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Beyond Dizzy, or Twirl ’til Ya Hurl

February 21, 2014

Sometime after I reached adulthood—probably about the time I entered my 30s—I lost the ability to enjoy one of my childhood’s greatest simple pleasures: spinning.

When I was a kid I loved to spin.  I would wind up a swing until my toes couldn’t touch the ground anymore and then let go.  Or I would just twirl until I couldn’t stay upright any longer.  Amusement parks and midways were heavenly.  Ride after ride of spinny-twirly-dizzy fun.  The Scrambler, Haley’s Comet, The Zipper, the spinning tea cups…loved them all.

Then somewhere along the line my inner ears stopped cooperating, and even a quick turn could throw me off-balance and send me lurching sideways.  Coordination has never been my strong suit, but add in some funked ears and my equilibrium goes south.  Like, way south.

I now understand why some folks refer to the Haley’s Comet as the Vomit Comet.

Spinning is now so unpleasant to me that I can’t really remember what it felt like to like it.  I clearly remember that I did.  I remember that it had such appeal to me that I would seek it out and do it over and over.  But I can’t remember the feeling in a way that I don’t associate it with collapsing on the ground with my eyes squeezed shut, moaning and holding onto the grass for dear life because the planet is obviously trying to buck me off.

It’s enough to kill any desire to go back to the days when spinning was joy.

And maybe that is best, since it’s cute when little kids spin for fun but somewhat more disturbing when adults do it.

I still wonder, however,  if perhaps it wasn’t a slick bit of thievery that I didn’t catch until way late in the game.



6 Comments leave one →
  1. February 21, 2014 8:16 am

    I feel the same way. I guess that’s just one of many curses we suffer for growing up. Thanks for sharing – although, I can feel my breakfast in my belly after reading this. I just hope it stays there.

    I remember going to an amusement park when I was in my early twenties and getting on a spinning cups ride (admittedly, after having a few drinks). I had remembered loving this ride when I was little – so, why not now?

    My college roommate and I got in and starting our cup spinning for about ten seconds of delight. That short-lived euphoria was followed by an eternity of swooning agony. The ride hadn’t even started yet when we realized our mistake. I remember trying to hold the tabletop handle still and was hoping to abort the mission when they started up the machine. We begged to stop (after all, the two of us were the only ones on it), but the attendants were having too much fun laughing at us to hear. Just thinking about it re-opens the pit in my stomach and helplessly swimming brain.Abandoning our hopes for pity, we tried to steady our cup against the spinning of the ride, but we were too far gone by then anyway.

    When it was finally over, we spilled out of the cup and onto the ground beside the ride. I clearly recall one of the attendants saying we were idiots – and I have to agree with them. It was at least another thirty minutes before we felt any better.

    I haven’t enjoyed any spinning rides at all since then – although I have tried a couple of times for my son’s amusement.

    Damn inner ear!

    • February 21, 2014 8:21 am

      The only thing that keeps me from having a full-fledged laugh at your expense, Jack, is the personal memory of an ill-fated ride on The Zipper, where after a while the attendant did have enough mercy to stop the machine…but not before I was completely incapacitated and unable to even walk off the ride without assistance. I shudder to think what it would have been like if I’d had a few drinks beforehand, because it was complete and total misery while stone cold sober!

  2. February 21, 2014 9:47 am

    Same as you, I use to enjoy those scary rides growing up. One of the last rides that I rode as I became older was the Ferris wheel. I know, that shouldn’t be a big deal, but for some reason it was for me and was so frightening that I refuse to ride anymore rides at amusement parks. LOL! I guess children have no fear but adults do. :D

    • February 21, 2014 10:38 am

      I still adore a good wild roller coaster!

  3. February 22, 2014 7:42 am

    Maybe I always had a inner ear problem because the spinning rides at the amusement park always have made me feel sick. Even traveling through the mountains on one the the roads that curved so tightly around the mountain would and does cause motion sickness in me.

    • February 22, 2014 10:38 am

      It was never a problem for me when I was a kid, but now? Better give me the front seat! Whew!

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