Thursday, June 16, 2011

I rode a Ferris wheel

Never Done: I rode a Ferris wheel

And not just any Ferris wheel -- the Wonder Wheel at Coney Island. Actually, it was my very first carnival ride, and I went because Abigail, Mich, and I were celebrating Mich's last night in Brooklyn. I just stumbled over the word celebrate, because I don't want to make it sound like I'm excited that Mich is leaving town. So I looked up the word in Miriam Webster's dictionary, which includes the following definitions:

To perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites

To honor (as a holiday) especially by solemn ceremonies or by refraining from ordinary business

To mark (as an anniversary) by festivities or other deviation from routine

To observe a notable occasion with festivities

And I can now confidently say that we were celebrating Mich's last night in Brooklyn with a spin around the Wonder Wheel. I even remembered to say the Shehekhianu as we ascended, and as all of Coney Island, and then the Atlantic Ocean, and then all of Brooklyn and even Manhattan came into view. For me personally, aside from the celebratory nature of the outing, the thing that made a big impression on me was how, after a lifetime of not riding a carnival ride, it was so easy to climb into a little cage, shut the door, and put my life in the hands of a couple gruff carnies who were also smoking and eating their dinners at the same time as presumably running the machinery that was simultaneously entertaining me and keeping me alive. Surprisingly easy!

Once I crossed the threshold (climbed into the little cage) I just gave myself over to the experience, and enjoyed my time with my friends. Partly this was about Patience: Don't aggravate a situation with wasted grief (why worry when everything is actually going fine?) and partly it was about focusing as much on the group experience as my individual experience, and partly it was that once we were at the Wonder Wheel, it just didn't feel scary. Maybe it helped that we could easily look over and compare it to rides in the Scream Zone. Rides that none of us had any interest in riding. Rides that made our slow steady tour look like a stroll in the park. And maybe it helped that thousands and thousands of people had ridden the Wonder Wheel before us, presumably without getting hurt. And maybe it actually helped that the carnies seemed so bored.

But ultimately what interested me the most was to think of our ride as a metaphor for Mich's journey. It will probably be scary to get in the car and set out, but not that scary. And ultimately we all know that it's actually safe, and will bring her to new heights, and give her new perspective, and will be best when shared with good friends.

No comments:

Post a Comment