Was it the sweet and sour scent from the Farman’s pickle factory that swirled with the smell of the spewing manure from the commercial-sized sprinklers that gave my hometown’s county fair its magic?
Or was it the bracelet, that stretchy plastic paper band that, when it slaps on my wrist, acts like a key to the city, providing access to any ride my pogo stick eyes can land on?
I love the Gravitron and how it makes my body feel like a stranger in a strange land. I hold up my wrist, get a nod, and run to find an open plastic-lined backrest.
When the hatch closes, a red button is pushed, and the room darkens. My eyes dart to the white on my shirt and the laces of my shoes; the black light has turned them blue. Then the attendant, seated in the center, speaks like a DJ at an auction house.
“We’re taking you up! You better hold on to your hats; you’re about to feel centrifugal force three times stronger than gravity.”
And it begins.
At max spin pulling my head or arms from the seat is like ripping them off of industrial-strength velcro. A second, maybe two takes all my strength before my head and arms slam back into position.
At the end I drunkenly bobble across the riveted silver flooring, down the silver ramp, and across the matted down grass to get back in line.
My parents try to use reason. But it is my bracelet – my time.
And all that matters is seeing the same person I saw moments before giving me the signal once again.