In lieu of my traditional end of year posts, I instead offer an anecdote I offered a friend when summarizing my year, one that was left out of the relevant post:
On September 9th, around 3 PM, I went on the Cyclone at Coney. It was the last day that Astroland was going to be in existence; I had already seen the Zipper get driven away. In an effort to get the ride finished sooner (always hate the lines!), I opted for the last car – which I would be sharing with someone else. Someone considerably larger than me.
Sure enough, I had forgotten everything I had ever been told (NEVER RIDE THE LAST CAR) in a wave of nostalgia.
The first 30 seconds were fantastic, even as my back was reeling and my chest was crunching into the bar as we free-fell over and over again. Then we hit a sharp turn and my seatmate slammed into me, nearly breaking my ribs. It wasn’t much fun anymore, it was just pain – so I braced myself to avoid a repeat, and held on for the remainder of the ride.
I got off, collected my bag – cursing myself for deciding to lug all of my lenses and a monopod with me that day. It hurt enough to nearly bring me to tears, but not nearly enough to have me call an ambulance. At the same time – that was going to be my closing memory on Coney Island? I was livid in my pain – walked onto the beach, shot a 270° panorama, and hobbled to the train home.
It would hurt to breathe for the next week, and the pain would continue for about three weeks – and I think it ended right around the time they announced that, surprise, Astroland will be open again next year!
2007 is all right there – the joy, the pain that makes you wince, the regret and the stupid dramatic twist at the end.
Rollercoaster of a year, indeed.