Boy, winter came soon this year. It only got to the mid-forties today, weather-wise. But there was rain and lots of dark clouds, and plenty of chills.
I mention that because, years ago, my buddy Jeff and I (along with his younger son and my niece) went to the amusement park up north right before Halloween, and went on rides, then on to the various haunted houses the park had assembled (there were probably three or four). Jeff speaks of that often, and since moving to Germany, hadn't been able to do that, but since he was here in October this year, we made it a point to at least try to get up there one day.
And today was the only day it would work out for his whole family (he's got three kids, now all grown, and a new daughter-in-law). Unfortunately, it has been cold and wet all week long, but we were determined to make a go of it, and I was happy he wanted me to come along, so I bundled myself up, and met him at his little condo (he bought it in 2017, I believe, and two of his kids still live there), so we could drive up together.
Jeff makes a lot of money, more than anyone I know, but still, this was quite an expenditure, and he mentioned early on that he was buying. A more moral person than me would have balked at that (since I'm not part of his family), but when I saw that tickets to get into the park were $75, my qualms melted away and I kept my mouth shut.
I've gone to this amusement park (about ninety minutes from my childhood home) for, I dunno, forty years or so, first going with my grandma and aunt, and while I love Disneyland more (I lived in La Mirada, California until I was three or so), it has always been a place of joy for me.
It was a cold day, especially for October, and the first two roller coasters I rode had tears running down my cheeks from the icy wind the motion caused. It could have been worse, though--it had rained the day before, and being wet would've been absolutely miserable. As it stood, I was able to walk around, stand in lines, and ride the rides without complaint . . . cold-wise, anyway.
Jeff is a pretty big dude, and there are a couple of rides he just doesn't fit on (there was also one with a weight requirement, which I had never noticed before, but he sat that one out). He is game, though, to ride anything, and his favorite ones are the rides that shoot you straight up in the air and then drop you. I have a real problem with those, and the last time the two of us went out together, I did force myself to ride it, and did not enjoy myself.
This time, though, my age was starting to show. My favorite ride as a child was the one shaped like a pendulum, that goes back and forth, producing an unusual tinging sensation in the lower stomach area. I used to be able to go on it a dozen times. But this trip, about halfway through, it stopped feeling good, and I started feeling sick instead.
We got off, I sat down for a moment, and all the kids ran off to ride a spinny ride with big swings. Jeff couldn't go on it, so he kept me company, and I looked over at the kids getting on the swings, and suddenly didn't want to miss out. I'll be okay, I thought.
I ran over and got on the swings just before it started up, and had about eight seconds of enjoyment before the motion around me did horrible things to my body. I had to spend the entire ride with my eyes tightly closed, willing myself not to throw up, and cursing myself for not sitting it out.
After that, I was pretty much screwed for the foreseeable future. I sat down, but it didn't help. I considered retching, but remembered how much Jeff had spent on lunch for everybody. I walked with the group to the next ride and sat on a bench while they went on it. The ride after that was another spinny one, so I decided to let them go on that one too without me. It was another Jeff didn't fit on, so he hung out with me, and I was feeling better, so I said we could go on the little baby coaster next to us, that children go on. He asked how nauseous I was, and I said, "Well, I was at 90% before, and now I'm down to fifteen or so."
We got on the baby coaster, and dammit, it took me back up to sixty or seventy again.
I decided I'd have to sit around now, not go on anything, until I felt completely back to normal, and that would take time. Jeff's oldest offered me a motion sickness pill, so I went back to the parking lot to get one from the car, and that killed another half hour, during which, instead of going on another ride, the group waited for me. Not sure why they did that.
They then went on the ride that shoots you into the air, while I and Jeff's daughter-in-law waited down below. Eventually, I did start feeling better, but boy, what a drag--I never got back to 0% queasy, and I skipped half a dozen rides I would've enjoyed riding.
Sit-ups Today: 100
Sit-ups In October: 1495
I tried--I really tried--to get some words written tonight, but I fell asleep, over and over again. I'd shake my head, curse myself, and type a word, and before the second word was even written, my eyes were closing again. I feel really disgusted about it, but hey, I promise to do better tomorrow.
Push-ups Today: 111
Push-ups In October: 1689
Jeff REALLY loves the haunted houses, way more even than the roller coasters and rides, and we waited until the sun went down to start going to them. There were five in all (plus two for little kids, with no scares, which we ignored, but it might have been interesting to walk through one), and I was a little bit bummed to not be scared in any way, or at any moment inside them. Part of it was that I was with a big group, every one of us but one adults, but even when I got separated from them, and this girl dressed as a vampire took me alone into a fake elevator that shook and the floor display changed, there was never that thrill of believing it was all real.
Also, we were warned at the beginning of each haunted house that none of the performers were allowed to touch us, and that we weren't to touch them either, and you know, that definitely lessens the scariness of the whole thing (Jeff's kid said there are haunted houses out there where you can sign a waiver and then the actors are allowed to touch you [which may include gropings and light beatings], but there was no such option here). My guess is that too many performers have gotten punched or fondled over the years, and us living in a global pandemic, has made this year way more strict than it was in my day.
But the biggest factor, I'm sorry to say, is that pretty much every one of these actors was a teenager or barely out of high school. And it's hard to be intimidated by a Grim Reaper whose got braces on.
On the drive home, I discovered that Box Office Mojo still has the various Genres lists we used to enjoy perusing, and I quizzed Jeff on stuff like the top ten movies in the Slasher, or Werewolf, or Prequel categories. It's the sort of fanboy intellectual pastime a couple of guys who don't get wasted or do drugs do to entertain themselves, and his son, who was also in the car with us, was probably in a personal hell. But ah well.
Finally, I sat down to record the end of "Underdecorated," and the first thing I said was, "Wow, I am so tired, I'll be lucky to get a hundred words written." Within five minutes, I was slurring my speech and doing that thing where there are long pauses in between sentences. But you know, it was the effort that counted.
Words Today: 107 (yeah, that's bad. But it's not zero. Not quite)
Words In October: 9214