The Happiest Place On Earth
Disneyland: hours and hours of wonderful queues stretching for eons around corners yet to be discovered - a British paradise. People chatter around me, nervous and excited, what can only be described as gallows humour. Unfortunately, it’s then punctured by two or three minutes of sheer, pant-wetting terror, with my mind spinning still as I write this, a whole twenty-hours after the event. “What the hell was that last one called?” I mumble to my friend, staggering from the ride, like the last strides of a proud lion after being darted by hefty tranquiliser. “Teacups.”
I am no joyrider or rollercoasterer. Peak enjoyment for me comes with a strong cup of tea after sex, both enhanced immeasurably if it’s with someone else. It’s my first theme park in perhaps twenty years, and I’d never been on a rollercoaster that had even gone upside down. At the penultimate ride of the day, where my brain was utterly addled after ten hours of pure hostility and savagery, I joined an extensive line for the Guardians of the Galaxy: Breakout ride. Whilst I quite like the related films, my nervousness wasn’t sedated by my friend (now ex-friend, admittedly) telling me that the ride used to be called House of Terrors or Hotel of Hell, or something equally unappealing. Tagging along with two eleven-year-old girls for the day, daughters of someone or other my friend knew, I had spent the entire day using them as a barometer of judgement: if a ride looked too scary for them, I could also back out. Unfortunately, the little bastards had indomitable spirits, and am convinced that they were in fact fierce pigmy warriors of unfathomable courage that backed out of nothing.
Sitting in a large box along with perhaps twenty others, the aim of the ride is to plummet you vertically up and down approximately four thousand metres* until you hate life, or at least that’s what I felt. The action was then repeated ad infinitum. At the very top of the building (God, I can still feel my head swimming even now) there is a moment of tranquillity, a scion of peace. With my thoughts nothing but mush after being beaten to a pulp, we were treated momentarily to a serene vista overlooking Disneyland. All glittering lights and splendour, peaceful pin-pricks of light amongst the darkness. I had enough time for an inner monologue to start, ‘that’s nice, what a pretty view! Why are those people raising their hands excitedly? . . . oh, there’s a camera, I better crowbar my hands away from the grab-rail and give a thumbs up like a brave fellow. Uh-oh . . .’
I was a little late to contort every muscle in my body, including a few new ones I’d grown in my anus for this particular ride, but managed to keep all fluids inside where they should be as we fell the full height of the building. Whilst my teeth clenched with the same incalculable force as my buttocks were mustering, around me my friend hollered with excitement and the kids screamed in delight. Checking the photograph afterwards, there is an ashen, stupid, stupid man, with thumbs up, a portrait of a defeated idiot that doesn’t know what’s coming to him. It’s a testament to my character that a month into my American adventure, I haven't changed a bit.
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