Above is a photo of Laura loving life as she rode the Turtles at Kennywood, which is evidently her most favorite ride ever. There was probably a Carpenters track playing in her head, even. Too bad her life was about to change FOREVER a little bit later when she became involuntarily AMPUTATED on the PHANTOM’S REVENGE.
Shit, now I’m getting my parables mixed up.
Anyway, what happened was Laura, Chooch and I were walking toward the Exterminator (Henry was there somewhere) when Laura (this was all LAURA’S idea), threw a wrench into our well thought-out plan by saying, “Or we could just go on this…since we’re here…” and did a lazy Vanna White with her hands toward the entrance of the Phantom’s Revenge.
We had already went on this twice earlier in the day. The first time, we absolutely, postively walked right onto the platform and right the fuck onto the ride, that is how empty Kennywood was that day. Even on not-too-crowded days, there is still usually some sort of a line for this ride, because it’s the Big Shot Steel Coaster up in that piece, and everyone wants to take their turn on it, like the roofied guy at the sorority party. Oh wait. I’m sorry. I’m confusing genders.
The second time was actually a continuation of the first time, because when the coaster came back to the station, there was no one in line still, so the Kennywood peeps were all, “Hey, you guys can stay on if you want” so we did and it turns out that’s not so fun afterward, riding it with no break in between, when you’re in your thirties and not a seven-year-old like Chooch who was like, “THAT WAS AWESOME LET’S STAY ON THIS FOR THE REST OF THE DAY OMFG!!” as he pushed his eyeball back into its socket.
You should have seen Henry afterward, all clammy and green around the gills, wherever the hell his gills are, like he had just suffered through a particularly traumatizing Ludovico Technique featuring footage of all nine years of his loveless past marriage. (Past marriage. Like there’s a present marriage. Hmph!)
So after Laura suggested riding it for the third time, Henry obviously was like, “Thank you sir, but I will NOT have another,” and proceeded to walk toward the exit of the Phantom’s Revenge, where he waited like an obedient puppy with his master’s purse. The rest of us ridiculed him for being a pussy and ran through the empty queue to the platform, where we saw there was a small line. We chose the seats that had the fewest number of people waiting and made sure that it was lined up evenly so that the three of us could get on at the same time.
Meanwhile, there was some sort of seat belt malfunction going on. The coaster was sitting there idly, full of passengers, but the ride attendants couldn’t send it off because of whatever was going on.
“We need someone to sit in this seat!” one of the teenaged boys in a Kennywood polo shouted. “There’s nothing wrong, but we can’t send this on with this car empty! It’s not a mechanical problem, just this one seatbelt!” And he was holding the seatbelt, too, as if that was going to reassure people.
And who wouldn’t be OK with putting their safety into the hands of a college kid on summer break?
Everyone started murmuring to each other about not wanting to ride in a car with a broken seat belt, even though it was only one of the seats in the car– the other one was apparently functioning properly, so only one person could sit in that seat. Some dumbass single rider was all, “Whatever, yeah, I’ll do it,” sparking a collective outcry regarding his stupidity. Some older woman in the line next to us was FREAKING THE FUCK OUT about this and her kids (her KIDS) were trying to calm her down. “They’re not going to let people ride it still if it’s actually broken, Mom!” one of the kids cried in frustration.
“But they’re using A REAL PERSON as a dummy!” she countered.
They sent the coaster up the hill, and we all turned and watched as it raced down the hill a minute later.
“No, he’s still on it. I saw him,” Laura assured me and Chooch. I wanted everyone to clap when the coaster returned to the platform with the idiot Single Rider still fastened into his seat, but everyone seemed to have lost interest by then.
However, that became the temporary designated single rider seat for the time being while the attendants waited for the maintenance guys to arrive with a new seatbelt. “Shit, they’re going to make me sit there!” Laura cried when it dawned on her what was going on. Chooch and I, of course, nearly gave up our asshole ghosts from laughing so hard at her future misfortune.
Just then, I looked ahead and noticed that the girl who was in front of us had moved over to the Broken Seat Belt Line, which meant that Chooch and I were next. We kind of half-heartedly tried to find someone to go ahead of us so that we could ride at the same time as Laura, but everyone behind us was perfectly lined up with their respective groups as well and didn’t want to give up their spots. So we shrugged a disgenuine “sorry” in Laura’s general direction, and then climbed into the car, leaving her alone on the platform. The guy behind her was laughing at our mock-sorrow, which made the whole situation even funnier to me.
When we came back to the station, we gave her a quick wave and then ran away to find Henry, who looked confused that we were short one person. So Chooch and I hysterically recounted the broken seatbelt situation (“I know, I saw the maintenance men go over there so I figured something was wrong,” Henry interrupted, fulfilling his inherent need to speak of any sort of man in uniform) and then started laughing even harder when we got to the part about ditching Laura.
“AND NOW SHE HAS TO SIT IN THE BROKEN SEAT!” we cried, doubling over in laughter.
“You two are both assholes,” Henry yelled at us, but that was the same time we realized that the coaster was ascending the inaugural hill, so Chooch and I ran closer to take a picture of what we were lovingly referring to as “Laura’s Last Ride.”
(Time out. I am going to pause here for a second so I can walk off this ridiculous laughter before I start alarming people at work again.)
ENJOY YOUR LAST RIDE, LAURA!
We ran back to Henry, who was scowling and trying to shrug away from his hyena-brood. At this point, I was on the pee-precipice and it wasn’t looking too good. Passers-by were starting to flash Chooch and I the “I wonder what they’re on” looks, which yes, I DO get a lot, now that you mention it.
And then finally, Laura came padding down the exit trail, looking disheveled and not very pleased.
We immediately started laughing harder. Oh, schadenfreude! My old friend!
“That was the most awkward ride ever!” Laura cried. Apparently, the maintence crew had fixed the seatbelt situation after Chooch and I got off the ride, so Laura wasn’t relegated to sitting in the Single Rider Death Seat. However, when she stepped across the seat to put her purse in one of the cubby holes, she turned around to discover that people behind her had taken her seat. So she had to walk around, looking for a car with an empty seat, and that is how she ended up sitting with some single dad. At this point in the story, Chooch and I raced over to look at the picture on the screen and then promptly lost our shit all the fuck over again. Even Henry mosied on over to take a gander at the photographical evidence of Laura’s misfortune.
The kid running the photo booth was kind of fake-laughing along with us, but it was clear he wasn’t sure what was so funny. Also unclear to him was whether or not he was going to make a sale on this one.
“Henry, PLEASE give me money to buy this!” I begged in my signature mouthful of laughs / Bobcat Goldthwaite voice. It’s Henry’s favorite part about me. Especially when it happens during sex.
“No!” he yelled. “I’m not paying $15 for that! That’s outrageous.”
“BUT IT’S WORTH IT TO ME!” I cried harder. I have got to stop leaving my wallet in the car when we go to amusement parks. This is bullshit.
And then something incredible happened! LAURA BOUGHT IT FOR ME! She didn’t seem too pleased about spending money on such an uncomfortable memory, but she did it anyway because she is a GOOD FRIEND. (Apparently, the OPPOSITE of what I am, according to Henry.)
The guy behind the photo counter was partially bemused, but mostly puzzled at this point, as Laura handed over her credit card with a sigh while Chooch and I flanked her in hysterical laughter. It’s like we’re drunk all of the time without actually consuming any alcohol. This is normal public behavior for us. Laughing so hard we need to lean on walls and people for support. Sometimes I lean on people I don’t even know because I can’t help myself, the laughter makes me walk on a slant, you guys.
When Laura handed me the photo, I blurted out, “You don’t have to get me a birthday present now!”
“I already did,” she sighed, with just a tinge of bitterness and regret.
Henry pointed out that Laura’s Temporary Husband also purchased one of the photos, which wound me up all over again. I wonder if it’s as funny to him?!!?
HAHAHAHAHA BUT THIS PICTURE, THOUGH! Baby Mama Laura! Oh shit, I have to pee — BRB.
I have been actually crying about it at work, it is THAT funny to me, but everyone here is like, “It is not that funny, if at all” and “You’re so mean to your friends.” And Henry is like, “No really, it’s not that funny” and “I can’t figure out how you have any friends at all.” But Chooch and me? WE HAVE FIGURATIVELY BURIED OURSELVES IN A GRAVE OF IDIOCY from all of the laughing we’ve been doing. Team Dickhead FTW!
These past two days at work, Barb has basically been searching her desk for her imaginary OUT TO LUNCH sign every time she sees me approaching because she knows I’m going to just stand there and have uncontrollable giggles usurp my ability to speak like a regular human being. However, at least she can appreciate the fact that it’s more of the backstory surrounding the photo that has legitimately cracked my sanity. Everyone else is just looking at me like I’ve lost my mind.
Just today, I was walking to the trolley and I started laughing all over again, and I mean LAUGHING. So I called Henry and said, “You have to stay on the phone with me because I’m walking down the street and laughing uncontrollably.” (Which actually isn’t anything out of the ordinary in my neighborhood.)
“What are you laughing about—-” Henry started. And then, “Oh. Never mind.”
But it was too late. My laughter upchucked out of my mouth like a galloping horse and I had to pause in a doorway of a store because I almost peed my pants in the middle of the sidewalk. I AM OUT OF CONTROL. This is what happens to me at amusement parks! I turn into a hyper dickhead and then suffer from residual giddiness for days afterward and you know who suffers? Henry! My co-workers! YOU! THE INTERNET!
And then that motherfucker Henry waited until I was on the trolley to text me the picture, which caught me off guard and I had to cover my face with my hair and laugh at my reflection in the stupid trolley window and then I started crying and people were looking and some asshole probably wrote a blog post about ME, can you imagine.