He said, "Write what your thoughts would be if you went on the new water slide at Schlitterbahn."
Background Part One: Schlitterbahn is a water park in Kansas City, Kansas. Or SchluckerBuns if you're my brother in law [who has a knack for not pronouncing anything right-- he often calls me Chelsea because he actually called me that once after having known me for at least 3/4 years and being married to my sister for at least 2. Chelsea. ShluckerBuns. Whatever]. This summer they are unveiling their new monster water slide VERRUCKT. The tallest water slide in the world. Let me repeat that: the tallest water slide IN.THE.WORLD. We live in a big world, people. And it's the tallest water slide in it.
Background Part Two: I freak out on roller coasters and normal sized water slides/rides. Freak out. Like a little child.
Okay. Now for my thoughts if I were ever crazy enough to get on Verruckt [which keeps having a postponed open date due to SAFETY!].
I step onto the concrete. I've no doubt been dared for this, my maiden voyage, on the world's tallest water slide. The price was steep. The person who made the bet with me has offered to pay off my remaining student loans. Yes, there is that much left to pay that I'm willing to risk my life.
But half way up the SEVEN STORIES of metal stairs my knees begin to buckle and I think that being indebted to Northwestern College is a far better idea than it has ever been before. My lunch is rumbling in my stomach, which is bared to the world. Only at water parks are we willing to surround ourselves with a thousand other people while in our underwear. But now, in this moment, I know why. Because water parks are evil masterminds and they just want us to live out the proverbial nightmare where we are in our underwear in front of a crowd of people. I would rather live out that nightmare a hundred times over than take one more step up this monstrosity designed in the name of fun.
With only two flights of stairs left, I realize I can't turn back. I could maybe parachute off the side, but I can't turn back. And I forgot my parachute. So I start reminding the people with me that I googled "Verruckt" last night: it is German for mad, crazy, lunatic, freaky, insane…I could go on but they are laughing at me. Loudly. So I stop talking and grip the metal rail tighter and tighter despite my germaphobia about doing so in public places such as this.
I will my jello legs to keep moving. Actually the crowd is pushing me forward against my will and soon I'm at the top. I can see the other people loading into the rafts. I wish I would have brought my cell phone with me so I could call and make sure my will was in order-- will my daughters be in good hands if their parents die on this stupid ride? Because we're going to. It's a fact. It's going to happen.
And then the sunburned teenager who got turned down at McDonald's who is supposed to know how to save my life but doesn't even look like he knows how to drive let alone administer CPR is telling me to step in the raft. "Step in the raft please, ma'am." To make matters worse he just ma'am'ed me…while I'm in my swimming suit.
The people who are supposed to be my friends have to pull me into the tube. I nearly throw up in its mesh-lined bottom. I begin frantically searching for a buckle, a harness, a PARACHUTE! But there are only thin strips of nylon to hold on to. Nothing to tie around me? Nothing to secure me to this ride? Nothing to keep me from going airborn a million, gazillion feet up and plummeting to my swimsuit clad death?
I shouldn't have put on sunscreen because my hands are slippery and I can't get a good grip. Do I sit cross legged? Straight out? Do I lock arms with my buddy? Why is the teenager twirling that stupid whistle around and not telling me all of the rules. I NEED TO KNOW ALL THE RULES! NOW! Immediately! I have approximately 2.3 seconds before you shove me to my demise and all you can do is twirl your whistle!?!
And the shove.
And my world goes black for a moment.
Then I hear a sound. It is other worldly. It is animal-like and yet strangely familiar. It is piercing and shrill.
It is me. I am making that noise. I don't dare open my eyes because I know, I just intuitively know that I am somewhere over the rainbow. SchluckerBuns has been my death. I am soaring through the clouds and will splat at any moment.
What was that? Water? Is it raining up here in the clouds where this beast has ejected me? And then I feel it. Someone is nudging me in the rib. I know it is Jesus.
I slowly open my eyes. I am the only one left in the raft, my knuckles white around the nylon grips. My group is out on the pavement already. I assess them one by one: arms and legs all seem to be attached to their bodies at proper angles, and their necks are remarkably standing upon their shoulders supporting their heads.
It is like a fog is being lifted. There seems to be a strident sound all around me. Very slowly images and sounds come into focus.
And people are shouting at me. What are they saying? It's like I'm waking up slowly from a dream.
"GET OUT OF THE RAFT, KELSEY! THE NEXT ONE IS COMING!" Oh.
Like a newborn foal, I weeble and wobble my way to to pool's edge and will my war-worn body out of the water.
"Never ever ever EVER again," I tell my cohorts.
But somehow we're already up three of the seven flights of stairs again.
all images courtesy of google
but seriously, how do you survive this?