Sunday, January 11, 2009

Kraaken and Rip Offs

I've got a couple things on the agenda today. We'll start out with a true story and we'll end with a bit of a complaint. Sounds like a fun day, doesn't it? I know, I know, complaining isn't normally "the thing to do," but I think you'll like it. It involves George Clooney. So keep reading, would ya?

Alrighty, let's begin with the true story.

If you've read here much at all, you've heard me mention my good friend, Kristen. I THINK I referred to her as my enabler for something, but I can't remember now what I was blaming her for. I'm sure it will come to me later. Well I'm NOT really that sure. We're talking about my memory after all. But whatever. She's a wonderful friend who (in our imaginations) lives just around the corner. Nevermind the fact our addresses contain "Florida" and "Texas." That's all just a state of mind. Okay that was stupid. FOCUS, Hill.

Well, two summers ago...that would be the summer of 2007...(see how quick I did that math???)...she and her hubby and four daughters came to visit and we spent a week or so together. Kristen will remember how long. Details get fuzzy for me...just like my jaws, dang it. Ok, nevermind that. It's what Nair is for. Anywho, we spent a few days at our house in Cape Coral, hit the local water park, the Shell Factory, and ummmmm, heck, I can't remember now...the beach? Surely the beach was in there. Oh yes! The beach. K and her fam all went out on the waverunner like maniacs. Insane. Did they NOT notice the ocean beneath them? Thanks for the freak out, people. I owe you.

After some days of fun in the sun, we allllllll headed up to Orlando. We shared a condo, did a bit of evening swimming, and hit SeaWorld. Now, I could go into a whole lot of mini stories...if I only had a brain...but seeing as how I'm focus-challenged this evening I'm going to go ahead and zero right in on our little ride on Kraaken. I'm going to totally leave out the part about Steve (that would be K's hubby) running out of gas on their way to the airport because he had it all under control and knew just how far he could make it on that tank. Not even going to bring that part up, because if I did, I'd roll off the couch laughing hysterically and I've got a blog to write!

Ok, it was just Kristen and me waiting in line to ride Kraaken. Steve got his brains squished years ago and can't ride roller coasters anymore so he kept the kids in kiddie playland while K and I went and hit the big rollercoaster. (Is that a compound word? I apparently can't decide.) Now if I'm not mistaken (and there's a good chance I AM) Kraaken is a legendary sea monster. THAT should have warned me it was not a good idea. I KNOW the sea/ocean is evil. I KNOW it is not my friend. I KNOW because of the awful panic that ensues at the thought of riding a large ship, seeing a submarine movie, contemplating riding a wave runner. It's what the nerds (yes, that's me) call Thalassaphobia. Sounds even worse, doesn't it. Kristen should have known better, too. Because she's thalassaphobic, too. Only she's crazier than me because she watches shark documentaries addictively. WHO DOES THAT??? Hmmm, I'm afraid of the dark. Let's turn off the lights!! lol

Ok, so we should have known better, but we waited in the mongo sized line. And we waited. And we waited. And we waited. And THEN............we waited. But FINALLY we made it up into the sweltering, stifling heat and humidity of the little house where you go into yet MORE lines where there's no breeze and we waited some more. Because that's the way it works. I guess if you're not tough enough to wait it out, you shouldn't be on the ride anyway. Kind of weeds out the wimps. But I'm no wimp, and neither is K, so wait we did. The lady right behind us was riding alone. Her husband refused to come with her. Now we know that HE was the smart one. (Sense any foreshadowing here???) And now FINALLY (for real) it was our turn. We got on the ride and by "luck of the draw" I got the seat that they reserve for "oversized adults." Meaning Kristen and I could have shared it comfortably. But it only had one belt so I was stuck flying solo in it. VERY VERY fortunately, the worker boy came over and cinched up the harnesses...and cinched...and cinched. Finally I was in there nice and snug. Down came the shoulder thingiemabobbers and the ride began. I don't remember what we talked about as the ride started, but I'm sure we were gabbing because that's what we do. I KNOW that Kristen was laughing herself silly that I was in the extra large chair. What were the chances that Queen of the Toothpick Arm People would get the big chair? Anyway, the ride took off, we went upside down, twisted every which way, vrooming all over the place kamakazi style ... and at the speed of...well, not light ... and not sound .... but dang, it was FAST. And fun. For a while. We're flying along and getting ready to head into the final stretch at... however many miles per hour they make those things go, suffice it to say we were at top speed. And then. INSTANTANEOUSLY we were completely stopped. There was no slow down. It was heartbeat at 100mph, the next heartbeat completely still. It happened too fast to be scared. It was one of THE most hilarious moments of my life. Do you know what it looks like when you stop that fast? It's a hilarious sight. Hilarious isn't really a strong enough word. It was just too funny. When you stop that fast you know why you were given a good snug harness and good strong over-the-shoulder thingiemabobbers. But you know what? Your arms and your legs....they don't have anything but your tendons and muscles and skin holding onto them. So you know what happens. Your arms and legs shoot straight out in front of the very same moment as everyone else's do. It's like ... synchronized swimming. BOING! I could see everyone in my peripheral. Arms and legs sticking straight out ahead...and seeming to suspend in midair a few seconds before they all dropped. So hilarious. I looked for a photo but I couldn't find one. I suppose no one had their camera ready. Imagine that.

We sat there for a minute or so when a HIGHLY trained employee came on the intercom. She asked us to wave if we could hear her voice. We waved. She then informed us that they were having some technical problems. That was a major shock to all of us who'd just become part of a slapstick movie where we have no control of our limbs. But to give her some credit, I guess you have to start SOMEwhere. She then informed us that we were waiting for maintenance and that they were coming "to rescue" us. Yep, she said we were going to be rescued. Didn't instill a lot of calm really. I can't remember all she said, but her vocabulary was not the type to put the precarious people at ease. So we were back to waiting. We could see below us, past our now dangling legs. We lost count of how many golf carts of "maintenance" people went past...going AWAY from Kraaken. Kristen tried to help. She screamed, "MAINTENANCE!" so many times I'm surprised she didn't lose her voice...which only made me laugh hysterically. I was really enjoying the experience...even the panic-inducing lady on the intercom cracked me up. It was just...surreal. Well, after who knows HOW long, the lady came back on the intercom and informed us that in a moment we were going to begin moving...I guess so we wouldn't panic, lol. Now THIS is the part of the story where I start to feel some concern. You see, there wasn't just one train of cars on the rollercoaster. There were two. We could see the other train. They were technically behind us on the ride, but because of all the curves we could clearly see them ahead and to our right. Now the ride went so fast that we have no idea how many curves and loops are between us and our followers. But the intercom lady said we were going to start moving. So we waited for it. And waited for it. Then EVERYONE on OUR train notices that the OTHER one is moving. We were NOT. So, I guess I figured it was time for a little public service announcement and so I called out, "OK, PEOPLE! GET READY FOR A LITTLE JOLT!!" It was a wonderful moment for me. When will I EVER get to use that line again. It was swwwweet! lol

And a moment later we began to move. And if I recall there was a bit of applause from those of us who wanted out of the way of the train that was closing in on us, lol.

We got off the ride. No injuries. Just a good story to tell. So was a good experience, right? And NO, I do NOT want to ride another rollercoaster. But thank you for asking.

Ok, end of true story. Now it's time to complain.

I'll make this as brief as I can. Think "Facebook." I don't know about the rest of you, but I GUESS because I am listed as single, I get ads in the side pane for every singles website on the net. I ignore them. Even the ones that advertise millionaire singles. I'm thinking...why on earth does a millionaire have to resort to a singles ad?? I mean, seriously. Anyway, that's not the complaint. I know, I promised you George Clooney, and I'm getting to him. All these singles ads come up on my facebook. And I canNOT count the times that some singles website ad comes up with George Clooney's face! I mean, seriously? Am I supposed to believe that if I sign up with them, I'm going to get a date with George Clooney? Does George REALLY need a singles website to find someone? Really? I just have a little word of advice for web advertisers. Single does not necessarily mean GULLIBLE. There's a difference. I don't care if I DID buy beachfront property in Arizona. Clooney is NOT on your site! Quit trying to rip me off!

That's all for today. Except a word of advice: next time you ride a 'coaster, DO buckle up. Oh! And if a singles site promises Clooney...It's probably Rosemary.