Monday, August 3, 2009

Terror At 90 Feet!

As we drove towards the pier, it was the Ferris wheel that caught the Bean’s attention.

"Can we ride that?” he asked enthusiastically.

We looked up. The Ferris wheel spun lackadaisically in the sun, it’s peak offering majestic views of the surrounding beach.

“I’m not going on that thing,” scoffed my dad. My parents were visiting for the weekend, which is why we were at the pier in the first place.

“Don’t look at me,” offered my mom.

WonderWife™ was certainly out of the equation. I knew this, having learned before we got married that her threshold for amusement park rides does not stretch much beyond Fantasyland.

That left me. Except that I’m afraid of heights.

“Sure buddy,” I replied to the Bean. “We can ride that.”

One of the things that is really important to me about being a parent is working to put aside my personal fears for the sake of my kids. Fears are learned behaviors. Kids are largely blank slates until we impose our phobias on them. My dad is afraid of heights, therefore I too learned from him to be afraid. I don’t want my kids to know about my fears. They should not inherit from me the sweaty palms and rapid heartbeat that goes along with the thought of riding a chair-lift or a Ferris wheel. I had no choice. My son wanted to ride the Ferris wheel and the rest of my family was too chicken to take him. It was up to me.

We strode up to the ride, waited in line and boarded the compartment. All the while my family stood on the boardwalk, watching and thinking to themselves, “thank God it isn’t me going up there.” The wheel began to turn.

A Ferris wheel is one of the worst kinds of heights—a leisurely ride nine stories up in an open-air compartment. As we began to rise, I instinctually put my arm around the Bean. He probably thought it was a sign of affection. But the truth was, for the next 10 minutes, he was my security blanket.

Eons passed before we were back on the ground. The Bean loved every minute of his ride. And not for one moment did he realize that I was terrified the entire time.


Chic Mama said...

oooh, my worse nightmare too. I don't know what it is, maybe because it takes so long.
Good for you, I don't think I could be that brave for my children.

ZenMom said...

You are a good and brave man. :)

Vancetastic said...

Grow a pair, DGB. ;-)

Vancetastic said...

Also -- I would love to hear why ferris wheels are scary, but ridiculous roller coasters at Six Flags are not.

Shelle-BlokThoughts said...

LOL... I'm not afraid of heights, but I have afraid of boardwalk amusement rides or traveling carnival rides, they don't look very sturdy or well put together! :)

Daddy Geek Boy said...

Here's why (and I alluded to this in the post):

Roller coasters are fast and you're strapped in very securely. As much as I love them, I don't like the slow climb up the hill, but that's over quickly. Once the ride starts, I'm fine.

Ferris wheels or chairlifts are the worst. They're slow. In the case of a Ferris wheel, you get stuck at the top. And most of the time, you are not secured in, in an open air situation.

Fears aren't rational. I know that it's contradictory for me to love roller coasters but hate Ferris wheels...but that's me. I'm a riddle. Wrapped in an enigma. (Wrapped in a vest.)

ZenMom said...

Is it a gorilla vest?

Steph said...

Way to go DGB!!! I applaud you for going on the Farris Wheel and agree with you that I don't want my daughter to learn my fears.

I bet the Bean had a great time.

On another note, we were with some friends talking about Bacon and this diner came up & it made me think of you...

Kathy said...

Aw, what a great dad!

Lady Mama said...

I can understand being scared of ferris wheels. There's something unstable about them. Very touching post!

SciFi Dad said...

Dude, I feel you.

I get motion sick if I'm not driving unless I'm in a gravol-induced coma.

I also get motion sick play FPS on my PSP.

So yeah, my wife does the amusement park rides or my kids don't go. I figure it's less traumatizing to be told, "No," than it is to have Daddy puke on you.

Donna said...

I have the same fear of ferris wheels combined with a love of roller coasters. It's perfectly rational!