Hump Days: The Tower of Doom

Is love waking up on a Sunday morning, discovering your boyfriend has peed in the bed
and thinking to yourself, I won’t immediately tell everyone about this??
Maybe, but I think a better analogy is The Tower of Doom.
We arrived at Elitch Gardens approximately four hours after I pulled back the covers to our bed
and discovered my boyfriend curled up in the fetal position with a large wet spot in the
sheets unfortunately close to his body. I was not excited to be at Elitches because I’ve
long equated amusement parks with too much sun, trashy people, bad food, long lines
and mediocre rides- but for whatever reason, the Tower of Doom beckoned me.
I’m not encouraged by the goofy clan of eighteen year-olds giving each other thumbs
ups across machines as signals of safety reports, but nevertheless, I am willingly
strapped into this terror device and then wait as it slowly begins its ascent upwards 220
feet. The event is marked by my thinking, It’s probably time to admit I’m not the biggest fan of heights.
Which kind of reminds me of a text exchange I had earlier in the week with a friend who
has recently fallen in love and commented I’m not the biggest fan of being vulnerable. She won’t admit to being in love so much as she keeps blaming her birth control for the sickening waves of vulnerability that are periodically washing over her and sometimes lend themselves to crying. What’s worse is that her paramour just told her he would be moving to a different state.
And what should I say to my boyfriend who just cavalierly told me he was moving and
that it was predetermined?
Have you considered crying and lying about a pregnancy??
Do you love him?
I’m falling in love with him. Pause. That sounds really fucking lame.
This made me snort a little because it’s a weird feeling when you realize you have
started to care about someone enough that all the things they do start to manifest into some ultra-weird, overwrought context. It’s pleasant, but scary- much like I anticipated The Tower of Doom being.
You can see a lot from 220 feet in the air. My boyfriend pointed out the Capitol. My friend Sarah said, “There’s Englewood” which prompted me to say, “I don’t care” but in considerably more colorful language and that’s because on this particular Sunday, The Tower of Doom wasn’t working exactly like it was supposed to. I realized this long after the usual 2-3 second mid-air suspension grew to a solid five minute extension filled with many, many different thoughts, the predominant two being:
Wish I’d taken that stuff off my work computer and what happens next??
Sheer terror at the hands of a malfunctioning amusement park ride and/or love can lead to a lot of self-reflection. What do I want out of life? What do I value? What is worth being vulnerable for? Which things in life are worth going after? Why is my boyfriend still making jokes about our untimely demise? Why did I just scream at him? Isn’t this supposed to be fun? And,
Minute six comes and goes. My hands are white and I realize it’s time to abandon the fantasy of me saying noble, courageous things in the face of adversity. The Tower of Doom sighs a little and then ridiculously decides to move further upward for about three seconds before again stopping. I am not, not, NOT having fun.

After suggesting that she fake a pregnancy to trap her boyfriend, I consider the question a little bit more seriously before texting back, Honestly, I think you just have to go for it even if it means feeling like an over exposed weirdo.

I don’t want to feel like an over exposed weirdo.

Nobody does. It’s probably going to end with tears and vomiting, but it’ll be worth it because you will have tried. And- I mean that; I know way too many people who have cheated themselves to protect their pride. You can’t become an adult without riding the Tower of Doom. There is nothing to be learned from going in circles, a tepid three feet off the ground, on the Teacups ride.Boring!

Around minute seven, the ride violently and unexpectedly falls out of the sky (the way it’s supposed to in second three) before coming to an excruciating stop and the thunderous applause of the people at the bottom who, also, apparently didn’t believe we were going to make it. I felt like tears and vomiting might happen.

Later when I’ve composed myself and am trying to make up for the monster I acted like at 220 feet, I comment, “I thought you peed in the bed this morning and I wasn’t going to tell anyone.”

“Please put me at the top of that email notification when it does actually happen.” My friend Sarah interjects.

“What? Why?” My boyfriend is confused.

“Because you were so drunk you broke your toe and have no memory of it. And also because I got you a sock full of ice but then just left it in the bed next to you rather than put it on your foot and it melted in the bed, but I didn’t realize that this morning. It just looked like you soiled the sheets and I was ready to just say things like, ‘hey, things happen. It’s no big deal that you’re a grown man that just wet the bed.‘ I was ready to even wash the sheets for you.”

Anyway, when I was reflecting on this event, I was thinking about how stupid the statement, “I’m afraid of heights” actually is, because isn’t everyone afraid of heights? Doesn’t everyone’s body sort of reject scenarios where their possible demise is greatly increased? And, couldn’t the same be said of love?

On that note, if you just can’t get enough of sappy amusement park analogies and would like to read more, I have a second column starting next week, and you can find it here.

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