It's been a long weekend, and this has been such a loooooong day. Ryan and I are finishing up 17 hours on duty, two back-to-back shifts, and we're beginning to get a little loopy. I love working with him though; this cute new transfer and I get along very well.
We finish packing up our station for the night and head to his car, joined by Sarah, a bouncy brunette who is always a lot of fun to be around. The sugar rush brought on by massive amounts of fudge is fighting back the exhaustion we feel, leaving us giddy. We drive slowly out of the festival grounds, past the midway - which is still running! Ryan looks at Sarah. Sarah looks at Ryan. They both turn and look at me. "LET'S DO IT!!" we say in unison, grinning like maniacs. Pulling into a clump of trees and parking, we all jump out and lose our uniform shirts. We run across the road in black tank tops and our tac pants, attempting to hide from all the other members who are pulling out behind us. Stupid reflective striping!
The Tilt-a-Whirl is first up, spinning and laughing as the stress of the day flies off our shoulders and away into the starry night. The queasy feeling hits me as I step off the ride, odd, since I can usually handle these things just fine. I shake it off so I don't miss any of the fun, and we head for the spinning strawberries.
As soon as the carney releases the break, Ryan grabs the wheel in the centre and begins to spin. He spins and spins, faster and faster. Sarah and I are plastered to the walls; laughter and the force of the spin leave us unable to move. We hit Mach 10 and suddenly I feel like I'm about to die. I turn "glow in the dark white" as the spinning world begins to blur and fade away in front of my eyes. Ryan turns to look at me and immediately grabs the wheel with both hands, straining to stop the spinning motion. Just as the strawberry begins to slow, the actual ride begins and a whole different spin is presented. I hold onto the cool walls with both hands, trying to focus on something, anything solid and taking breaths as deep as I can muster. It's the ride that never ends, we just keep going around....and around....and around...and around...
After what seems to be an eternity, the ride stops and I am freed from my strawberry prison. Sarah helps me down the narrow metal steps; my legs just aren't working very well. Ryan grabs my other arm and they lead me back to his car in the bushes. "I just have to sit for a minute," I manage, trying not to sound as bad as I feel. It doesn't seem to work, as I collapse in the grass and they go into patient care mode. I'm feeling too nauseous to care at first, I'm just trying not to blow chunks over the most gorgeous guy I've ever met. Ryan rubs my back, telling me to "throw up, it'll make you feel better." as Sarah looks at me with a twinge of jealousy in her eyes. When Ryan gets up to grab a blanket from her car, she leans in closer, laughing, "You're faking it to get the attention, aren't you?!!" I attempt a smile, which turns into another groan, "I only wish I was, I've never felt so sick in my entire life!" She laughs again as he rejoins us on the damp grass, wrapping a soft pink blanket around my shoulders and continuing to rub my back. As sick as I feel, I simply can't appreciate his comforting touch.
After 45 minutes, I feel well enough for the car ride home, but just barely. They help me inside and I collapse on the couch with relief. I am on duty for the next several days as the festival continues, and am nauseous for all of them. Maxing out the daily recommended Gravol limit does little to help, and I live on white rice, crackers and ginger ale. The new running joke of the division is that Ryan makes me sick....which is ironic, since we start dating less than a week later.