05 October 2007

You are on the clock

I am not afraid to admit that I have a fear of something. However, I am deathly afraid of Space Mountain. I love Rock ‘n’ rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith, and Tower of Terror, and especially Expedition Everest. My favorite ride in all of the Magic Kingdom is Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. All of these are roller coasters. And yet the minute I see the spires of Space Mountain from the monorail, I get shivers up and down my spine and my stomach sinks. It is irrational and silly, but then again, most fears are.

Most people don’t know why they are terrified of certain things, they just know that they always have been. I wish that were the case here, but, unfortunately for me, I can trace my fear of Space Mountain all the way back to a moment when I was four or five. I finally met the height requirement set by Walt Disney World, I had always wanted to go on this ride because my dad had always come out with a huge grin. Looking back, I never understood why my mother didn’t want to ride in a rocket roller coaster. My dad kept asking if I wanted to ride on Space Mountain, and telling me how much fun it would be. My mother was more cautious, and spoke about how maybe I should wait. Wait, schmait, I wanted on that bad boy, especially because it was something my dad did.

You wouldn’t think you could pull up a memory so vividly that happened over two decades ago, but I can. I can remember the tunnel, and I can remember being strapped in beneath my dad, back in the old cars before you had to ride in a seat all by yourself, and I can remember the exact thoughts in my head. “Why did I say yes,” “is it over,” and of course the classic “I want mommy.”

After the shear terror of the ride, I bravely walked out to my mom and sister and told them how much fun it was. My dad, the proud papa he was at having such a cool son, asked if I wanted to go again. It was at the moment I clutched my mother’s hand and said that I didn’t want to. The moment passed, and we moved on to other attractions like the WEDway Peoplemover and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. I didn’t step foot on Space Mountain again for over twenty years.

There were times I tried, but I couldn’t do it. I would walk down the tunnel, stare into the windows with the magnified stars, walk out onto the loading platform, and immediately start to cry and walk out. It took my fiancée promising me that I’d be fine before I would even attempt it. She sat right behind me last year, and laughed the entire time I screamed. Not a thrilled, I love this ride scream, no, these were the primal screams of a child who knows he is going to die. I guess the old saying is true, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

I tried riding Space Mountain again last weekend, it was only the third occasion in my life, this time with my father, the same man who had introduced me my nightmare all those years ago, and guess what? I still hate it.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Everyone has their fears. My 8 year old doesn't seem to like rides that are overly bumpy. He dislikes Space Mountain, as well.

But we go on!

Personally, I can't ride the pirate ships that swing upside down. Never have, never will.