You know what I love about amusement parks? Besides the roller coasters and the sticky cotton candy fingers and of course, Dip ‘n Dots…the feeling. The feeling you get when you’re walking up to the entrance and you’re already hot as hell. It’s that ‘sh*t, I paid too much for this’ feeling, that ‘maybe..I should just forget this’ feeling, that ‘oh boy this is really happening’ feeling and that ‘I can’t wait!’ feeling. It’s the mix of all the above… You’re not sure what the heck you’re feeling you just know you feel alive.
You walk through the security gates. There’s a hint of nervousness, because let’s be honest, you probably snuck in a water bottle or a small snack since the food is overpriced and you’re trying to keep your diet. They don’t notice the 100 calorie pack of cookies under your swimsuit bottoms–you’re free to go. But not for long. You haven’t as much as straightened out your tank top before they’re harassing you for a group picture. You figure this is probably the best you’ll look all day, so you say why not, arms around the shoulders of your significant other, trying to pretend you don’t feel the sweat dripping down his back.
They give you a little ticket to hang on to, harassing you about buying a card to hold all your pictures on for the rest of the day. You say no, you find someone somewhat reliable and ask them for a camera phone pic, one you don’t have to pay $15 for. Another sweaty embrace and you’re on your way, already looking for the next hot dog stand to get a cup of water.
You start walking and the feeling sets in. Suddenly you’re eight years old again. On your left is a ring toss game. No one ever wins those, but you love the sound of the rings hitting the glass bottles so you slow down and watch. You start thinking…if you buy a bucket of rings you’ll win it, you’ll be the one to actually do it, right? Something about amusement parks makes you feel invincible.
The next game over is a throwing game–you throw an air-filled baseball at a hard plastic plate and you get one of those god awful stuffed bananas. You’re probably a better thrower than a tosser; there’s a few shattered plates littering the matted carpet of the game so you figure you’ll have a better shot. You consider it for later…rides always come first. But you’ll be back.
There’s that feeling again. You remember being eight, licking sticky chocolate off your fingertips, your mother running after you with a bottle of hand sanitizer, warning you of bacteria and cancer and pneumonia. You smell the funnel cakes, they take you back to neighborhood fair days and the fourth of July driving home in a candy coma. You find your hand intertwined with your boyfriend’s, your arm beginning to swing back and forth like a little girl’s. You’ve reverted back to the easy days, the young days. Nothing wrong with that.
You start skipping, start smiling at the sun. You have that feeling again–that amusement park feeling. You’re a child again, not thinking of commitments, deadlines, decisions. For the next few hours you can lick melted Dip ‘N Dots from the edge of a plastic cup, throw your hands in the air as the wind blows your hair back, and just be.