I hate the Zipper

I took dd and a friend to the fair tonight.  They each got ride passes, and I became my father.  He was always the one patiently trailing my brother and I as we rode the rides and played the games and ate the junk food.  He carried all of our prizes and leftovers, and when we were very lucky, he’d ride the Twister with us.  The girls had a great time, I saw lots of people I know, and I did a lot of people-watching.

Just after dark, I noticed a family with 2 small children, each in a stroller.  An older child, not more than 7, skipped around between the parents and the strollers, taking in all the rides.  The parents were obviously excited, and counting tickets out.  I wondered what they were doing because the little girl was too young to go on any of the rides I was near.  The mom got in line to ride a pretty wild ride.  The next thing I knew, the dad had disappeared, and the little girl was in charge of the babies and the mom’s purse….and of course, herself.  So I appointed myself babysitter, but I felt so badly for this kid.  Here she is, 6 years old max, in charge of TWO one year-olds and the family’s money, after dark in a really crowded place. 

Dad checked back in, and entrusted her with his sunglasses.  About 5 min. later, he moved the whole crew over to the line for the ride he and his wife were going on.  And he left them again while the two of them rode the ride.  I know, I know, it was a 2 min. ride, and this is a reasonably small town.  I still thought this little girl is always going to be in the place of having too much independence for her age.

And then my daughter came up and informed me that her friend had talked her into riding the Zipper.  I rode the Zipper once.  About 10 years ago.  And prayed the whole time that I’d survive.  When you’re in a car that has lost control while going really fast and starts to roll, you’re supposed to be terrified–understandably so.  So why is it fun when you do the same thing in a metal cage that could break off at any moment?  But my 11 year-old decides that tonight is the night. 

So I watch people’s faces as they exit the ride.  Most are smiling, some are blank, and only 1 looks white.  I count how many more rides until my dd and her friend get on.  And then I start counting seconds when they enter the cage.  I can’t take my eyes off their car as it flips and wheels around.  2 minutes and 10 seconds later, she leaves the ride–smiling.

Independence

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