Thursday, August 9, 2012

Roller coaster writing inspiration

My two daughters and I were on the Goliath at Six Flags, a ride where the track is above you and virtually impossible to see most of the time.  We were only three riding in a row that holds four, so a single rider joined us at the end of the row.  He was an older guy, in his late forties, a hefty paunch.  He couldn't get the safety belt to latch on his overhead harness, so the ride attendant shoved down hard and crammed the belt in.  It seemed to latch, and so the ride began its ascent to the apex.

As you might have guessed, the guy's belt was not properly latched in place.  As we rode slowly, inexorably up to the point of being dropped down into the initial swoop-loop of the ride, the guy started screaming and freaking out because his belt wasn't latched.  My daughter kept trying to talk to him, telling him it was okay, the harness was locked in place, the belt was just a safety precaution, but she couldn't break through his panic.

Fear of death and that most magical of substances called adrenaline gives people reserves of strength that they never thought possible.  After trying several times and screaming at the top of his lungs "Stop! Stop the ride!", The guy was able to pull down hard enough on his overhead harness to click the safety belt in place.  He got it latched right at the point that the ride began its 80 mile-an-hour descent into face-smashing quadruple g-force thrills.

I spent the entire ride watching this man in macabre fascination, wondering if his safety belt would come loose, wondering if he would be flung from the ride to his death like a teenager in one of those "Final Destination" films.  I didn't want it to happen, but I was unable to look away for the anticipation of it.  It was like watching Jerry Springer, you really don't wanna see it, but once its there on TV, your eye is drawn in with an irresistible magnetic pull (well...thats how it is for me anyway...I can't speak for everyone else).

I vow to myself here and now that I will find a way to work this into a scene in one of my novels, because life truly is stranger than fiction.

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