Monday, January 07, 2008

Like a Big, Rude Force of Nature


It isn't bad enough that people walk around here in cargo shorts and flip-flops in January, spoiling the illusion of a Winter in my mind which allows me to wear a sweater now and then.

No. Here in Texas, we leave our Water Parks open all year. The only problem with that is that people in the southern half of Texas have grown soft when it comes to actual cold. To mitigate this, the Water Parks are actually indoors with heated water and a bunch of climate control equipment which keeps the air a fairly even temperature equivalent with mid-Spring.

While I fear that my internal seasonal clock will be forever damaged by the trip, yesterday the family went to see this freak show firsthand.

What I think is probably a pretty standard Water Park most of the year is covered in plastic in the winter, allowing in some sun and trapping the heat from the water and millions and millions of space heaters.

Some of the larger rides are closed as there is no way to shield them from the natural process of the Earth's unending journey around the sun, but a surprising number of tube slides, wave pools, splash pads and lounging pools are open and eerily warm in January.

Gwynyth's favorite was the Lazy River, in which a person sits in a giant, air-filled donut and . . . Nothing, I guess. That's about it. The whole course makes a blissfully warm, enclosed circle around the park and the water is directed so that no effort is required or, in fact, appreciated.

Most of the "river" is pretty calm, but there is one corner which houses the main jets for the attraction and it gets quite turbulent there. I tried it sans tube and got bounced along the tile bottom for quite some time.

We'd take breaks from it to do other stuff, but the Lazy River was Gwynyth's favorite and we were often dragged back there.

While we had lunch in the beach area, I pulled on my Dumbledore's Army hoodie. When I later removed this hoodie, I discovered that my entire torso was coated in black fuzz. This broke my beach illusion and replaced it with one in which I mine coal, so the only reasonable thing to do was drag Gwynyth to the river and to abandon Shana to shuttle our stuff to the locker area. It was all I could do. I had stuff on me!  

Gwynyth and I started our trip around, her in a floating thing and me dragging that floating thing by the handle while rubbing the fuzz off my arms underwater. There was a lot of fuzz. My Dumbledore's Army hoodie is a warm one.

Having been around this ride a few times, I knew that the corner just before the biggest jets tends to trap the riders and hold them in place when they hit that area on the left side. I decided to avoid that fate by hugging the right side, with the idea that we would be joyfully bounced across the rapids area and out the other side, laughing and enjoying our fake summer while pointing at the noobs stuck in the corner on the left. It was a good plan. It was a solid plan.

But then, on the first bounce, it all went horribly wrong.

We were hurtling towards a woman and her small child. He was wearing a life vest and they seemed to be having a pretty difficult time crossing that area with no floatation tube. They were moving slowly. Too slowly.

I struggled to gain some purchase on the slick tile river bed and pulled back on the tube Gwynyth was riding to slow us or even just push us to one side, with the only result that I was pulled under and rolled across the bottom, where I saw this small child (apparently hit from behind by our raft) also tumbling along. He did not seem distressed, though, and when the river spit us back to the surface he was laughing. His mother was not as amused.

And that is the story of how Gwynyth and I almost drowned some kid with Down's Syndrome at a Water Park.

If you laughed at all about this, you are a horrible person. I'm looking at you Joe, Darrell and Adrian.

When the four of us get to Hell, we should have coffee.


Joe said...

Yeah ... was laughing long before I saw my name you prescient bastard.

You ran over a kid with Down's ... ahhhh, life is sweet. I have tons of jokes but I remain certain that if I write them here I'll be incarcerated.

One deals with why he tended to float and the name of the lead character on the 1990s TV show "Life Goes On".

I'll leave the rest to your imagination ...

Anonymous said...

Oh well make that 5 of us in hell b/c I laughed also


Anonymous said...


[Reads it again]



3 sugars in mine