No passion so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.
While we were on our holidays, like every good visitor to far north NSW/Queensland, we visited the theme parks. Movie World and Sea World were quite fun for all of us (with Sea World being our favourite), but Wet n' Wild proved to be most challenging.
As you may know, Wet n' Wild is a water park. Full of water slides. Big, long, fast, scary water slides.
And it just so happens that I'm
I don't know where it comes from, but I do know I've been scared of water slides my whole life. I guess you could call it a phobia.
Some of you may be wondering why I'd put myself through a whole day in this hell. Luckily there are other things to keep me interested. I love water, and there is a wave pool, a very cool kiddy water play area, and a cool 'river' where you just jump on an inner tube and float around and around. This is my idea of fun. And, I do like watching my family having fun on the slides too.
'Cause they do like them. Anthony loves water slides (though he will only go in the water if it's really, really hot outside); Sam loved them too (he had a fabulous time at our local - much lamer - water park with his school only a couple of days before he died); and Oliver is beginning what will probably be a lifelong love of them too (although, he does prefer the lower, smaller, slower ones at this point). Luckily for him there was a small slide at the caravan park we stayed in, and he had lots of fun on that.
This slide was also the origin of my downfall.
Because I went on it. Quite a number of times. And came to the conclusion that it was actually quite fun.
So when we got to Wet n' Wild, I naturally thought that I had been magically cured of my phobia. After all, I've successfully conquered my spider squeamishness and my up-high upsets (well, sort of - you probably won't catch me skydiving any time soon). This new 'can do, live for the moment' attitude I've manufactured over the past couple of years has certainly been a factor in these turnarounds, and I was all set to attribute my new water slide loving persona to it too.
How silly I was. I guess I should have seen it coming, but I was caught up in the excitement. People everywhere, warm sun (but freezing water!) and an excited family...
When we got to Wet n' Wild, we tried to take Oliver onto a fairly tame (I guess) slide first up. Pretty much a replica of the big yellow slides you get in the sideshow, except wet. We picked up our mats and were halfway up the stairs when Oliver baulked. We tried talking him into it, but he got upset, so we turned around and went back down.
Then we went for a walk and found the 'boat slide'; where everyone sits in the same rubber boat to go down. Once again, we got halfway up the stairs and Oli decided it wasn't for him (though he cleverly disguised it as needing to go to the toilet).
By this time, Anthony was a little frustrated, but declined to go off on his own, so we walked around a bit, floated down the river, went in the wave pool and had some lunch. Oli had a bit of a play in the kiddy park and then they finally decided they would go on a slide.
They chose what is probably the tamest and slowest slide at Wet n' Wild - a long, windy (but not too steep) slide set on a hill. I decided I would watch them go down.
Of course, Oliver loved it (Anthony found it a bit slow and lame), and it looked OK to me too; little kids and old ladies regularly popped off the end looking quite happy. So when Oliver decided to go on it again, I thought I would join him.
Well, I got all the way to the top of the hill, all the way to the front of the (30 minute wait) line.
Then I froze.
I saw the water gushing down, the steep(ish) drop at the beginning, and I couldn't do it. I even had a bit of a panic attack: quickened pulse, shallow breathing, nausea, even tears - though I managed to swallow them until I had successfully (yet sheepishly) made my way past the grannies and toddlers waiting to hurtle their way down.
I regret that I didn't just do it anyway, I really do. Because I didn't show Oliver that day that it's good to be scared but that you can have a go anyway. And deep down, I know I would have liked it too. But I didn't. Because I was scared.
Perhaps one day I'll be able to do it. But this time I didn't. Fear is a funny thing, isn't it?
What are you scared of?