I am on a quest to find fun. My goal is to try as many activities as possible that are fun and silly and playful and then just do them. It is not such an easy task. I am effortlessly reminded by my mind that you are not supposed to do something that has no purpose other than enjoyment. Wow, did my mind actually say that? My loving heart would argue that the only purpose worth yielding is enjoyment – enjoyment of life and people and work. Why not enjoy something so elementary as play?
A few weeks ago, I had a hankering for the exhilarating fun of an amusement park ride, particularly a roller-coaster. Rye Playland is about an hour away, so on an August Thursday morning, Andy and I went out for breakfast then headed to the park to be there when it opened at 10AM (anticipating that it might be packed). It wasn’t very crowded – actually it was rather empty except for groups of summer-camp kids with their counselors. We were by far much older than anyone else there but we were game to play like kids. It was very hot so we walked around dashing from shaded spot to shaded spot as much as was available. The first ride we went on was a small roller-coaster of a sort called the Crazy Mouse. Instead of a set of connected cars, this ride has individual cars that sit two people. Each car takes off and glides along metal rails, whipping around corners and speeding down short runs.
Now that my feet were wet, we went to the Dragon Coaster, an old-fashioned wood roller-coaster – Andy’s and my favorite kind. We have been fortunate to ride a number of these old-style coasters in various locations from California to Ohio to New York. We have experienced the Giant Dipper on the boardwalk in Santa Cruz, the Blue Steak in Cedar Point (as well as several of their incredible and numerous metal coasters) and the Cyclone at Coney Island. We were delighted to add the wood Dragon Coaster at Playland to our list. One of the best parts of wood coasters is the clickety-clack sound that they make. Some find that noise scary while I find it comforting and real. The downside of some wood coasters is that they are so jerky that you feel your neck getting pulled to and fro. Fortunately the Dragon was just perfect. It had the furious sound of clickety-clacking with a smooth ride. How the Dragon achieved that smooth ride I don’t know, but the ride absolutely fit the bill as “play”.
About a week later and it was a Monday. For some reason (Monday being reason enough) the mind gremlins were playing a particularly nasty game of ping-pong in my head (and Andy’s too as it turned out). So it was particularly fitting that the play activity that presented itself that day was paddle ball. Andy and I were taking a break from work and trying to quiet the mind-chatter by speaking aloud our worries of the day when I said, let’s go outside and play. His eyes lit up and he said in an instant, “paddle ball?” So we suited up by putting on sneakers and grabbed the paddle ball set that my mom had just given us at the start of the summer. A car went by our yard and I could actually see the driver smiling as she caught us playing. Andy and I were laughing and smiling and running around like children, completely enjoying the playfulness and each other’s company. Playing is so needed in this world and the joy that it creates it is very contagious. How are you going to play today?