The modern philosopher Ronan Keating once said ‘Life is a rollercoaster, you just gotta ride it’. Whilst philosophy is often a hypothetical art based firmly in the a posteriori, today, I got to experience an a priori truth. I really experienced what Keating meant all those years ago. That, or his song reminded me of a trip to Alton Towers. For anyone who is not familiar, Alton Towers is a poor mans Disney World or a rich mans Lightwater Valley* . And any 90s child in the UK worth their salt will have heard of the infamous ‘Oblivion’ rollercoaster.
The ride was opened exactly 19 years ago last Tuesday to a lot of fanfare. That is because it was the worlds first ‘drop’ rollercoaster, meaning it drops vertically in free fall. To add to the theatrics, it would drop you into a black whole and you would seemingly disappear. For the easily worried out there, you don’t actually disappear. That would have been a very unsustainable business model.
So there I was with my family, I had my Adidas poppers tracksuit on, my rip off Oakley sunglasses and my cap was firmly on a backwards (tip curved, obviously). I looked good. I felt good, we didn’t get to Alton Towers a lot as a kid so this was a big treat and we would finally get to ride the already infamous Oblivion rollercoaster.
So there we were, we had made it to the queue. We see it high above. The ride pauses right on the edge before the drop… woah… we hadn’t seen that before. The initial excitement was now over taken by trepidation. Don’t worry though that trepidation was soon replaced by utter dejection about 3 minutes later when we saw the first queue waiting times board. 1 hour and 45 minutes.
One hour and 45 minutes.
Now for a kid under ten years old you may as well have told me I’d been sent to prison for 11 years, for a crime I didn’t commit but had confessed my guilt under duress. But nevertheless, time passed, volcanos formed, puberty took hold and we eventually got to the front of the queue. This is it.
75 seconds later..
That was it? Don’t get me wrong it was exciting, for approximately 8 seconds. OK, yes, to be fair it did what it said it would, we went up, we paused, we dropped, and then disappeared.
Today disappeared*, and not in a good way. I got the standard headache, I woke up late and I was running around Vienna trying to check ‘lost and found’ offices for my lost wallet. There was a brief moment of exhilaration when… my wallet and money had been handed in to a train station!* The problem was that I immediately got it and had to go to work, and now it’s late at night. I’ve been on Oblivion, I’ve had my excitement and I’m immediately back to the start and right at the back of the queue again, all for 75 seconds of fun.
Not only that the queues were so long the first time I no longer have time to go on any other rides. I did buy some celebratory cookies for the return on my wallet but other than that, Alton Towers is closed for the day. Life truly is a rollercoaster.
*Shout out to the Light Water Valley lovers out there.
*not even joking, everything up to that point was so I could say my day went fast.
*BIG thank you to the person who handed it in!
P.S I still want your facebook soul, so go like and follow the page and you can have a cookie*
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