There are moments in one’s life when one realizes they are not as young as they used to be. That moment was Friday evening when my husband and I went on a double date with our friends across the street. We thought it would be a lot of fun to go tubing at the local man-made snow hill. And tubing we did.
The evening was going well. We opted to eat some dinner in the food court before sliding down the hill, then as per usual, we all went “to the potty” before making the trek to the tubing area. I’ve found that since I’ve been a mother, I reference “the potty” more times than I’d like to admit. My dogs go “to the potty”, my children go “to the potty”, and even I go “to the potty” even when my children are not with me. On more than one occasion I’ve been out to lunch with a friend only to excuse myself because “I need to go potty”.
I digress. I ever so smartly dressed in multiple layers, which proved to be difficult to do in the reverse in a small bathroom stall. Frightened that an article of clothing might fall into the toilet, I stuffed my gloves inside my hat and my hat inside whichever pocket I could find that would fit them. I’ll spare you the rest of my experience undressing.
Once layering back up, we went to the ticket counter upon which I saw a sign that said “The tubes are running: FAST!”. I asked the attendant, “What does that mean?”. She answered, “The tubes are running down the hill very fast…. but there are bails of hay to catch you at the bottom”. Oh, well, thank goodness for that…Dear Lord, what have we gotten ourselves into?
My friend and I made plans to get hot chocolate on the way back home so that occupied most of our time when walking to the tubes, trying to hide my fear of crash landing into the bails of hay. During the walk, it was unanimous decision between my husband, me, and our friends that my children would not last the death march to the tube hill. Therefore, we will not take them until they are much older, as I do not want to listen to “I’m tired of walking” a million times until we reach the tube hill.
Truth be told, the walk was not bad at all, but for my winey children, it would be. They’ll have flashbacks of when we went on the death march lead by my husband into the snowy trails at the back of our old house. I can hear my daughter now: “Mommy, this is like the time daddy took us on that walk in the woods and there was no where to walk so we had to hug the wall or we’d fall down the cliff”. Me: “Yes, honey, this is just like that, only no cliff. Keep walking”.
Once we arrived to the tube hill we all grabbed a tube and headed to the moving sidewalk-like contraption that takes you up the hill. A teenager at the entrance, with his nose buried deep into his phone, could care less if we were not following the rules, which consisted of “no exposed hair”. My friend and I quickly tuck our hair into our hats, as if that teenager would care. We are of an age where we follow the rules. #sorrynotsorry
After stumbling onto the people mover with our tubes and trying to maintain my balance, we all discuss how fast people are traveling down the tube hill. Yes, they are indeed fast….Oh my! Look, those people got spun down the hill….I don’t think my heart could take that. So ensued the conversation of my heart.
Little known fact about myself: I pass out on roller coasters. It’s something that developed as an adult, disappointingly. In the days of my youth I could go on any roller coaster and be unaffected. I would go repeatedly on them! Get done, run to the back of the line, do it all over again. It was amazing. Until one summer, as an adult well into my 20’s, when the roller coaster ride came to an end and my heart started fluttering, I got nauseous, then passed out. The car I was in was about 3 sets of cars behind the exit of the ride, maybe 100 yards away. When I woke up, my head was stuck in the shoulder harness and people were pulling me off, splaying me out on the platform. The park medics came and brought me back to their station. Upon returning home, I promptly made an appointment with a cardiologist.
Years later I thought I’d attempt another roller coaster, because well, time heals all wounds….or an increased vagal tone with PVCs….or not. Though determined to be benign, it’s still something I need to be cautious of because no one likes to pass out in front of a crowd.
This story was then retold to each teenager at the helm of the tube lines. When they asked “How do you want to go down the hill?”, I responded in my head with “Safely” but spat out “What do you mean?”. They would say “Do you want to be spun?”. I would say “No, just normal tubing, please”. They always had a smirk on their face like “Yeah right, I’m going to spin this tube so hard!”. So I said, “No really. No spinning. I have a heart condition” …. each. and. every. time I went down the hill I had to tell this because there was always someone new at the top waiting to propel me down the hill. I’m sure I thoroughly annoyed everyone within ear shot of my loud voice. By the end of the evening, one of the last hill attendants says, “Yeah, I’ve heard”…..
Back to the going down the hill for the first time: It was terrifying. I honestly thought the tube was going to flip over the snow embankment. Luckily, it did not. When my friend and I got to the bottom, my heart was racing, I was dizzy, and thought for sure I was going to pass out. I took a breather, let my heart rate slow down, then did it again. It was fun, but it took a couple of times down the hill for me to realize that I wasn’t going to pass out. We took turns going down the hill in different combinations: me and my husband, my friend and her husband, me my friend and my husband, then the most fun of all was me, my husband, my friend, and her husband. The men, going down the hill backwards and my friend and I going forward. All linked up zooming down the hill. Ice spraying into our faces. It was hilarious and painful and exhilarating all at the same time.
However, we all decided that eating greasy bar food before tubing was a bad idea. We were reminded of how old we are not only by our gastric upset but also by the gaggle of children wildly running by us on the human sized conveyer belt. The excitement of tubing down a hill at lightening speed in their eyes. My friends and I all looked at each other and agreed that we are indeed getting older.
If I didn’t fully realize my age then, it happened the next day when my entire body was sore. My shoulder hurt from dragging the tube behind me. My tailbone hurt from my body battering against the hard ground. My legs hurt from walking up the small hill at the end of the people mover. I am getting old. And out of shape. But I can’t wait to do it again.