Lights and Rides

 

The first time I rode the only roller coaster that actually means something in this place of pretend technological development, I felt a sudden rush. And just like this place, a faux accomplishment. I was literally riding high, letting myself yell my lungs out, and just giving in to the questionable safety of seat belts and the memory of the roller coaster’s three malfunctions–one of which my best friend experienced, who was coming along for my second ride.

Once again, I was holed up in a replica of a small tunnel wrapped with chicken fence, and I was forced to listened to the burning mechanical friction of velocity and screams of those who came before us. My friends and I were questioning our decision to go on the ride, with repeated why are we doing this? What do we expect to gain from this? What are we doing with our lives?

Eventually, it was our turn, and the wind, the churning guts, and the ride came and went faster than the psychological torture. As the body heat returned, sliding down to the tips of my fingers, I was still asking the same questions. The second roller coaster ride didn’t do the trick, though I wasn’t exactly sure what trick I wanted it to play on me.  After my first ride, I was bathed in this idea that I can now do anything, that life isn’t that bad, that more rides are out there. I was a freaking self-help new age book. Now, I’m just this woman burned with knowledge that I’ve done this before. Been there, done that. Fucking stuck.

I’ve been pushing myself to tag along loved ones in the hopes of escaping the world of wallowing, but I end up wallowing in rides that I had hoped will blind me with their lights. I still find them pretty. I like to watch them flicker. I like to be around families and especially teenagers, enjoying and envying their simplicity, youth, and arms wrapped around huge stuffed toys–and then Patrick Stump’s lyrics crash into my head: maybe I’m too old to be so hopeful, maybe I’m too young to be so bitter.

I had this dream the other night that I was getting an awesome huge tattoo from the daughter of a famous tattoo artist. While she was halfway into her wonderful design, she fell asleep and became a black cat. Her dad told me that she is madaldal and turns into a black cat at night.

“So, we should have started inking in the morning because she spends too much time talking than the tattoo?”

“Yeah.”

I tried catching the black cat, thinking I could force her to finish the tattoo but she slunk through the nooks of the house. I left their place, disappointed and tattooo-less. Moreover, I couldn’t find the jeep that will bring me home. I ended up standing in an intersection, under a street sign I didn’t read, gripping the strap of my bag, thinking how much of a cliche is this whole dream?

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