Monday, February 11, 2013

A Comfort Zoning Violation

It wasn't one of my New Year's resolutions, but I lived dangerously Saturday night. 

A friend I've known for 12 years (and occasionally casually dated) came into town this week to enjoy Mardi Gras with her brother and old friends. She just got her doctorate in Georgia and is on her way to Colorado with hopes of getting a job. (Maybe I should try that too...)

We met up at the Krewe of Bonaparte parade in Lafayette and, afterward, headed to the Mardi Gras Fair. I had some money so I bought us both tickets. She and her friends (one of whom was also named Ian) immediately salivated over the most hardcore rides.

Now here's something you should know about me. I'm an adrenaline junkie. I love moving fast (such as on a bike), swinging (such as on a swing) and plunging down a steep incline (like a huge slide). Despite my fearless gangsta persona, however, I'm a total wuss when it comes to carnival rides. I didn't ride a Ferris Wheel until my mid-20s, and haven't ridden anything that goes sideways since the infamous Typhoon incident of 1994, where my girlfriend, cousin and half of my 8th-grade class saw me scream in horror and afterward laughed as I couldn't stand up for 20 minutes (and also my lower back swelled up). 

Also, baby roller coasters freak me out as much as the real thing.

Nevertheless, my friends talked me into riding two rides whose names escape me (though "Vertigo" comes to mind). One is a Tilt-A-Whirl-type thing whose track tilts to nearly 90 degrees; the other is a version of the big swing ride that rises and dips. I chickened out of both — invoking my typical bad-back excuse that sometimes works — but wound up riding them. I'm glad I did, because they turned out to be pretty fun after the fact.

As the swing ride began to rise to my increasing horror, my friend said something like, "It's good to get you out of your comfort zone, Ian." To which I replied in my best John Candy whine, "What's wrong with my comfort zone? It gives me comfort! Why are people always trying to get me out of it?"

After surviving the ride — and liking it more than I should — I was feeling pretty good about going 2-for-2 on not flaking out. So I picked the next ride, the Scrambler. Even though I bruised a rib the last time I rode one, that ride was well within my comfort zone.

Well, after two speedy rounds for the price of one on it (thanks a lot!!), I felt as if I was going to vomit my ab muscles and crap out my intestines. For hours afterward, everyone who saw me said I didn't look too good. I didn't vomit, but I still feel like holy hell nearly three days later.

So much for the comfort zone, huh?

I've learned two things from this. One, what gets you isn't always what you expect. Two, that I can never again attend a carnival with anyone who reads this, lest I find myself in that bouncy bungee ball.

Ow, my back.

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