I would have to say that one of my favorite past times is people watching. I'm a bit of a wise-ass (you think?) and find it amusing to see "different" people and either point out something odd about them or just create a story about where they're going and what they're thinking. I've been doing this in camera form as well, if you've checked my facebook or myspace picks in the past. It's actually pretty fun and quite amusing, if you've never tried it.
Anyway, no place is more perfect for people watching than an amusement park. I actually hadn't been to an amusement park since Amy and I went to Hershey Park over three years ago, so when Danielle got free tickets to Six Flags, I figured, why not?
I had a football game on Saturday morning, so after cleaning up and picking her up, we make it to the park area around 2 PM. I figured this wouldn't be all that bad since I imagine most of the crowd gets there earlier in the day so they can get their money's worth out of the park. I figured wrong. The lineup of cars just to turn into the park was ridiculous and then the wait to actually pay for parking ($15!!!!) was even worse. Think, Jersey Turnpike Southbound at the Delaware Bridge in mid-Summer.
Needless to say, our spirits are high and after finding a spot, I discuss with Danielle my underlying goals while at the park. She's on board and we begin to bet on the number of grown men in sports jerseys, mullets, and mohawks we will see. And then I pull out an ultimate bet. Having been to many a theme park in my day, I put a guarantee that we will see one fat person trying, despite the obvious difficulty, to fit into a roller coaster seat. Considering how late in the day that it is, the odds are against me, but I'm feeling lucky on this particular day.
And I better be feeling lucky, because while waiting in line I notice an exceptionally large number of men with long black beards and women wearing robes with their faces covered. Upon entering the turnstyles into the park, I walk through a metal detector monitored by armed policemen, and I'm starting to wonder if I made a wrong turn. It is only after a few steps into the "Main Street" area that I see the banner.
"The Nation of Islam welcomes you all to Muslim Day at Six Flags"
Seriously, I can't make this shit up. I've told you before, I swear I'm living in a movie. So, we grab a map and start heading for our first roller coaster. I spot several mohawks in rapid succession followed by a few Redskins jerseys, and then we pass the log type water ride that usually soaks stupid kids that wait at the "observation booth." You know you know the one I'm talking about, every park has them. Anyway, it's closed. Peculiar. We tredge onward and make it to the rollercoaster we've selected...it's closed. Even more peculiar. Come to think of it, I haven't heard the click click click...aaawwwwwwww!!! of any of the rides.
Has homeland security done the ultimate in stereotyping and ordered Six Flags to leave the rollercoasters off on Muslim day? Thankfully, they haven't, but several rides are oddly closed as we make our way to the Joker's jynx. I'm doing my typical people watching as we wait for almost 45 minutes to get on the ride. It is at this point that the girl operating the ride tells Danielle that she can't have her bag in her lap during the ride...or put it on the side. What happened to the old fashioned cubbies on the side of the rollercoaster? Thankfully, the girl caves under the pressure of all the people in line and the relative simplicity of putting the bag on the ground, because I was not about to get off this rollercoaster after all the leadup time it took to get here.
After that, we continue to wander and that is when I come across another great moment in Amusement Park history. During my search for men wearing jerseys I see two apparently Muslim guys walking in our direction...both in jerseys. One is wearing a Jason Campbell jersey, and the other...
Yes, a Muslim man wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey with "Muhammed" written across the back. Seriously. I'm not shitting you. This is bordering on a moment as great as the Asian girl crossing the street wearing a Rice sweatshirt from a couple years back.
But I digress. We make our way to one more rollercoaster, realize that Danielle is supposed to put her bag in an actual locker (that you have to pay for) and my mind begins to numb as we are waiting for almost an hour before we get to the front of the line.
I've lost interest in even looking for jerseys, mullets and mohawks at this point. We're discussing just calling it a day after this one since neither one of us is too fond of the line waiting, and I was less than impressed with the last rollercoaster anyway. And then it happens.
The group directly in front of us to get on the Superman coaster, back seat, a 6 foot, 3 inch, possibly 300 lb. black man nestles into the left seat. I tap on Danielle's shoulder in excitement as the show begins. We both turn and watch as he gives a pull on the seat belt that must first be put on before the harness. He tugs. He squeezes. He adjusts. He tugs again. He shifts in the seat. He looks around awkwardly. I'm crying it's so perfect. One more squeeze. He is actually physically shaking as he pulls at the obviously overextended straps. One more adjustment. More awkward looking around. He's gotta keep trying. Danielle is now crying. And with a great inhale, an aggressive shaking session as he pulls on the strap, and one final squeeze, he's in. The look on his face nearly put me on the floor.
And that my friends is why I love Amusement Parks. Two rollercoasters (we made it to one more before calling it) in and we see our fat guy. What are the odds??!!