You can know anything. It's all there. You just have to find it.

-Neil Gaiman


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fun in the sun, and the rain

Yesterday, I played hooky from work. Planned hooky, that is.

Me and Matt, along with my sister-in-law Becca and my nephew Will, went to Valleyfair.

It had been almost 5 years since I'd been at Valleyfair, and just yesterday, was brutally reminded why.

First of all, it started raining as we drove down to Shakopee. Then it started lightning. It hasn't rained here all summer, but the day we decide to go to the amusement park, the sky opens up.

Needless to say, there are about 12 cars in the parking lot when we arrive.

None of us have brought jackets or ponchos. Becca actually thought ahead and had a hooded sweatshirt. We walk around a desolate park, dodging puddles. Nothing is open because of the lightning.

"I'm getting Mini donuts," I say. We get Mini donuts, partly because they appear to be the only place that's open, we can go inside out of the rain, and the donuts are hot and fresh. We are all cold.

"I'M SO COLD!" says Will.

"Just think," I tell him. "In a few years this whole thing will seem hysterical."

"It will only take a few years," says Becca.

He doesn't seem to believe us. He is fourteen; therefore thinks WE ARE TOTALLY STUPID.

After a few minutes it stops raining. After 20 minutes the threat of lightning seems to have passed. We line up at the Renegade roller coaster with the other fifteen people in the park. The phone rings and the park attendant receives the call from either the supervisor or God himself that it is okay to let the people on.

A few minutes later we are screaming our fool heads off and getting whiplash. I'm sitting next to Becca as she whimpers, "I'm hurt, I'm hurt, I'm hurt."

We spend the day stuffing crap in our mouths and then going on engineered devices that do their best to force said crap back up from our stomachs.

The day turns out to be very nice, and it is even better because there is no wait for the rides. Most of the time you spend half your day in line for rides. One year at Great America, I waited in line for 3 hours for the Batman ride. It was totally worth it, too.

The last ride we went on was Steel Venom; a roller coaster where your feet dangle freely and the track goes back and forth shooting you forward up into a twisting vertical before flying back and then up the back end. The second pass through when we reached the hilt before falling back there was a shuddering, stuttering, jerking noise that rattled the car and sounded like every nut and bolt was about to explode off the track.

So I said what any normal person would say when they think they are about to hurtle 100 feet to the ground in a hideous disaster that will be broad casted on the evening news and replayed ad nauseum on youtube.


It's nice to know what my last words will be.

It's also nice to know that the nice family in the seats ahead of us also know, and that their young daughter learned a new vocabulary word.

I found out later from Will that it was part of the ride experience, you know, to make it more EXCITING.

There's really nothing exciting about wetting your pants.

We left after that, and we looked the way people usually do after a day of fun-filled excitement: like boat people who've escaped Guantanamo.

I'll be ready to go back in another five.

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