Driving by the Peterborough Exhibition after work today conjured up memories of a time I would prefer to let go from my vast collection of childhood stories. The contraption of certain horror that caught my attention was the spiraling death trap with lights that starts horizontal than proceeds to propel itself in a vertical fashion whilst spinning at mock 900.
I was once a young innocent boy who traveled to an amusement park with his family for fun, music and terrible carney food. Six Flags Darien Lake, had one of those terrifying rides that I was taunted for not wishing to ride. I believe it was aptly named “UFO”, which if it had become unhinged, would certainly mimic said description! I eventually succumbed to the pressures of my youth and made my way to the line….which in hindsight was terribly short, and should have instantly thrown the proverbial red flag, however, I did not make that connection. As I chose my standing post (yes it was a standup ride), I secured my shoulder harness, adjusted my seat, began to recite the Lord’s prayer and observed my surroundings. Standing in the cage directly across from me, stood a rather hefty women, whom I can only assume was a lovely lady with a beautiful personality, yet after our experience on the UFO, our paths did not cross again, for eye contact may have been difficult and rather awkwardly embarrassing.
With a hellish noise like a pack of a thousand ravenous hyenas on the scent of a limp gazelle on the plains of the Serengeti, the nightmare of a ride began to spin. Slow at first, to accommodate it’s occupants and tease the weakest of riders, the speed, volume and my seat began to elevate….yes, my seat began to elevate, the locking mechanism was somehow faulty, causing the seat to steadily rise and encroach on my most sensitive of man parts, eventually causing such pressure that my heels involuntarily began to lift. As you can imagine, this was only complicated by the eventual progression to a vertical state, to which each rotation summons the immovable, hard plastic seat ever so tightly against my loins. If this experience was not bad enough, remember the lovely lady across from me?!? As the rotation of the UFO crept towards an unimaginable and unthinkable pace, I caught the eye of the above mentioned women…the eye is singular as her other was sealed shut by the contents of the stomach of the individual beside her. Her calm, sensible and feminine demeanor changed to a grotesque, nauseous Ursula the Sea Witch from Little Mermaid. At this point it seemed that although our velocity was that of the Apollo shuttles, time suddenly came to a halt, and all my fears were realized in one moment. Pain, suffering, fear, doubt…questioning all my current life choices in that moment.
However, as quick as it started, the UFO began to slow… The cycle of certain tragedy and sadness had begun its decent back to a horizontal state, with speeds steadily decreasing, nauseous green faces returning to a lighter shade of normal, and the volume decreasing to a soft hum of breaks gripping tighter to halt the spinning beast of the apocalypse. At this point my lower torso and legs were completely numb, I can only imagine similar to the effects of a spinal epidural. As I gingerly and awkwardly made my way toward the exit like a newborn giraffe taking its first steps, I realized this experience will forever be etched in the deep parts of my psyche and will cause anxiety whenever I encounter a ride of such demonic manifestation. The physical, emotional and mental discomfort of that ride clearly has lasting effects to this day!
So what is my point with this story? other than the entertaining value of my unfortunate circumstances I have found myself in? Well as you are now well aware at this point (if you have been reading my previous blogs), I tend to be able to pull analogies out of ridiculous scenarios. It may be the product of being the son of a preacher man (thanks Dad)…I think I might start a side business selling sermon ideas to preachers who are stuck for their Sunday sermon (idea patent pending)?!?
Life seems to flow in cycles. I have found myself stuck in some vicious circles of poor choices, of negative thought patterns, and unhealthy habits of poor nutrition, terrible sleep patterns and poor self talk. But what is worse, is being stuck in situations, relationships or big life cycles that cause perpetual pain and suffering. Save You, a song by one of my favorite artists (yes I have a few), Matthew Perryman Jones, has the line
“Something’s gotta Break, you gotta swing the bat Too many years of dying, Why is that?” – Save You – video https://youtu.be/PnGNWFV6Rak
The song is called “Save You”, about broken relationships and what should be done to save someone from hurt and pain. It hits pretty hard, as with most relationships (friends, family, business, etc), sometimes difficult choices have to be made to break cycles of destruction. How long do we stay in destructive, painful, exhausting, negative relationships before something has to give?!? There does come a time that these negative cycles need to be broken. We may try for years to mend a relationship, to keep a job because we feel its needed, to hold on tight to someone who just wants to hurt us. There may be times that we have caused someone pain by our choices, whether intentional or not, and sometimes reasoning, debating and trying to explain may simply fall on deaf ears. So as much as it hurts, we might have to swing a bat and destroy something that has meant so much to us with the intent of putting an eventual end to the immediate pain.
Obviously this will not bring ultimate relief, as there is terrible sadness, grief, and loss for a long time. We always bear the emotional and mental scars of past hurts and past negative cycles, but I truly believe there is hope to move past the hurt; learning, growing and eventually becoming better versions of what we are. So maybe to save someone, or to save yourself, the cycle has to be broken for the future to be better, brighter, slower, and to eventually get off the ride that has been so painful for what seems so long.