Rides for grownups and overpriced donuts

13 August 2014

It's just two weeks and three days remaining until September begins again, and I will try to challenge myself to write a blogpost every day for the remaining days of August. Here's the cipher... and the plaintext.

Just a couple of days ago, I went to the Saskatoon Exhibition, a yearly 5-day event in August where the Prairieland Park is filled with shops and food stores and midway rides. I wasted $103 on a Friday, and because this is the fifth year in which I have went, I got pretty tired of all the rides.

It's way more colourful at night.
One of the rides I went to was something called the Alpine Bobs. It was a staple of the midway: swinging cars going up and down a circular track at high speed. I could close my eyes and imagine that this is what the Olympic bobsledders feel, except that this ride, it's got more bumps.

At the time, I was thinking about how stupid I was to spend such a ridiculous amount of money on rides that I pretty much went on for the past four years, and how I dared to go here despite the fact that school is fast approaching and I should save more money for books and other grown-up stuff.

So I started to philosophize.

I was making life metaphors while on this ride.
I was on the ride, and as it whoozed me across the alpine bob track, going up and down and around and around as it throws centripetal forces against my body, I tried my hardest to avoid bumping into the hard plastic chassis of the car I am in. I was struggling against it, trying hard not to hit myself against any hard surface, until I just stopped, and let go.

I let myself be taken for the ride, bracing for the hard turns and the violent motions of the ride. And surprisingly, it wasn't that bad. 

It got me thinking: if only I also just went with all the violent motions and sudden sharp turns that my life right now is throwing at me, that I stop resisting and just sail through all these... turbulence, it wouldn't be as violent and harmful as I originally thought them to be.

Because from the queue line, the ride seems harsh and cruel and unforgiving. It is once you step on the ride that you realize... how fun it actually is. Eventually, a teenage girl's horrified screams of nervousness and terror eventually becomes peals of laughter and enjoyment. Because that's pretty much how the ride, much like life, is supposed to be taken: horrifying, but when you look back at it, you'll smile and think, "I can't believe I just survived all that!"

And of course the rapid motions and sudden turns are necessary, to make a ride more exciting. Who wants to go on a ride that just moves you back and forth? It's gotta have to thrash around, it's gotta have to drop you from a hundred feet, it's gotta whirl and tilt and spin and swing to make it a ride worth 6 tickets, of course.

Similarly, who wants to live a life that's just humdrum and drudgery? It's gotta have panache, of course. it's gotta have risk and love and friendship and heartbreak and betrayal and success to make a life worth living. 

And no matter how violent the ride is, when it's all over, you'll look back... at all the memories, all the hurt, all the thrashing and whirling and spinning and tilting that you've experienced so far, and you'll smile. Because you've survived all that, and you're ready to survive a lot more.

So then you go to the next queue line, and when it's your turn, you buckle up... and enjoy the ride.

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