I am a 23-year old woman, and I am terrified of Millennium Force.
For those of you not familiar, Millennium Force is a 310-foot tall gigacoaster at Cedar Point, which is about an hour and a half away from where I live. Cedar Point is pretty damn awesome, and I’ve been there a handful of times over the course of my life. But I’ve never ridden Millennium Force.
When I was younger, it wasn’t that embarrassing. Lots of kids were scared to ride it. Even when I was in high school I had a “wimp” buddy, and the two of us sat out while everyone else did their thing. But now my buddy has ridden it (all 95 pounds of her) – more than once. And I feel increasingly ashamed.
My most recent attempt this past summer ended with my skirting out of line just before it was time to get on the ride. Luckily it was dark, so I don’t think the ten-year olds waiting fearlessly in line with their parents saw me.
The only thing I can say in regards to my fear is this: IT’S JUST. SO. TALL. Which is kind of ridiculous, because heights don’t really bother me. I love observation decks, I love flying, I love being on the top floor of any given building. But here’s the thing – all you have on MF is that little lap bar. Put me on Maverick with a 95-degree drop? Great. Loved it. Because there were shoulder restraints.
I’m fond of shoulder restraints. They tend to keep you from imminent death.
But the time has come. The mocking will soon be incessant, and I don’t think I can live with my shame much longer. In a couple weeks, my friends and I are going to Cedar Point for Halloweekends, and I know I have to ride it or lose my dignity forever.
My fear of Millennium Force is probably, on some level, a reflection of my psyche. I don’t like relinquishing control, which naturally means that being thrust 300 feet downward without having any say in the matter is not something I’d be thrilled about. I’m sorry, you want me to relax, not worry about it, and have fun? HA. Try asking Mitt Romney to march in a Pride parade. Your odds might be better.
At this point, though, I’ve built it up so much in my mind that it cannot possibly be worse than I’m imagining. Everyone insists I’m going to love it, and I’m sure they’re right. But to love it, I’ll actually have to get into one of the seats, buckle my seat belt (EXTREMELY tightly), and ride it.
And then maybe it will be some big symbolic moment about learning to take life’s ups and downs and letting go and just going for it and living to the extreme.
Or it will just be two minutes of me screaming my head off and wetting myself.
Either way, it has to happen. And my best friend said she would hold my hand.