I love roller coasters. I hate waiting in line. Novel concept, right? Nobody has ever said/thought that before...
But it's true. I hate it. In Sandusky, Ohio there is a roller coaster called the Top Thrill Dragster. I remember when that thing debuted people were raving. My cousin told me she one time waited over two hours in line to ride in the front seat, and when she got off there were bugs splattered on her face like the windshield of a car. I watched simulations, live videos of rides, and stalked the website of the park until finally my family decided to go. We had just been to Niagra falls and Sandusky was on our way home, we made a day of it. The entire day I just kept staring at the Dragster. The skinkin' thing is so tall you can see it from pretty much anywhere in the park. By the time my brother and I plucked up the courage to ride it was almost the end of the day, and the line was crazy long. I was maybe 14 years old, so my mind may be exaggerating the length of the line, but I would bet we waited 1 hour and 45 minutes. It took forever. The thing about this ride (and its line) is that the coaster is U-shaped and the line is inside the U. For your entire wait you get to watch every car go by and see nearly every face as they launch. What was even more tantalyzing, was seeing people's faces when the ride was over. There were people seriously crying by the end of the ride, or grown men looking more elated and energized than I've ever seen, women shaking their hair transformed into a nest of chaos.
For an hour and forty-five minutes we waited. Finally we rode. And I remember being initially amazed at what I had experienced...and not long later thinking "that was it? 17 seconds and you are done? Could that really have been worth it?" I decided to at least pretend that it was, and move on.
Ever since then I have never ridden the Dragster if the line is more than and hour, and sometimes even if it is just an hour. Fortunately, the park has opened new rides and the lines are pretty respectable. I can normally squeeze in at least one run on the dragster (and I always ride up front). However one glorious day I broke the mold. My friends and I were in Cedar Point and the rain kept threatening to fall. For me this is a four and a half hour drive, and there was nothing that would make me leave short of serious personal danger, and my friends and I were determined to wait the entire day out just in case things cleared up for half an hour and we could ride something worthwhile. Finally it rained. The park began to clear, and not long later so did the sky. All of the lines were gloriously short for about 3 hours.
We rode the Dragster 4 times in 1 hour.
I came to an "important" conclusion. The best part of the Dragster is the anticipation. Not the line, I still hate waiting, but the few seconds before you launch. You are belted, there is no going back. No matter what you are about to fly at a 90 degree angle into the sky, and plummet to the ground in the same fashion. Your heart races. You hear the mechanical voice saying "keep your arms down" and you solemnly promise to absolutely disobey this rule (and then for the following 5 miliseconds wonder if your arms are going to get snapped off in a terrible freak accident). In that moment, while you hold your breathe and prepare to be launched, you look back on your wait and say "oh, so worth it."
That's where I am. I'm strapped. I'm ready to launch. I'm listening to the mechanical voice give me instructions (except these ones I'll keep, since I'm not actually a masochist lunatic). Holding my breathe. Worth it.
**althought I kind of hope my experience is less Dragster-ish and more Millenium Force-like (my favorite). I just have better stories about the Dragster.