My Los Angeles sister had a birthday this week and she wanted to take a balloon ride, so her husband organized one over Temecula. It seems that region now sprouts vineyards and beautiful landscapes. So they got up at the crack of dawn to be in the basket by 6:30. They were there with several other crazy people armed with bottles of champagne and off they went like Mary Poppins. She loved it.
I remember years ago taking a chairlift ride over a theme park with Alf and my children. My legs dangled from the seat and there was only a minuscule handlebar keeping me in.
There was too much sky and space around me.
I couldn’t look down.
I couldn’t look up.
Either direction made my stomach flip.
I had to keep looking straight ahead and pretend this was a bad dream that I’d soon wake up from.
Then it the middle of the ride, the chair stopped. The cable made loud, crunching noises. There I was suspended between earth and sky.
I began to perspire.
My hands locked onto the handlebar.
One of my flip-flops came off and sailed into the giraffe area. While my children squealed with delight, I was having a panic attack.
The ride resumed with a jolt and continued on forever.
I wanted to yell at the top of my lungs that I wanted off! Nobody warned me this would be hazardous to my health. So I did the next best thing – I closed my eyes, took deep breaths, and visualized strangling the owners of the park. There should be warning signs in large letters before a person gets on one of these things. How do skiers do it? I know. They’re packed into parkas and boots for protection. Me? I was in shorts and sunglasses. More in keeping with a Margarita on the ground.