Emily's Off, and So Is My Stomach

This Friday, Emily left for a four week stint with our relatives in New York. Her absence leaves a noticeable void in our family — not only because we have to remember to count to three instead of four when we’re tallying little heads (we’ve actually taken to borrowing a kid from a friend so as to make this easier for us), but also because of her unique gifts and contributions to the texture of our family life.

On Tuesday I took her for a day-long trip to Fiesta Texas, the Six Flags theme park in San Antonio. We had planned on a Tuesday so that crowds would be light, and the weather cooperated as well; though we got rained on a bit in the morning, the sky was generally more menacing than it was actually stormy. As a result, we never spent more than 10 minutes in line for anything, and several of the ride operators offered us the chance to stay on rides once our first go-round was complete.

Unfortunately, the trip has made it abundantly clear to me that I have become that most sad of creatures: a former roller coaster fan. Though I still have a tremendous appreciation of the engineering and design that goes into these enormous thrill rides, I find actually riding them to be less and less appealing as time goes on. My stomach has gotten weaker over time, and I find myself more often tottering off of the trains trying to regain my equilibrium than exulting in the fantastic experience.

Emily, however, has picked up the slack for me. She rode every one of the big coasters in the park (with the exception of the Rattler, which was closed when we got to the head of the line for lightning — imaginary as far as we could tell) and loved them without fail. She also got a big kick out of the spinny carnival rides which nauseated me simply to watch. (The thing that finally did me in Tuesday was The Frisbee: a giant spinning disk that swings on the end of a huge arm, providing for its riders all the fun I would imagine a Martini enjoys as it’s being mixed.)

So the torch is passed to another generation, and I’m sitting with my laptop, enjoying the vicarious thrill of Roller Coaster Tycoon.