My husband quickly tells anyone who asks that I do not take risks. I don't walk around with my shoelaces untied. I won't open a soft drink handled by a child under age 25. I never go in the bird house at the zoo. And I don't take showers during thunderstorms.
That's why, when I told him I wanted to ride the Space Shot, an amusement contraption with 15 seats attached to a taut rubber band, while visiting the Huntsville Space Center, he looked at me like my brain oozed out of my ears.
My spouse, however, lives for adventure. He walks on floors that are slippery when wet. He drives over icy bridges. He believes underwear is optional. And he eats unidentifiable leftovers from the back of the fridge.
That's why, when he declined to join me, I looked at him with fear, my nostrils flaring.
But go ahead, he said, smirking. The kids and I will watch you.
I felt called out. I'm thin-skinned that way sometimes. So, hardheaded and noodle-kneed, I shuffled over and stood in line.
The only other patrons waiting were 12-year-old boys. Two of them recklessly hung on the caution sign: Do Not Get Near This Thrill Ride If You 1. Have a heart condition, 2. Are pregnant, 3. Are under 5 feet tall, 4. Ate at the concession stand, 5. Suffer motion sickness pushing a shopping cart, 6. Have change in your pockets, 7. Are having a good hair day, 8. Have no life insurance, 9. Are not a 12-year-old boy, and (in small print) 10. Are Lucy Adams.
I couldn't read No. 10 because one of the boys blocked it.
Thus, I found myself strapped, harnessed and hog-tied into a seat adjacent to a father-son duo. Before I could introduce myself to possibly the last humans to see me alive, a giant hook retracted from the bungee cord, sending us flying 10 stories high. I sucked in so hard I swallowed the dentures of the lady sitting on the bench next to the anti-gravity machine.
We paused at the peak for a nanosecond, to enjoy the view, and fell nine stories. Too late to react, I observed my upper lip now hurtling skyward. Then, the elasticized elevator yanked us up seven stories (my upper lip went down and ran into my lower lip going up) to again plummet us five (I lost track of my lips).
Things in my seat got jumbled. My liver slid into my nose, my spleen dropped into the seat of my pants, and my stomach left the state of Alabama.
When we finally bounced to a stop and the huge hook pulled us back to safety, the man next to me said, Hey kid, are you OK? Did you enjoy the ride?
Nonplussed, I babbled on about how I wet my pants and my heart ruptured and I couldn't see anything. Then I opened one eye and noted, with embarrassment, that he had addressed his child, not me.
Staggering toward my family, with all four cheeks and a breast dragging the ground, I wobbled like I had received a blood transfusion from Jack Daniels. Fix your glasses, they blithely said, and broke out in unflattering laughter.
If I hadn't bitten my tongue, I would have retorted with witty words. But as it was, my vocal cords twisted around my small intestine and such, I only asked, Gbabl grfdun? Hnderlbl gdes knoblglb.
Translation: Can you lift your foot? My chin is under it.
(Lucy Adams is a Columbia County native and a McDuffie County resident.)
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