Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Roller Coaster

Grandma: You know, when I was nineteen, Grandpa took me on a roller coaster.
Gil: Oh?
Grandma: Up, down, up, down. Oh, what a ride!
Gil: What a great story.
Grandma: I always wanted to go again. You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn't like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.
-- Parenthood

Prague, 1996. As I ascend the hill back to the hostel around midnight, at the end of another wonderful day, I look back on this picture postcard of a city, a city that has captured my heart. Tomorrow I must leave, because if I don't I never will. Reluctantly I turn back and continue my hike, until I reach the large garden at the edge of the hostel. The lights are out, with only the moon providing any light at all -- no one else is around. I get a little bit lost, the circular layout confusing me ever so slightly. My heart is pounding and the adrenaline surges as I sense my way through this strange garden in this foreign country.

Today we went in for the next sonogram, and everything looked great, so we're officially past the point where we got to last time. Two weeks is nothing in the adult world, but the fetus looked huge compared with how it did just 14 days earlier. There are no certainties by any stretch, but to get the desired result we needed to get through today. Ballpark due date is Halloween, so we still have a very long way to go.

Grandma had it wrong -- the roller coaster appeals to so many people because while it might be scary, they know that they'll be safe at the end of the ride. Life has no such safety net, and I think that's why I don't get the thrill out of roller coasters that I used to.