Roller Coasters with Evaline

It’s one of our favorite things to do: blow off the day and go to Six Flags.

For me, it’s a way to remember I’m alive, that I’m in control of my destiny, and that I value fun, awakedness, and spontaneity more than the other stuff.

For her… well, I’m not sure what it’s about. She’s 16. We haven’t talked about it. “Fun” is probably a good enough reason in itself.

But after the Superman ride, a sad thing happened to me: I got dizzy. It was probably that backward twisting part. I was more nauseous than I let on. Getting older. Man, I’d rather have bad knees than a weak stomach. At least for this kid.

(But I guess I need the knees for the other one, so….)

We’d only been there an hour.

What’s a dad to do when they’re nauseous and dizzy from a roller coaster, but go on another roller coaster? And another. The heart never makes logical decisions.

After a while, my Dad Power waned.

“Nah, you go. I’ll wait here.”

Awful words to say.

Evaline took the single-rider line and I talked to the teenage attendant, who really couldn’t be bothered. Small talk… Really old man?

But we had fun in the in-between moments. And there’s a lot of those at Six Flags. Waiting for the attendant to let you through, waiting for the dolphins to show up, walking all the way across the park to get to the good rides, looking at sharks, eating ice cream, searching for a cool spot in the shade.

The trick with teenagers is to not ask too many questions, to not use the time but to enjoy it. Even when your head is spinning and your girl is going to college in 2 years.

Standing in line waiting for the tram, I counted the rides we went on.

1, 2, 3… 4? We drove all the way up for 4 rides?!

I looked over at Evaline who was balancing herself on the handrail, her bare legs almost touching the ground. Was she doing the same calculation: dividing the fun by the work and scoffing at the remainder?

I got my answer on the tram ride.

While I was concentrating on staring straight ahead so I wouldn’t throw up, she slouched down in her seat and put her head on my shoulder. Kept it there for most of the ride, which is an awkward position for a girl who is 5′ 11″.

I guess it’s not just about fun.

And I guess I’m not the only one who’s getting older.

Some calculations always add up.