride and put things in perspective a little bit I think.  "So, bring it," I thought.

The first half was fine.  We laughed and shrieked as the Zipper swirled us around.  I think we were the only two riders.  The Things and their friends were watching us from the ground, holding bags and sunglasses.  Thing 1 had stumbled off the ride two nights before yelling, "Never again!" in mock-ish outrage.  But he'd been back on it a dozen times since then, so how bad could it be?


What happened on the second half I'm not entirely sure but it was easily the single most terrifying experience of my adult life.

As we paused mid-ride at the tippy top of the world, the ride operator must have set the Zipper on Straight to Hell mode because suddenly we started lurching through the air, flipping and looping and plummeting in ways that I would not have thought possible by watching from the ground.  I felt like someone threw me in an old lunch box and swung me around changing directions by surprise and with such force that I was brutalized by gravity itself.  Well, gravity and a roll bar.  I still have bruises.

I would never survive the space program.

My sister and I screamed.  And kept screaming.  This wasn't playful shrieking anymore, these were piercing, tear-streaked, torrents of pure fear that drew a crowd on the ground below us.  I don't even know how many people gathered by the time we were done because I was so dazed once I got off the ride.  My sister needed to go vomit.  I needed gingerale and a seat that wasn't moving.  If I were a cartoon, I'd have had googly eyes and birdies chirping around my head.

Skipping over the gross parts, let's just say that once the next 30 minutes and the contents of both of our stomachs had passed, we felt much better.

Never again, Zipper.  Never again.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Oh, I went on the zipper once many, many years ago. High school years to be exact. I found it to be just as hellacious as you did.

Never, ever again I vowed. And I have kept that vow.