I had been studying Canobie Lake Park in the weeks prior to our trip. Already, I liked that it had rides that I hadn’t seen anywhere else, rides that are probably popular in gypsy-run carnivals in Eastern Europe that are probably not inspected but definitely have the best motherfucking pierogies you’re ever going to find this side of Hunky poker night in Pittsburgh. And it has three coasters and a darkride! Something for everyone and everything for me.
Canobie has the motherlode of spinny rides, the kinds with the brightly-colored flashing lights and German techno music and random murals of Marilyn Monroe standing on a beach. Alyson kept saying things like, “YES! LET’S RIDE THIS CENTRIFUGAL FORCE TORTURE DEVICE AND BARF ALL OVER OURSELVES!” to which I would cheer while silently hoping that no one actually barfed because HAVEN’T YOU SEEN PROBLEM CHILD!?
The Extreme Frisbee, are you fucking kidding me. When I first saw it, I gave it a million middle fingers with my eyes alone. Something has happened to me along the way where I’m less afraid of puking and more afraid of OMG THAT FUCKER GOES HIGH AS SHIT!! This is why I have refused to ride the SwingShot since my inaugural boarding in 2007, where I honestly though my bowels were going to liquify and seep out of my mouth. But this past trip to Kennywood, I had a change of heart, and ended up riding it THREE TIMES. And I LOVED it. I kept saying things like, “Why was I so afraid of it then?” and “I want to get married on this ride” and “TAKE ME TO PROM, SWINGSHOT! I’ll pretend to be a virgin!”
I applied this revelation to the case of Erin v. The Extreme Frisbee and asked Alyson if she’d ride it. (Chooch was so angry that he wasn’t tall enough, so he and Henry did lame stuff in the meantime.)
“Ohhh, this looks REAL barfy,” she said solemnly, and then headed straight for the entrance.
Alyson ain’t scared of shit, you guys. She is the model riding partner!
In line, I tried to distract myself by talking about Serious Things, like being stalked by CYS-reporting religious nuts and getting Single White Femaled once again, this time by a Married White Female. But soon it was our turn and I honestly almost ran of the ride. Especially when we were the last two to board and found that we weren’t even going to sit next to each other. I didn’t want to die alone!
But the nice ride assistant (they are so nice and super enthusiastic at Canobie, often times making all of the riders scream and cheer before sending them off to their uncertain death) made everyone next to me move down so that Alyson could take the seat next to me. What a gentleman. And then, in effort to mask my fear with humor, I pointed out that the ride was made in Germany.
Germany! You motherfucker!
I actually am a 3 ring circus — how did they know!?
And then I just remember sheer terror, roaring gears, and SCREAMING. The kind of screaming that is usually followed shortly by a chainsaw in Texas.
Alyson laughed her ass off through the entire ride. I’m sitting next to her, eyelids clenched, fingers gripping the safety bar and chanting, “WHY WHY WHY WHY OMG OMH WHY WE’RE ALL GONNA DIEEEE” over and over while she’s laughing like she’s being tickled. And that made me laugh too.
But only for a second! Then it was back to motherfucking Germans and their sadistic carnival engineers.
SURPRISE! We didn’t die. And for some fucked up reason, about an hour later I admitted that I wanted to ride it again. And we did too, shortly before the park closed. And it was even scarier / more fun at night. THERE, I SAID IT. I like the stupid Frisbee.
I have found, though, that the secret to success of being a grown-up in an amusement park full of racing-light temptations is MODERATION. Ride a goddamn spinny ride, take a stroll, eat a fucking foodstuff. Then ride some more. And keep doing that.
This does not work for Henry or dummies. Sorry, suckers. Get a better sense of balance or something.
It’s tough when you’re at a place like this with a child though, because it seems that their least favorite things in the world are “taking a stroll and eating fucking foodstuff.” They want to have their brains scrambled and then get back in line to do it again.
Chooch was an impatient jerk when, after riding the Yankee Cannonball (a wooden coaster that may have truncated my spinal column a little bit but Alyson didn’t hear the sickening crack over top of her hysterical laughter), I vetoed his urgent pleas for moremoremore in favor of using the masticated dough of a personal pan pizza to weigh down my stomach lining like absorbant paperweights. A few days later, Chooch was looking at the map of Canobie we brought with us as a souvenir and said something about the Zero Gravity ride that he didn’t ride because of me.
“I didn’t even know they had one of those there!” I cried, because I totally would have rode it with him.
“Yeah, I asked you if you wanted to ride it but you said—” (and here he hires a nasal, whiny tone to mimic me) “—‘Not right now! I need to eat something and then ride something calm!'” And he also scrunched up his arms like a T-Rex and fluttered his fingers, because this is his Erin impression which is awesome to know.
At least he got to ride some spinny/bouncy ride by himself while the grown-ups were eating, god forbid.
Speaking of grand impersonators, a pseudo Justin Bieber took the stage next to us and treated us to a thrilling display of lip-synching and Martha’s Jazz Barn choreography. Alyson mentioned that she didn’t even know any Bieber songs, WELL NOW SHE DOES! And hopefully the next billion times she hears one in a grocery store, she will think of me!
Later, we were in line for another spinny ride called the Skater and were thoroughly entertained by this beefy sports fan who rejoiced in cries of “AWESOME!” and “YEAAAAH!” kind of like Lil Jon, which made Alyson and me crack up because he just did not seem like the kind of guy who would be so joyous on an oversized skateboard spinning up and down a ramp. But he was REALLY FUCKING FEELING IT and I looked over at Henry, who was standing off to the side of the Skater, eating a blue Italian ice, and thought, “Why can’t that asshole enjoy these rides too!?” Maybe if there was a SERVICE-themed amusement park.
When it was our turn, I wound up sitting next to a friendly but boundary-crossing guy and who was pretty much using the entire left side of my body as his afternoon nap apparatus. Dude was fucking heavy! Meanwhile, Alyson was teaching Chooch to hold up his hands, metal-style, and scream “Slayerrrrr!”
When we got off the ride, I started cracking up all over again because Skater’s #1 Fan & Afternoon Nap Guy belonged to each other!
(l to r) Skater’s #1 Fan & Afternoon Nap Guy.
I’m trying to keep this as condensed as possible, but the fact is, we never get to hang out with Alyson and I want to remember every thing that happened! I don’t want this to be all tl;dr (that means “too long; didn’t read,” BARB!) so I’m splitting it up into several parts. Sue me!