today has been an emotional roller coaster

A few weeks ago I purchased a model roller coaster. You should watch the video; it’s amazing. The photo gallery is also very cool.

In any case, I got the kit, and it turns out it’s probably 20 hours of work (at a minimum) to put the thing together. In my rock-n-roll lifestyle, I don’t have 20 hours, so in the last few weeks I’ve been snatching a few minutes here or there to put the thing together. Tuesday night Jim Brayton, Michael Silberman, Tim Jones, and Carey Havrilko came over to watch the greatest movie of all time at my apartment.

While we were watching the movie, I pursued the tedious task of assembling 10 meters worth (30 feet!!) of track for the model roller coaster. This involves snapping on a rail tie every 10 cm for the entire length of the track. It took me about three hours. Then, this morning, I was carrying the tracks to the office on the subway. A girl on the subway asked me what the bright yellow tracks were for — not a common sight on the DC metro. I said I was a roller coaster designer, and these were for a model roller coaster. Her eyes widened. She asked if I got into amusement parks for free. I assured her that I did. She wanted to know how one got a job like this — I told her that she need to go become an engineer. She was pretty sure that required a lot of math, and she wasn’t sure she was up to it. I expressed confidence, and then got off the train. What a great way to begin my morning!

But shortly there after my morning got considerably darker. I stopped to pick up a cup of coffee and a bagel. While waiting in line, an older fellow approached me to ask what the bright yellow tracks were for. He looked like tourist, clearly from out of town, with his expensive digital camera slung around his neck. I gave him the same answer — I designed roller coasters for a living, and this was for a model I was working on. He looked at me with scorn. “My son almost died on a roller coaster. I hate you. You ought to be put in jail.”

I was a little stunned. I apologized, and tried to exit with dignity. It was completely unexpected from this pleasant looking tourist. Who knew that Roller Coaster Engineers put up with such misery?

2 Responses to “today has been an emotional roller coaster”

  1. Anne Dickey Says:

    Good man, good tracks.

    The Hasids celebrate you.

    How often does this father find someone to really hear him? Did Michael Moore show up and usher ~him~ into the boardrooms of roller coaster designers and the shady dealers of amusement that put shoddy tracks out there for his son to almost die on (

    Of course he hates them, but how likely will he ever be to meet? How is his satisfaction and justice increased now that he HAS?

    Thank the gods that directed some of his righteous anger towards a person who could receive it with dignity — far more, so, I suspect, than those who deserve it.

    Looks like you did your part for women in engineering ( today too.

    Yr fan,

  2. jen Says:

    Now I understand why you looked a little stressed out yesterday. And who wouldn’t be with that kind of abuse… Clearly this man needs to confront his demons with a few rides on The Big Bad Wolf, The Great American Scream Machine or The Rebel Yell.

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