Saturday, September 8, 2012
Comfort Zones and Having Fun
You'd think after six years of dating we'd find a way for it to feel pretty proziac, but there's a lot of the commonplace we still haven't done. As it happened, last week my city also played host to the Exhibition, with its midway entertainments, rides, games, and, well, exhibits! I haven't been to an exhibition since I was a kid (which implies I'm not still a kid, I suppose), and therefore, it seemed like a better than perfect way to spend the afternoon.
Thing is, I'm something of a homebody. Since I stopped riding it daily to get to the high school, even the bus has begun to make me a little motion sick some days. If you combine a general dislike of new experiences with a predilection to minor motion sickness and a general hatred of crowds, you're going to start to understand why I sometimes need to think things through a little better.
Our first ride was the Ferris Wheel, an old favourite of mine, largely because it is predictable and I have a reasonably healthy understanding of the engineering forces involved and just what it would take for something to actually happen. It had rained a few hours before, and while people were starting to arrive again, the park was mostly empty. It made the ride very smooth, and I learned that Kat doesn't like Ferris Wheels. We watched some divers doing improbable things across the parkway, and I felt secured, somewhat, by Kat's anxiety. If we're both nervous, this could actually be a lot of fun.
As it turned out, the only thing that bothered Kat about Ferris Wheels was the vertigo she gets from heights. She rides amusement park rides like a boss. The first night I got pushed beyond my limits relatively early and I think that disappointed her. To this day, I don't begin to understand how she could handle the ride that shattered me considering her own anxieties and foibles, but that's neither here nor there.
The point of this story was that I still went back the next day. If anything, the next day should have been worse - it was hotter, the crowds were bigger, my proverbial blood sugar was low, and all told in the end I was predisposed to having a bad time... but I didn't. True, we rode different rides (except the Ferris Wheel, where we watched the sun set), but I actually had a blast. For one thing, I'd had a second look at the rides. I started to understand the forces that were actually at play (as opposed to the forces that felt like they were in play). On ride that looked rather tame was actually quite stomach-churning, whereas another, which looked like it would be frustrating, was actually very enjoyable and little more than being thrown around a nine-point star. I believed I described that one as trying to escape a frozen surface while being bungee-corded to the centre... and someone gives you a strong push.
In the end, what it really was was that I left my comfort zone and had fun. I'm already looking forward to doing it all again next year.