so yesterday morning we ran a little late. fifteen minutes late, to be exact. i had gotten home late on friday, and then stayed up a bit chatting with martyn on icq, since we rarely catch each other online at the same time these days. so saturday morning came way too soon, and we ran a little late. this fifteen-minutes-late thing is not unusual for us.

we called little-man, one of chad’s coworkers, and let him know we would be late. and then went straight to lucasland to pick him up.

i like little-man. he is very relaxed, calm, cheerful, quiet. these are not guidelines to what you have to be for me to like you, but i generally like these traits, and specifically in him. he wears them well. he’s also a willing audience. this is important, you see, because chad and i tend to slip into stand-up routine mode if left unchecked.

we banter. we riff. we entertain. we are not nearly as funny to other people as we are to each other, but this matters not. there are dual spotlights wherever we go and we are always in them.

joking our way to paramount’s great america, here we go. we’re on; i’m partially caffeinated. we make it a few miles down the 101. before sausalito, chad muses during a pause in the raucous laughter, “i wonder if they’ll wait for us at the gate.”

me: “huh?” chad: “well, they have the tickets. we were supposed to meet them at ten.” me: “it’s 9:38.” chad: “yeah.” me: “we’re still in the north bay.” chad: “yeah.”

well, shit. we were an hour late showing up. the rest of the lucasarts gang was annoyed. no shit; i’d be annoyed too. we did try to call, but didn’t have anyone’s mobile numbers. except each others’, of course. so helpful.

i surprised myself by apologizing and then letting it go. and everyone else surprised me by accepting the apology (well, most everyone) and letting it go, too. and we proceeded to have fun, eat expensive and crappy food, and laugh a lot. and get sunburned, but that was expected.

the first ride of the day was top gun. i hadn’t been on a ‘coaster since six flags great america, nearly ten years ago. not one to take it slow, i scuttled after the group as they went to line up for the ride. chad and another guy stayed behind, which still made nine of us, waiting in line for about an hour. i had some great chitchat with several of chad’s coworkers, reinforcing the fact that this job is incredible for him. i survived the cheesy “top gun” theme – which revived such hits as “danger zone” and “take my breath away” not to mention the top gun THEME, my god – but not without having severe flashbacks of that one weekend in junior high when i stayed over at chrissy’s house and we played the movie non-stop except to snarf doritos and nap.

then i got on the ride. okay, so, the gimmick here is you become maverick. you’re going to shoot commie scum out of the sky. the adrenaline rush is solely dependent on the fact that you are fighting for the forces of all that is good and american. either that or the fact that your feet are dangling; you’re seated and the track is above you, so it’s like a killer ski lift, as i understand ski lifts. and you’re going really super amazingly fast into turns and flips and corkscrews that don’t seem to obey any law of physics, not even the lesser-known, less popular ones.

i don’t scare easily when it comes to ‘coasters. i left this ride with a new appreciation for things like, o, let’s say, breathing and walking. so if you happen to be in the general vicinity of santa clara, california, and need to have the shit not only righteously scared out of you for a minute and a half but for the next three or four weeks, go on this ride.

i knew the rest of the rides would pale in comparison, but firmly decided to enjoy the day anyway. we had overpriced and crappy lunch and then wandered over to the water ride called rip roaring rapids, one of those six-seater inner-tube deals in which everyone is whooshed along a fake set of rapids and it’s all good fun and you don’t know when you’re going to get soaked, only that you are. excellent time. chad got drenched, but i had the good sense to sit next to him so i did not.

the next ride up was “the grizzly”, a big wooden ‘coaster. originally the plan was to hit the feature rides, like “stealth”, but the lines were unreal. i am partial to the american eagle, a wooden ‘coaster located at six flags great america, which is what i consider my “home park” because i’ve been there the most. so i thought the grizzly would be like that. i went on this one with pokéjeff, who is terribly entertaining in that deadpan, “is he kidding or not” sort of way. we started out in a huge line. we ended up on the ride, waiting to go, when the wait turned into uhoh something’s wrong this is too long to wait before being hurtled outwards. turns out a woman who was on the ride before us had gotten stuck in one of the cars; she was too large for the bar restraint to register, and it locked in what it considered an “open” position and wouldn’t let go. so we had to wait for the maintenance team to get there, flip one switch, spring the woman free, and then proclaim us ready to go.

we left the loading/unloading area and started the ticky-ticky-ticky ascent that is the trademark of the wooden ‘coaster. something i did not remember about wooden ‘coasters is that even smaller-endowed women like myself get thoroughly bounced on them. this made me giggle, then pokéjeff deadpanning “i think it’s broken, i don’t remember this much racket” and i was full-out laughing before we even got to the first drop.

glad i was in such a good mood, because this ‘coaster well and truly sucked. i didn’t squeal with terror and delight; i yelled OW. OW OW OW. the bouncing threatened to pop me right out of the bar restraint; the tilted curves (which are usually my favorite part of wooden ‘coasters) were so jagged and uneven that i didn’t even realize we were in one. i couldn’t see anything. yuck.

we got our group together once more and decided to search for funnel cakes before standing for hours in another line. we found a funnel cake stand, and got in line. (d’oh.) half of the group gave up and went to stand in line for “invertigo”, another steel ‘coaster, while pokéjeff, okeydoak, and i, the hardcore funnelers, waited. and waited. an hour later, i reached the stand. i asked very clearly and plainly for one funnel cake with apple topping and a bottled water. the world’s slowest man rang me up and pronounced my total to be twelve dollars and change. now, i had had my money ready about fifteen minutes earlier, when i could see the menu, and i knew there was no damned way that one funnel cake with apple topping and a bottled water would total twelve dollars and change. i was tired, sweaty, vaguely still damp from the water ride, vaguely still unsatisfied from the wooden ‘coaster, vaguely still yearning to re-ride top gun before leaving the park. i’ll have you know that i did not flip out at this man, though. i calmly explained the error. he insisted, “that’s what it says. i’m just reading what it says.” i insisted right back. another person working in the stand came to have a look, and sure enough, he had charged me for two funnel cakes. the kicker is that he didn’t apologize. i wasn’t looking for any sort of grandiose sentiment, just a “hey, sorry” would have been fine. instead, he continued to insist that he was just reading what it said. he gave me my funnel cake and bottled water, i gave him my money, he gave me my change, i asked politely for a fork, he gave me a fork, i said thank you. immediately i felt bad for it, all of it, because you know he could have not been so great at math or at reading, and still i wouldn’t have done anything differently.

the funnel cake sucked, just so you know. it tasted like deep-fried shoelaces.

it was time to go. chad was very sunburned in the face and arms, and i was getting there. i was also getting sleepy and a bit cranky, and sure we had only been on three rides but to put that in perspective we had been there for seven and a half hours. so it was time to go. we gathered up little-man after he wobbled off invertigo, and left. the three of us had dinner back in the north bay, then dropped little-man off back at lucasland so he could ride his bike home, and then we rushed off to see “x-men” which was very good. and then home and then sleep. god, did i really finish this entry? i really did. really.

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