There was a period of time when I was a young ‘n where my family and my Aunt’s family (on my father’s side) visited the water themed amusement park known as Action Park. (In 1998, under new ownership, the name changed to Mountain Park.) Not only was Action Park notorious for its concentration of rednecks, it was also known for its dangerous water slides.
But if there is one thing I remember most about Action Park it’s the fact that many of its patrons spent a lot of time skinning themselves on the alpine slide for not following the rules, consuming so much booze they’d end up in bloody brawls in line for the 18-and-over race track, or dying on one of the new slides that may have sounded like a good idea at the time but proved deadly in the end.
Having watched Cops on more than one occasion, I know that rednecks fear very little. Couple that innate fearlessness with booze, and you have yourself one anarchy ridden water park. I think the only humbling aspect for many of the patrons was the fact that throwing down with a man neighbor wearing nothing more than a bathing suit sat a little too close to gay. I think it was the swim trunks that thwarted more fights from breaking out. But unless threatened with The Gay, rednecks fear very little.
Sadly, as entertaining they may be, the rednecks of Action Park aren’t the reason I’m writing today.
The other group of people who loved Action Park was the kids. Generally speaking, the kids enjoyed the smaller, less deadly of water slides. We enjoyed the tubing ride, the wave pool, the bumper boats, and the fresh mountain air. Usually (especially because of my plethora of ear problems), I stuck to the smaller stuff. But there was this one time my cousins talked me into getting on the underground water slide. They used words like “chicken!” and “bwock bwock bwock!”. The underground water slide was horrifying. Of course the more horrifying the water slide, the longer the line of rednecks. This was a slide where an Action Park employee pulled out a giant hose and doused each person with ice cold water in order to lube up the body for the next 1.5 minutes of pure horror as they flew face/feet/ass/whatever arm down and into complete blackness. And that wasn’t all. At the end of that horrifying decent, the person dropped out of the circular underground tube and free-fell ten feet into an ice-cold mountain spring. Talk about breathlessness. Talk about horror. Talk about pure humiliation.
So, picture this: At least a one-hour line stocked with drunk rednecks. Disgruntled park employees. Hose filled with ice-cold water. Underground water slide. PITCH BLACKNESS. Water up the nose, in the eyes, up the ass. No idea which way you had turned. 10-foot drop into an ice-cold mountain spring as friends, family and total strangers stood on a bridge to watch you fall.
I’m sure it comes as no surprise to you to know that I came out screaming. And I didn’t come out gracefully either. I had turned every which way but straight. By the time it was my turn to fall, my arms were flailing, my eyes were open, my nose was covered in snot, and I may have even shit myself. I was terrified. And it’s a good thing I fell into water; my tears were given a place to hide.
I’m not a very smart girl and I was an even dumber kid, which is why it probably won’t surprise anyone to know that with another heavy douse of taunting, I got back in line a second time for that very same water slide. It’s just that my cousins were really good at taunting. They could tease me into doing anything. So I got back in line with them and the countless number of rednecks and worked myself into an absolute frenzy. And hour later, when it was finally our turn to drop, I told them to go ahead of me. I told them I needed to make sure my earplugs were in. And then I faced the guy with the hose. He looked at me with unforgiving eyes.
“Hurry up!” He blurted out. “There’s a line.”
“Ummmm” I muttered.
“Come on, kid. I ain’t got all day.”
I remembered what it had been like the first time and asked myself, “What good came come of this?”
The guy became more and more irritated as did the line of hairy, bloated rednecks behind me. “Come on, kid!” He said with a nastier tone.
“NO.” I said. “I’m not gonna do it. I changed my mind.”
“What do you mean you changed your mind? You can’t change your mind! There’s no where else to go!”
“I don’t care. I’m not going.”
“Well, then you have to go back the way you came!”
And so I did. I walked right back through that long line of kids and rednecks, head down, dry as can be. I had changed my mind.
On Tuesday night Tobyjoe and I had our second Lamaze class. It was four hours long. We went over breathing techniques. We went over what will happen that day, labor, and how long each phase of labor can last. We went over pooping during labor, the afterbirth, breastfeeding, and some more breathing techniques. We went over everything having to do with natural childbirth. After we were done listening to the registered nurse, we asked questions. After we were done asking questions, we watched a video featuring several different women going through all three stages of labor. After we watched all three stages of labor, we watched a woman go through natural childbirth. I was in the fetal position sucking my own thumb by the time it was over. Holy shit, people, giving birth appears to be nothing other than terrifying.
So, I’m writing this today to say that I know I have been standing in line for the past 8 months and I know it sounded exciting at first. But I don’t care how many women have done this before me and how many of those women have gone back for seconds (and more).
What I’m trying to say is, “NO. I’m not gonna do it. I changed my mind.”