A colleague has a sign on her door that reads, "Do something that scares you every day." It's not a philosophy that I have ever embraced, or that I see myself embracing any time soon. My comfort zone has always seemed a fine place to be, and I have been content there ... until I met Bruce.
Let me explain. In keeping with my comfort-zone approach to life, I was seated on the "coward's wall" outside the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios. My family tried to get me to ride, but gave up and went on the roller coaster while I waited outside for them.
I chatted with a woman seated next to me, who told me her husband loved this ride, but she didn't. Turning upside down didn't agree with her, she explained. And she didn't like her head being jerked as the roller coaster went from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in just a few seconds. I sympathized with her and commended her on at least having tried it, something I would not be caught doing – ever. "I know my limits," I said.
Then her husband, Bruce, appeared at the ride's exit, a smile of delight on his face. "That was great," he commented to no one in particular.
I replied, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
"You've never ridden it?" he asked.
"No," I responded, "I don't do roller coasters, particularly ones that turn upside down. Nor do I ever plan to," I added, wanting to make sure he understood my position on roller coasters.
"You've got to try it at least once," he cajoled. "The secret to successful riding is simply to keep your head firm when it starts."
"I don't go upside down," I retorted.
"No problem," he said. "It's so fast, you don't even know it's happening."
The next thing I knew I was accompanying Bruce to the entrance of the ride. As we walked together, it occurred to me he could be a mass murderer, but then I thought, "No, this is Disney. No mass murderers in the Disney game plan. The worst thing that could happen was that he had totally misled me about the ride and I would spend the whole time upside down, or something worse. But how long could the ride be, five minutes at most? I can survive," I thought. "I am woman!"
As we were getting on the ride, my cellphone rang. I knew it was my family looking for me. But I ignored it. I was uncharacteristically grabbing life with gusto and had no time for phone calls!
We sat down and Bruce explained to me that the car was going to move to the red light and when that light turned green, the car would take off very quickly. "So," he advised, "keep your head firmly back on the support."
The red light turned green, and we were off, to the infectious music of Aerosmith. In no time I was upside down and I knew it, but it happened so quickly that by the time I processed the information, I was right side up again. The ride was over much too quickly.
As I exited triumphantly, there was my family, looks of amazement – and shock – on their faces. "I rode it," I announced with glee. They were speechless.
Meanwhile, Bruce and his wife disappeared into the crowd, never to be seen again. So, Bruce, if you're out there somewhere and happen to read this, thanks!
I may not do something scary every day as my colleague recommends, but who knows what the next roller coaster ride will bring? Maybe me on it, with my family?