Do you love fairground rides? I don't. I most emphatically don't!
When I asked a friend of mine recently how she was doing she said "Well, I've been up and down a lot, but I don't seem to be going anywhere. I haven't moved on. I feel as if I'm on a rollercoaster which is standing still."
I guess the statement resonates with a lot of us. Having been definitely up then down over the spring and summer, I've come up again to find that the world has moved on while I've been – otherwise engaged. My best friend has become a grandmother (how did that happen to the girl I've known since we were both eleven?), another friend has come out of the closet, left his wife and moved in with his new partner (he'd been so far in the closet he paid his taxes in Narnia! Shocked didn't begin to describe it!), and someone else died. I couldn't even go to her funeral because nobody told me; having made the (kindly meant) decision that I was far too ill to cope with it at that time.
So there's this lurching sensation as one adjusts to the new and starts delicately picking one's way through the social minefield where, I feel, everybody else knows where the explosives are, but I don't. Not only is there a new curate at Church, but a new widow (I'd missed the announcement of her husband's sudden death). The "I didn't know: I'm so sorry." sounds so inadequate. Somehow, I feel, I should have known.
But, while you're on that rollercoaster, you are conscious only of the ride, and you are absolutely incapable of relating to events on the ground. Friends have commented (kindly) that on both parts of the ride; the ups and the downs, I'm self-absorbed. "Not that!" I want to say "But clinging on for dear life; grasping the rail, gritting my teeth and praying for it all to stop; to just stop!"
So, it's stopped now; for a while. I can get off, shore up the shaky legs and try walking along. I can actually go somewhere. A little way along the track will be another rollercoaster ride. I'll probably have to ride that one too, and the one after that. The point is to realise that they are not the same rollercoaster; they are at different points along life's track, and different lessons can be learned from each of them.
Well, that's the theory anyway. I still hate rollercoasters. Give me a gentle carousel ride any day. Or better still, let's ignore all those rides and head straight for the hotdogs and that candyfloss stand!
A Moodscope member.