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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Water park lessons for control freaks

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Lynette Sowell

My front porch


It all began as a simple family outing to the water park. I prepared for a day of sun, water, good times and leaving the cell phone locked away for a day. Could I do it? Of course I could.

We found our inner tubes then got in line for the first of many rides where we’d bob along the water’s surface, splash away and maybe run some rapids here or there. What happened later made me more determined than ever to loosen up and relax.

I’ve decided that water parks aren’t a good place for control freaks. You enter the water, butt first in an inner tube and the current carries you away. At first it’s fun, but then come the rapids which suck you into a whirlpool current. Down there, you’re stuck. You watch people passing you by, laughing and squealing as you kick and squirm, trying to get out of it. Instead of going forward on the ride, you start heading backward.

There’s not much a control freak can do at the mercy of the current. The ride is supposed to go this way, not suck you backwards to collide feet first (or head first) with another scantily clad stranger stuck in an inner tube.

Finally, you figure out a way out of the whirlpool current or someone comes along with enough speed that they knock you over the ridge and onto the next part of the river.

Another lesson to control freaks: when at a water park, it’s terrifying to go down the rapids backwards. You can’t see the water rushing or the rocks along the sides of the river. We like to see what’s coming so we can brace ourselves for it, so we can kick and splash our way without getting turned over. Sometimes I’d rather see what’s coming so I can brace for it. But no, we don’t often have that privilege.

Yet another lesson learned: we have more control than we think. For the last ride, we braved The Falls, supposedly the longest water ride in the world. Plenty of rapids, twists, turns, a few lazy drifting moments and a good dunk in the drink (don’t ask about how much water I sucked in). But then came one part of the river, lazy and ambling, that curved around toward the original part of the course.

Then the course split in two directions and I found myself swirling to the left. And I found myself right back where I’d just come from and meeting a pile of squealing people on tubes shooting out from some rapids. Oops. I hadn’t meant to drift this way again. I hit that fork again and determined I’d take the right side. Here it came, but the current was too much for me and I ended up zooming merrily along to the left again. Just like life, I found myself right back where I’d just been, in some odd version of Groundhog Day at the water park.

So I did what they tell you not to do on that ride. I got out of my tube and stood up in the water. No way was I going back again. I was tired, the day was done and I had no more patience to be at the mercy of a ride when all I had to do was stand up and walk to the nearby kiddie beach. And so, I did. Sometimes, we have a little more control to change things than we think we do and we can’t blame the waters for carrying us along.


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