“Cross your arms over your chest, cross your ankles and keep them that way.”
The young tanned attendant at the top of the water slide instructed as I lay down in the water at the top of a tube with a downward trajectory. Her tone implied the multiple times she repeated that exact phrase to folks who chose to descend from this tower without benefit of tube or mat. Perhaps her manner of factness should have calmed me. However, it was only a breath away from my plunge with her words in my ear that I had any second thoughts about what I was about to do…And I was OFF!
Besides the rate of the descent, the darkness of the tube gave me no light references as I flipped up one side only to twirl around to the other side during the thousands of curves–well, it seemed like a thousand–gathering momentum as I zipped along. I would have applied the brakes, oh, right there were no brakes.
I tried laying my head back only to have it bounced up and down repeatedly, so arms and feet still crossed, I attempted to hold it slightly off the tube. My heart raced as the spiral turned into a straight away and my speed increased. I saw light and thought I should take a breath…OH WELL, TOO LATE!
There I was gulping water not air, totally disoriented meaning I had no *&^% idea where the top of the water was when a pair of young strong arms plucked me up above the surface, plunged his fists into my diaphragm so that I produced a spout of water that would make a Momma Whale proud, followed by coughing, choking, strident breathing and two days later a faint aroma of chlorine every time I take a breath. He retrieved my sunglasses, another poor choice on my part and assisted me out of the pool to meet my daughter and granddaughter.
I AM STILL COUGHING UP CRUD!
The remainder of the day went by without any serious incidents in our group, but my husband Terry did suggest that maybe both of us should exercise good sense in light of our age, our various physical impairments, and medications. It did not matter that ONCE I could do exactly what I had just done so pitifully, successfully. I am 70 years old, diagnosed with A Fib, osteoporosis of my lumbar spine, have an anterior plate in my neck, take platelet inhibitors and hypertension meds, but darn it! inside I am still no more than 40!
I saw a family measuring their children at a sign that said must be at least this tall to ride this ride and thought maybe they needed one for folks like me who sometimes forget that the aging body might not bounce right back up.
Nevertheless, crossed arms and ankles–like in a coffin– plunging with uncontrollable abandon I am glad I did it because I MADE IT!
Also, as a footnote after having experienced my own “waterboarding” I am firmly against it as a form of interrogation–anything a person says after near drowning can not be relied on as intelligent or intelligence. You have my word on that!