Hey I'm writing a post completely unrelated to the kids.
This last summer we went to a fair like thing here in Visby...I think they called it kid's day or something. There were probably 10 rides and one of them was a tilt-o-whirl ride that was called the Octopus (or something similar). There were other rides and we took pictures of the girls but I couldn't find any of the pictures right now and I have instead been inspired to write about my experience on the Octopus ride.
First of this is a pretty run down deal. Everything is worn and patched and generally looked like is it just barely kept running, you know the perfect things to put your kids on/in. The staff was also, for the most part, largely aware of where they were. With the exception of the guy at the bouncy castle that was completely unaware of his surroundings for long, long stretches of time, but hey, free bouncy castle for everyone!
This octopus ride looked right up my alley and I went straight there. Surprisingly enough there was no line and I was able to hop right on. The gentleman operating this ride, a younger man around 25, was sporting a very greasy ponytail and had a large soiled bandage on his forearm with dried blood clearly visible through it. I felt immediately like this was going to be good.
One other person hopped on and the operator, clearly aware of our tight schedules, didn't even bother to check if the safety bars were down before heading over to the control station and flipping the ride on and, I can only assume, cranking it up to the level that had been marked as 'meat-grinder' some 20 years earlier but had long since worn away. The man then lit a cigarette up and walked away, no need to get another arm injury from flying pieces of the ride I can only assume. The first few seconds went as expected, the ride slowly picking up speed and alternately pressing me into the wall of the seat and sliding me to the middle of the seat before pressing me back into the wall. At some point the alternations became less noticeable because the time between and middle of the seat and the wall dwindled to a point that really was just a state of constantly feeling like my shoulder was being crushed while my head moved like a pretty standard bobble head doll.
After a few minutes the ride operator came over and put out his cigarette on the side of the control panel, or it could have been in the vicinity of the control panel, my vision wasn't terribly clear. I saw the end of the ride and had mixed feelings that the ride was coming to an end so soon. I was wrong in thinking that to be the cause. The operator pulled out another cigarette glanced up at us and cranked something on the control panel and then walked away. The ride made a delightful grinding noise and slowly came to a brief stop before immediately reversing direction. I was able to lock my legs against the side of the ride and my back to the other side permitting for a bit clearer view of the other person the ride. He looked like he was also having a great time by the drool leaking from the corner of his mouth and the strained look on his face.
Three cigarettes later we both stumbled off the ride. I have to say it was probably one of the best rides I have been on in a long time. Honestly I cannot think of a time when I was on a ride like that and could say I felt like I had as a kid. As an adult most, if not all, of the fear is gone when I ride any amusement ride but this ride was a refreshing taste of youth and the fear that I could get by, for instance, biking down a hill I suspected would be too steep to stop on. I doubt this could have been achieved without the combination of the staff's general disinterest in the safety and well being of the riders and their long term devotion to neglecting the maintenance of their rides.
Peter Pan Tivoli, I salute you. Keep up the great work!