Sunday, October 19, 2008

Farewell Six Flags

Phipps and I spent Sunday at Six Flags in an effort to preserve our youth. We woke up early, dressed in warm clothes, grabbed bagels and OJ, and were on our way. After a few rides, fatigue hit us and we started to feel...OLD! We were in pain everywhere from head to toe and were eager to sit down at any opportunity. The chitter-chatter from teenagers irritated us and the thought of standing in line for another two hours was no longer fun. We came to the conclusion that we simply outgrew our beloved Six Flags.

(We were exhausted and needed to take naps)

Six Flags has always brought back fond childhood memories for me --- nostalgia at its best. Growing up as the eldest child with three siblings (all brothers) and traditional Chinese parents was definitely no walk in the park. My brothers and I were expected to help with the family business as soon as we were tall enough to reach over the counter to hand customers their change. And since girls develop quicker than boys, you can only guess who spent most of their childhood helping mom and dad at the shop. That's right, it was none other than yours truly. So when my school planned field trips to Six Flags, it was something I always looked forward to --- no school, no annoying brothers, and no work!

I loved every moment. Staying up the night before contemplating which outfit I would wear and who I would sit with on the bus. Sneaking a can of Coke into my lunch bag when my parents weren't looking. Secretly asking my father for a few dollars for "emergencies," e.g. ice cream, churros, funnel cake, etc. Asking my mother for money would only elicit unnecessary dissertations about how money doesn't grow on trees, blah, blah, blah. Oh, how I envied my peers with parents who handed them a twenty dollar bill to buy lunch and snacks!

After arriving at the theme park, we separated into groups and were off on our own for seven hours! We decided which rides we wanted to go on, when we would stop for lunch, where we wanted to eat, and when we would stop for bathroom breaks --- absolute autonomy! It was my first taste of independence and I immediately became addicted.

All these years I thought I enjoyed Six Flags for the thrills and rides, but in reality that's only part of the reason why it brought back so many fond memories. Six Flags represented freedom. Freedom from my parents, my family obligations, my life at home. Don't get me wrong, I admit to being an adrenaline junkie and I love that empty stomach feeling when plunging down a steep drop on a roller coaster, but looking back at it now, the rides were just the surface because it goes so much deeper than that.

I realized that I never left Six Flags that day, but perhaps it's time to say farewell as I enter a new phase in my life --- a phase that embraces a lifelong partnership with someone who wants to explore a new theme park with rides that have never been ridden before.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I can totally relate to you about being the eldest. I'm the eldest of 6 and after the last ones were born, my parents felt that it was imperative to open up a restaurant because they could use all the kids as free labor.

My only escape was school field trips too and I LOVED it!! It was my window to the world but it wasn't easy having them sign my permission slip!

So glad six flags is a special place for you as it is for me. It's the one place I can be a kid again. Good memories.

Kim Hong said...

Thanks for your comment. I'm glad you could relate - I'm totally on the same page with you regarding the "free labor" observation. I used to joke about it growing up, but it's so true. Gotta love our parents :)

Ahhh permission slips! My mother actually gave me permission to sign on her behalf, except when it came to watching the sex ed video of a woman giving birth. That was an absolute no-no.

Anonymous said...

haaa six flag ,knott scary farm,good memories....