Chooch’s godfather Brian and I have been out of touch for awhile, but we were messaging each other on Facebook the other night; I got all nostalgic (who, me?) and started reading old LiveJournal bullshit. I found this post from when Brian, Henry and I took Chooch to Kennywood for the first time and wanted to share because it was clearly an awful time for Henry. And those are my FAVORITE times!
Originally posted August 2006
All summer long, I have been itching to go to Kennywood, Pittsburgh’s amusement park. I kept begging Henry, telling him that it would be the long overdue present for bearing his son. My loins have burned so bright for thrill rides that I would have been happy even going to a county fair and scraping myself on the rusty bolts holding together the death traps.
Two weeks ago, I made Henry drive past Kennywood at night. There’s not much to be seen from the road, but the few glimpses of blinking lights I caught peeking from the tree tops was enough to make tears stream down my face. Henry didn’t even care.
Finally, after trying numerous times to plan the trip, only to have my mom (who proposed back in May that we should all go to Kennywood and she’ll push the baby around in his stroller while we ride) bail on us every time, Henry decided that if I could find someone stupid enough to go with us, he’d be the designated Chooch Pusher. I asked Brian, who in turn canceled a meeting and un-RSVP’d to a fiftieth birthday party.
I asked him if he would ride everything, because that was my greatest concern. Evidently, once my friends entered their twenties, they all became spinny ride-impaired. Janna once nearly puked on me at a carnival and the ride wasn’t even that thrilling.
“Oh yeah, I ride everything!” Brian insisted.
So we picked him up at his apartment at 4:30, after nearly getting creamed by a large thug in a car fleeing a fleet of cops in a high speed chase. It was so scary that it made my scalp twinge. And then Henry, a.k.a. Professional Driver, took a “short cut” through various city ‘hoods to avoid rush hour traffic. What should have been a twenty minute drive at best turned into an hour stuffed into a sedan with a crying baby in a car seat, Brian bitching, me whining from the back seat, and Henry massaging his temples.
But we finally got there around 5:30 and parked in the upper lot because we like doing things for free. The only problem with this is that there is a steep escalator that transports people to the bottom lot and I was worried about the stroller. I begged Henry to take the path that wraps around down to the bottom of the hill, but he jabbed a fat finger at the escalator sign and said, “It doesn’t say that strollers are prohibited. I’m going down!” And he did, with the back wheels of the stroller perched on a step and the front end of it teetering precariously into the air. I rested my hand on my heart and chanted, “Oh God. Oh God. Be careful! Oh God. Oh God.” I mean, I wanted Chooch’s first trip to be thrilling, but not as thrilling as fucking free falling from an escalator. I panicked with even more intensity when the man in front of Henry and Chooch reached the bottom and walked off.
“There goes our buffer!” I sighed. I figured if Henry’s stupidity sent the stroller plummeting, hitting the back of that man would soften the blow. We made it to the bottom and my blood pressure started to go down.
Most people, upon crossing the threshold of an amusement park, find themselves smiling like mainliners. I fall into that category. My chest was positively surging with excitement. I was giddy and making fun of people and bouncing on my toes. Henry and Brian looked grim.
Henry paid for all three of us to speed things along. Brian seemed touched and said, “You didn’t have to do that! I have money.” Henry gruffly answered, “I know. You can pay me back when you get change.” But you know Henry, always speaking so gruffly.
Brian noticed a sign for the Fall Fantasy Parade. Kennywood does this at the end of each season. Basically, they find the high schools with the worst bands and portliest majorettes with the eye-hand coordination of a 6-month-old and blend them all together into a giant pelvic-thrusting caboodled clusterfuck, making it nearly impossible to get anywhere in the park while it’s undulating along with the speed of a caterpillar. Brian was not happy about this. I laughed.
Chooch will be able to look back on the day when he’s older since I brought the camcorder along. He will surely hug his sides and smile at the memory of Henry barking at me to watch where I’m walking, me retorting with my signature hateful sass, and Brian oozing sarcasm from every orifice of his business casual-dressed body. Seriously, who wears a long sleeved button down shirt, slacks, and Italian leather sandals to an amusement park? BRIAN, that’s who.
As we entered the tunnel that spills you out into the park, “Straight Up” was playing over the sound system. “Oh goodie, you mean I get the Fall Fantasy Parade, Henry’s asshole haircut, and Paula Abdul all for only $9?” Brian enthused.
It was at this point that Brian decided to point out all the rides he would not be partaking in. “I won’t ride that. Or that. Oh hell nah, I’m not riding that!”
The first ride we rode was a Garfield-themed shit fest. There was a camera set up at the end, and I threw my arms up to illustrate properly my jubilation for being at Kennywood. Brian’s face sagged into a bored scowl. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get close enough to the kiosk which was showing all the pictures on monitors, because a bunch of assholes in wheelchairs had thrown their chairs into park and were just idling there, blocking the counter like a gimp armada.
Brian quickly set the mood for the evening after that ride by briskly informing me that “While your asshole boyfriend is pissing, I’m going to get food.” I stood alone, with Chooch and his stroller, looking like a lost lamb until Henry returned from the bathroom.
“Where’s Brian?” he asked. This was going to become the question of the night. “Getting food,” I gave him what was going to become the answer of the night.
Literally, Brian and I rode about five rides, maybe six, and spent most of the night standing around like assholes, getting in everyone’s way. Every time I turned around, Brian was in line to get a cheese steak or a corn dog or soft serve, and when he wasn’t in line, he was sitting at a table eating Henry’s and my cheese fries. Henry spent our rent money losing at games all night while Chooch stared at passers-by with a pissed off look.
Not amused on his first Kennywood train ride.
I was the only one in a good mood for once.
At some point, when I took over pushing the stroller, Brian joked that people likely thought he and I were the parents and Henry was the grandfather. We laughed about this sporadically through the day, and Henry would respond with a derelict “Oh, ho ho ho.” But then I also suggested that some people might have thought that Brian was our manny.
On every ride, even the train, I hugged my abdomen and wailed, “My incision! Oh holy shit, my incision!” Yes, it’s true that my C-section was four months ago, but I’ve experienced phantom incision pains ever since I healed (or have I?). It feels like tiny bees are stinging me along my battle wound. Those tiny sweat bees.
Actually, my incision neuroses run so deep that I would have to make a separate entry just for that topic alone, so let’s move on.
Things took a turn for the worse in line for the Racer when I mistakenly told Brian that Henry had said we were fucked up. See, Brian and I are weight-obsessed and we bought into the whole ephedra revolution with our entire bodies and souls. You can’t put Brian and I together without one of us eventually lamenting the ban on ephedra. “All because one asshole baseball player had to go and die because of it!” we’ll scoff in disgust. So Brian came up with a solution: We will live in Japan for six months and lose weight on their legal ephedra and then come back home and point and laugh at all the people who buy ephedra-free diet pills. Seriously, you don’t hear about the Japanese OD’ing on ephedra, do you?
Naturally, Henry’s response to this plan was, “No wonder why you and Brian are friends–you’re both fucked up.”
When I told this to Brian, he became really bothered. “Oh, I’m fucked up, am I?” I couldn’t tell if his surly disposition was in jest or if he was really hating on Henry, because we were in line for a roller coaster and he suddenly blurted out, “Where’d that motherfucker go?”
“Who?” I asked, confused.
“Your asshole boyfriend. You know, someone ought to tell him to shave that beard. He looks like shit. That motherfucker.” And so for the next three hours, every time Henry would suggest something, like walking to another part of the park, Brian would retort with, “Why, I don’t know Henry. I might be too fucked up to walk over there.”
Brian eludes Kennywood’s spell of enchantment and slouches in misery. Also, I think he burned through all his cash on food by this point..
After exiting the Thunderbolt later that evening, I saw the buffer guy from the escalator standing there. I excitedly tugged on Brian’s arm and whispered, “Look! It’s Buffer!”
“Who?!” Brian asked, looking around wildly. I tried to suppress giggles as I reminded him who Buffer was. “Oh. That guy. I wasn’t aware that we had labeled him.” I ran over to where Henry and Chooch were waiting and pointed out Buffer to Henry, too.
And then I saw him later when we were seated at a picnic table and I had the perfect opportunity to stalk him through my camera.
I wanted to go on the new ride (the SwingShot
), but Henry and Brian laughed when they saw it. “That’s obnoxious. You can go on that while I go on the swings,” and with that, Brian left me standing there dumbly. I was so mad because I didn’t want to ride alone, but it was too late for me to ride the asshole swings with Brian. I stood there with my lip out and became even more outraged every time Brian swung past us. “He’s not even smiling or laughing! Look at him, he’s expressionless!” He just sat there in his swing, staring vacantly. “He probably just went on it because of the bar that goes between your legs,” Henry laughed, continuing on the path of unfunny.
After sulking over missing out on the new ride, getting Indian brush burn on both arms on another ride, and riding the Pirate Ship with a hard core man seated behind me who was reduced to screaming like a girl once the ride started, I duped Brian into riding the Wipe Out with me.
“What does it do?” he asked. The ride wasn’t in motion when we approached it; only one kid was seated on it and the operator was waiting for more riders to come before starting it.
“It’s kind of like the Music Express,” Henry lied.
“Yeah, except it doesn’t spin as fast,” I added.
Brian shrugged and we got on board. He knew as soon as it started accelerating that he was in for it.
“You fucking bitch!” he yelled from the seat across from me. “‘Oh, it just spins around in a circle.’ Then what the fuck is this shit?!” he shouted as the entire circle of seats rose from the platform and began tilting as it spun simultaneously. We could see Henry standing near the gate, laughing and pointing. “And fuck your boyfriend, too!” Brian screamed.
When we got off the ride, I wiped away tears of laughter and said, “I forgot it did all that other stuff!”
“You forgot nine tenths of what it did, you bitch.”
The park was about to close within thirty minutes, and I had yet to ride the Jack Rabbit, which is a wooden coaster boasting a double dip. Brian tiredly raised his hands in surrender. “I don’t give a shit about the Jack Rabbit. You and Henry can go on it and I’ll stay with the kid.” Of course Brian waits until Chooch is practically in a sleep coma before offering to relieve Henry.
So I basically exchanged Brian’s Henry-bashing-in-line antics for Henry’s grumbling of how badly he had to go the “bathroom.” By bathroom, he meant that he had to poop. I learned of his anguish after I punched him in the stomach and he acted like his ass was going to start grinding out poop logs like a sausage machine. I didn’t care of his misfortune, as long as he didn’t crap his pants on the ride (those seats are tight quarters!) and as long as I didn’t catch any whiffs of a rotten bouquet.
Also in line, I informed Henry why Brian kept calling himself fucked up, and Henry was all, “Oh. It’s true You both are and I’m not retracting it. You’re also both juvenile.”
We left after that. My whole body was arrested with giddiness and at one point I came down on one knee in the middle of the parking lot because I was laughing so hard. Henry walked far ahead of us with Chooch and the stroller, while Brian ranted about being fucked up and juvenile.
Brian called me the next morning and said, “God, my feet are killing me today! Maybe if I wasn’t such a fucked up juvenile, I would have worn more sensible shoes last night.”
He never did pay Henry back, either.
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