Recall that we all needed a rest after last week’s jolting ride on the “Dodgem” and opted for a picnic break. I already knew what yummy foods Mom had packed in her wicker basket, so I wasn’t surprised to find fried chicken, bread and butter sandwiches, relishes, hard boiled eggs, fruit, potatoes chips, and home-made chocolate brownies along with a red checked table cloth, paper napkins, dinnerware and a cooler with lemonade. 

While Dave and my passengers began digging in, I decided to check on Electra before picnicking. I walked along Lake Erie’s shore until viewing Electra in the distance. She was still safely parked where I last left her, unbothered by earlier passersby who thought she was a new ride in the park. HAHA, if only they knew about Electra’s time travel powers! 

Electra and I greeted one another, I with a wave of my hand and she with a spin of her propeller. We had a brief conversation about the three amusement park rides taken thus far. “Laff in Dark” created an illusion of being upside down. The “Fun House” with Laughing Sal, a terrifying 6’10” doll, standing guard at its entrance where, once inside, we faced many a scary illusion. Finally the “Dodgem,” with crashing and banging bumper cars roughing us up. Since the cars weren’t real … no-one was hurt. 

I asked Electra,“How could only three amusement park rides leave us dizzy, tired, stressed and even hungry?” The cockpit lights on Electra’s dashboard began to blink and sputter as she activated her search engine. Here are but three responses  Electra found

1. May 1, 1999  article in Psychology Today

“…Many of us have a need to expose ourselves to sensations different from our daily routine. This helps us to feel more stimulated by life. Identifying with the dark side of human nature can be quite cathartic for us as well. For designers, primarily engineers for coasters and theatrical artists for haunted houses, turning fear into fun depends on illusion. The common denominator is the same basic fear: loss of control…” 

2.  2013 article in Today

“…While one person’s scary might be another person’s enjoyable, some  of us are pre-destined from birth to choose a more terrifying life route. Personal pleasure can vary widely. So whether you’re facing your fears by doing something terrifying or by watching a scary movie, remember either one can feel gratifying and rewarding…”

3.  2017 Article in Psychology Today

“…When we get scared, our bodies will go into fight, flight or freeze mode. If we are in a setting where we get a “safe” fright (eg watching  a horror film, visiting a haunted house, or playing a scary video game) our brains quickly evaluate the situation and tell us that we are free from risk… Thus, many of us are actually seeking “controlled” fear and suspense, because we know we are safe.”

“OK Electra, I guess fear and hunger might pair up, as in nervous eating! But as I think about the illusions, misperceptions, tricks and frightening experiences one calls fun, I am convinced foolery may be but a preparation for future events awaiting along life’s paths. We all travel different roads and elect different rides in our personal amusement parks. Some rides are pleasant, some are challenging while others we wish were bad dreams … but when we wake up, we find reality must be faced! How do we handle such rides? 

I return to the picnic gathering,  finding only a single bread and butter sandwich left. After gobbling it down I announce, “Electra is ready to take off.” My happy passengers with tummies full, follow me to Electra’s boarding staircase. I say goodbye to my young, handsome Dave and get ready to meet a different Dave in 1996.  

Stay tuned to learn more …