For ONCE, that douche-bag-that-likes-to-show-off has finally discovered something worthy of imitation, that even people of average I.Q. and above can emulate ^.^
Truth time. I used to dislike roller coasters because:
#1 I am a woman of principles
#2 I’m a pansy
I figure, why should I pay an already grossly affluent theme park my hard earn lunch money, so they can rattle me around and give me a headache?! (But mostly, I was scared and stuck to waterpark for thrills.)
All that is behind me now, as I have FINALLY discovered the secret to why people put their hands up on roller coasters.
For my husband’s 28th birthday present, I took him to Six Flags Great Adventure, promising to enjoy any ride he wants to go on. Of course, I was petrified. I happen to have married an adorable show-off (minus the douche-bag quality), so I knew Kingda Ka–the tallest coaster in the world, and fastest in North America (Sixflags.com) was inevitable. Little did I know that he wanted to ride that one first!
And there it was, the tallest, most senseless torture device I have ever seen in my life. Towering over us at 456 feet, it was well beyond the Cliff Diver in Splish Splash— a mere 80-90ft. water slide that I was so proud of conquering. We got there pretty early, so the execution line (or waiting line as most people would call it) was moving right along. In denial I tried to reason with myself that people shorter and even much younger than me, survived the drop…. and so will I?
Long story short, I made it. Eyes-closed-clenching-with-all-my might-on-the-handle-bars-and-praying-to-God-I-would-live-made-it. However, it set off a curiosity within me that pissed me off.
WHY ARE PEOPLE PUTTING THEIR HANDS UP IN THE AIR, WAIVING IT LIKE THEY DON’T CARE, WHEN ALREADY I FEEL LIKE I’M FALLING WHEN I’M HOLDING ON SO TIGHTLY!?!
I’m not much of a show-off, but I live off of setting personal goals and accomplishing them. That’s how I am able to carry myself with confidence. So it was decided, I was going to try it at least once. I was going to put my hands up in the air.
I couldn’t do it when we were on Superman The Ride (which was pleasant) because of the way we were seated, but I decided I would try it with Nitro.
All the while we were waiting, my husband was trying to psych me out, and asking me if I was scared (which of course the reply was “no of course not. I did Kingda Ka didn’t I?!”) and describing in fiendish efforts the twists and turns of Nitro, while the chorus of screaming riders passed us by.
Nitro had a drop of 215ft and only 4 G-Force (about half of Kingda Ka’s 418ft drop and 5 G-Force) so once again, I tried to reason with myself. “It’s only half the terror this time” I would recite over and over in my little head.
My heart was pounding, my hands were holding on tightly to the handles, and I gulped. This was it. The moment of truth. We drop, and I scream half way down I thought it was over and opened my eyes–but no, the terror continued. And as if a matter of last-resort, I fought the G-force and pushed my hands up in the air, and instantaneously–I felt so much better.
I was flying instead of falling, I was elated instead of terrified! I was part of the beast, instead of being pulled by it.
Suddenly “Goodbye cruel world, Ahhhh I’m gonna die!!!” turned into “Oh this is wonderful! Roller coasters are fun! Wheeeeeee”
In terms of physics, I figure it must have to do with equalizing the force of gravity. Going with the motion instead of fighting it, made me part of it, instead of against it. But what does it all mean in term of sensation!? Well I ain’t no scientist but I’ll pretend to be anyways. Let’s say for one instance that ear popping is to Pressure as sensation of falling is to Gravity. What does one do when the train is going through a deep underground tunnel and your ears “pop” from the unequalized pressure? One can pinch their nose and swallow (Toynbee Maneuver) and manually equalize the ear’s pressure. So it’s as if, by holding my hands up, I am equalizing my body’s sense of gravity, with the motion of the coaster!
We were at Six Flags for a good 10hrs, so I had a lot of practice. I am now a roller coaster enthusiast. After Nitro, we went on Batman the Ride, Bizzaro, The Green Hornet, Rolling Thunder, and other familiar thrillers: and in all cases, I raised my hands up, and went with the flow ^.^
DISCLAIMER: This is a recollection of how I overcame my fears of roller coasters, and how raising my hands up actually alleviates the feeling of falling and discomfort. It is not a suggestion to defy safety regulations of mentioned theme parks. Wear your safety buckles, and have fun, with caution.