And I hope they don’t hold it against me that I don’t. That the only thing I have ever in my life enjoyed about riding roller coasters is when the cars pull to a stop and I know I’ve survived.
Terror, to me, is not fun. Nor is whiplash. Or being up-side-down. Or dropping from heights overly fast.
I know this is not a macho viewpoint, and I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I am not macho when it comes to roller coasters, and there is no point at my advanced age in pretending otherwise.
I take some small satisfaction from knowing that some of those same close personal friends who like roller coasters don’t like merry-go-rounds. Merry-go-rounds, in fact, make them nauseated with the round and round rotations in the same dizzying direction, and they avoid them at all costs.
Merry-go-rounds I can handle, though I recognize I don’t get any macho points from anyone on that.
Two points can be made from this: One, that it’s OK to recognize what you’re good at and admit what you’re not. Two, that it’s OK to be different.
I’m going with being different.
Different is what makes the world go round: Day and night, mountains and oceans, animals and trees, oxygen and vegetables. People who start businesses, people who clean houses, people who teach school, people who lead organizations.
People who are young, people who are old, people who are from different cultures or different religions or different classes, people who believe in helping the poor, people who believe in protecting the country, people who create wealth, people who create art.
We need different.
It’s long been established that opposites attract in relationships. That is how I learned to ski.
I would never have learned to ski (too much dropping from heights overly fast) without encouragement from someone I greatly admired and wanted to be greatly admired by.
But I decided I would do it and I did.
This is not to say I let him teach me to ski. That is a mistake I see and hear being made all too often. Note to those with a significant other who wants to teach you to ski: Here’s how it will happen: He or she will say “it’s easy, just bend your knees and lean like this” and after you’ve gone 10 feet and only fallen twice, they’ll say you’re ready for the hill that’s just slightly bigger but you can handle it and they’ll take you up to the top of the mountain – not because you’re ready but because they’re bored on the bunny hill – and you’ll be so terrified and mad that after five or six more falls you’ll take off your skis and stomp down the hill and never ski again. Better to do it the way I did: read the book and follow the prompts in “Ski in six days” by Billy Kidd. It works. Better for the skier, better for the relationship.
So, different is good. You learn to ski. You learn to listen to music or consider political views or taste foods that may be vastly different from those you’d chosen on your own. And you are likewise able to introduce different ideas and pastimes and passions to others.
We have different in America. And if we accept it like roller coaster preferences or embrace it like skiing, it will make us better.