Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Like A Rollercoaster Ride With Gina at the Switch

It rained for only about 20 minutes on Saturday but I like how this photo makes it look as if Ray was so eager to jet ski he just sat in the rain and waited. In truth, it was me who spent the majority of the weekend on the jet ski. And I have the burn prove it - knees, tops of thighs, around my life jacket.

We spent the weekend relaxing on the party pontoon, cruising around on jet skis and floating in Norris Lake with some of Ray's long time friends. It was marvelous.

The real highlight for me was hanging out with 16 and 19-year old siblings, Rachel and Ryan, at the marina on Friday. The three of us ditched the 'adults' late in the afternoon to go get fried pickles and ice-cream at the snack shop.

They're both Cincinnati kids who grew up in Mason, so King's Island was both of their first jobs.

When I was in middle school and high school my parents would take me to King's Island every summer for one day. It was the highlight of my very existence. I would ride the Vortex over and over, then excitedly get in a two hour line for the Beast and follow it up with riding the Racers a million times.

Back then I couldn't have imagined the dream world it would have been to grow up near there. To my high-school eye the kids working there always seemed hot and miserable, but I imagined their lives were filled with off-hours rollercoaster rides, all the blue ice-cream they could eat and lots of flirting with other teenage King's Island workers.

In a word, heaven.

So over soft serve at the marina, Rachel and Ryan gave me the scoop on what it's like to be a teenager working at King's Island. I hope this doesn't ruin your teen years.

• Food service totally sucks but that's where you make the most money (about $8 an hour).

• I always thought being a character would be the worst job. WRONG. The characters have luxurious gigs. All they do is walk around for ten minutes, take photos with kids and then they get to sit in an air-conditioned breakroom for 45 minutes until their next character walk.

• Scratch that - the characters' escorts have the best job. They get to walk around with the character only they don't have to wear a costume or make-up and they get to sit in the air conditioned breakroom for 45 minutes. Their only real job is make sure kids don't pee on or punch the characters. (Apparently peeing on the characters is a thing.) This gig is so sweet you have to know someone to get it.

• The ride workers, the kids who check the seatbelts and safety harnesses, also have pretty good jobs. While it seems as though they are stuck at one ride all day suffering in the heat with the families who want on the mini-Eiffel Tower, they actually rotate every 30 minutes or so. Their jobs are cushy compared to food service.

• You get a free pass to go anytime you want but you never go because you have to work too much and therefore hate King's Island.

• The kids work all the time. Thirteen hour days are common. The days are even longer if you work in catering. Rachel has slept at the park several nights because her catering shift won't end until midnight and then she'll have to be back for a morning catering event at 2 a.m. to get started on breakfast prep. So she'll sleep at Timberwolf Amphitheater.

I was gripped the entire time they were telling stories. It was like every detail was more unbelievable and amazing than the previous detail.

Really?! The characters! I don't believe it! You slept at Timberwolf Amphitheater?! I saw Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine there once. Have you ever heard of them? No? It's ok. Continue!

I couldn't wait to get back and tell Ray everything I had learned about what it's really like to work at my teenage dream job.

He is going to be so pumped to know all this!

But while I was lapping up an oversized twist cone and tales from King's Island, it was turning dusk. Unbeknownst to me, Ray was back at the pontoon and then the condo wringing his hands wondering where we were and at what point he was going to call the authorities and take the speedboat out to look for us.

Oblivious, Rachel and Ryan and I went speeding off on our jet skis back to the cove. Rachel was on the back of my jet ski and every time we'd bounce off of a wave we'd both squeal with delight and crack up laughing. We went to the cove to find everyone had left. No worries, we'll just speed over some more waves and motor on over to the condo! Wee!!!!

I roll into the condo after the time of my life with my new teen best friends, filled with fried pickles and ice-cream, laughing and yucking it up, to find Ray somberly wanting to know where we were.

'I thought you were lost. I didn't know if you knew how to get back to the cove. Lake Norris is a big lake. Maybe you ran out of gas. Maybe the jet ski broke down. It was six minutes from getting dark. I was about to come find you!'

Hee hee hee. Oops. Everyone else may have been drunk on Summer Shandy, but me and the teens were drunk on freedom!

So I excitedly tell Ray all the stuff about King's Island and he's like, 'I hate King's Island. You know I don't like rollercoasters.'

'Yeah but, teenagers! They're so funny and really sweet. Who knew?! And the characters have the best jobs, can you believe it?!'

'Yeah, crazy. I was really worried about you. So if this happens again I've devised an emergency plan...'

Blah blah blah. I didn't hear anything after that.

The next day I did get lost on the jet ski. Norris Lake, it turns out, is really big. I got turned around, lost my bearing and got kind of panicky when I couldn't find my way back. I was gone for like two hours and no one noticed.


No comments: