Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cyclone Seller

I turned 40 in January of 2009. Right before my big party Kath called me up and said, "Don't read your email until we get there!"

So I didn't.

She and Alex gave me a promise for my 40th. It involved fancy pizza from a place in Coney Island, a Brooklyn Cyclones game and a ride on Brooklyn's world famous historic roller coaster, the Cyclone, which I had never ridden.

Last summer we ended up going to a ball game but we had the dogs with us and Alex couldn't meet us until later so we thought we'd split up the gift and have another night of just delicious pizza and delectable terror. Kath, however, is not a woman who does things by half measures so I got the whole package on Tuesday night. (Dude, I totally owe you a baseball game.)

The pizza was indeed amazing. We ate it outside the ball park and there wasn't a crumb left when we were done. Alex had acquired us some killer seats, just barely to the left behind home plate. We had a beer and some cracker jacks and took pictures with the mascots and I saw someone successfully charge the plate for the first time. Go Cyclones!

It was a school night so, with the Cyclones ahead, we ducked out after the 7th inning and shook our fists at the parking gods until something opened up near the Cyclone. Kath and I went in, and we read the frightening warnings (secure your glasses, it said, so we rode blind) and got all buckled in by the nice young men whispering "roll your neck, remember to breathe."

The Cyclone is a "high impact" ride. It's a wooden roller coaster built in the early part of the 20th century and it whips you around like nobody's business. I've never felt anything like it. I warned Kath that the first hill up would be where I'd be most freaked out and that I might start babbling. I thought I was doing OK until I confessed that being someone who rides the Cyclone is just the kind of person I wished I was and thanked her for helping me to become that elusive person. Operation No Babble: Epic Fail! But at least I babbled the truth.

On the first descent, which is nearly 90 degrees, I'm pretty sure my bladder changed places with my stomach. Seriously, it felt as though all my internal organs were suspended in mid-air while my neck was wrenched down toward my sternum. In a good way.

And I actually don't mean that last bit at all sarcastically.

It's the kind of ride that's so epic and bizarre and surreal that just letting go seems your only, quite enjoyable, option. At the top of the biggest slopes Kath would remind me "Take in your breath. Loosen your neck." but other than that we just screamed as happily and crazily and fully as we possibly could. I simply opened my mouth and let it all out. Except the pizza. I kept the pizza. Too good to give up.

You get an option for a reduced fare re-ride when you come down but I just didn't think that my neck or my misplaced bladder or my soul could take it. I was still sort of scared I'd done the whole thing though I was also indescribably happy. My legs were weak and wobbly and I was flushed and I couldn't stop laughing. Not giggling, more guffaws and bellows of this giddy, crazy-person laughter.

So Kath caught this one perfect photo of that feeling and then Alex drove us all home.

*All photos courtesy of Kath and her magical little Canon.


  1. The last picture (taken after the ride) says it all. Pure Happy bliss.

  2. WOW! Happy birthday AGAIN!

    You're a braver woman than I. I don't think that the roller coaster ride would have wrung happy from me; I don't do well with abject terror. I'm so glad you had a good time, though, and I'm grinning for the fun you had.

  3. Hahahaha, you look the way I felt when I got off the Giant Dipper in Santa Cruz. It was built in the same era as the Cyclone, and has the same capability to swap internal organs and spin one's brainmeats. :)

  4. Oh! I'm smiling because I feel like I shared the ride with you! What a wonderful evening!

  5. I love your 40th birthday with all of my heart. I love Alex and Kath. and I love oh man. Well played, doll. well played!

  6. Love that last pic :) And the cyclone was my first ever roller coaster, ridden during a once-in-a-childhood visit to nyc when I was about 13. I still remember the bone-jarring and utterly terrifying ride ... Great America seemed tame after that. When you're genuinely not sure if the track is going to disintegrate or not it really adds to the fears!

  7. You know what else I love about this??? there are photos of YOU in it. You're always BEHIND the camera so I never get to see you. Once again, Thanks Kath! You just look sooooo joyful. and that makes me sooooo happy!

  8. Fuck yeah, CYCLONE FTW!! That little Canon SX200 is indeed the bomb; I'm rarely without it. You are my *most adventurous* friend, so I was seriously surprised you had never ridden this monster before. Gotta say, my neck still hurts, dammit. Getting old sucks.

  9. My neck was almost fully recovered and then I spent 2 hours in the dentist's chair today.