amusement park · anxiety · beach trip · family · fun in the sun · social anxiety

Amusements For a Day

My physical and mental fuel reserves were wiped out to capacity from yesterday’s all-day family outing I participated in. Both my mind and body worked so hard to fight the anxiety, except I didn’t feel the aftereffects of it until today. My mom’s younger brother had come back to New York with her after their vacation stint in Chicago. He was here since Tuesday and very early this morning he took his flight back to Cali.

Being my regular nervous/anxious self, I made convenient excuses to be out of the house in the early mornings so I could avoid the mess of being stuck at home and possibly being dragged into joining my mom and her brother for casual family get-togethers. Luckily they had stuff planned too so they were hardly home until late. On Friday, however, I suppose it was considered special since it was my uncle’s last day in New York. The day coincided with some plans I had in the evening to meet up with a few new friends. At first, I wanted to play nice by obliging to whatever my family wished to do altogether for the morning/afternoon before I jetted off to a night out of light socializing. I was stubborn about having things my way even though I was using a social engagement to avoid spending the entire day with family. I am by no means close to my uncle but I honestly felt guilty for my avoidant behavior especially since he was cordial with me even though I could see he had much more of a conversational rapport with my brother.

It killed me a little to tell my pals (via text) that I couldn’t hang out with them because of a family obligation. They were understanding but I was upset since that evening was the only time this week everyone was available to meet up.

I made the decision I did out of obligation, yes, but also for my mom’s sake. My mom and I aren’t besties though I try hard to not go out of my way to be a cold-hearted b*tch to her (as I did give her quite a bit of h*ll when I was a teenager). Her younger brother is the only sibling she is close to. Also, it’s not often he visits New York so I thought, Whatever. I’ll grin and bear it for Mom. While waiting for my uncle to finish showering so we could head out, my brother asked me, “Are you going somewhere today?” I said, “I was but I could just hang out with you guys today.” Bleh. I think I came across as sounding cool as a cucumber although I felt the opposite. Haha, hanging out. As if trying to do that didn’t scare the bejesus out of me.

For a late breakfast, we ate out and my uncle ended up sitting next to me. I felt reasonably awkward since he and I had not exchanged many words up to that point. I’m just grateful he didn’t feel the need to fill up the occasional silence with forced chatter. Sometimes it helps to just be together and eat. He showed me pictures on his phone of some hatched babies from his pet budgerigar pair. I managed to ask a few questions about the birds though overall I was pretty quiet.

Afterward, we went to a nearby beach boardwalk. It was great weather; not too hot and not too cold either. There were hardly any people around. I’ve only ever been at that boardwalk while tons of people are milling about so it was a nice touch for it to be more vacant.

A lot of pictures were taken. A LOT. If I got a dollar for every time I smiled for the camera that day, I’m sure I would have at least $40 which in hindsight doesn’t seem like much but it was to me. I had to stay still for photos taken by my mom on her phone plus my uncle who snapped a few shots on his own camera. Not to mention the number of retakes that were done. I was probably most uncomfortable when I was photographed alone. The group shots were less stressful as I perceived all the attention wasn’t on me.

I wore a purple-ish wrap dress but for half of the photos taken of me, I think I looked like a fat cow. Especially the ones where I was uncomfortable and it showed through my posture and how I held my body which, in my opinion, exacerbated how huge I seemed in my midsection and torso region. But here’s one photo of myself I didn’t mind. The ocean view behind me was also quite nice.

The best part of the beach boardwalk was it also had an amusement park. I’ve seen the Wonder Wheel many times before but never been on the ride itself. We got tickets to have a spin on it.

Looks like a fun and simple ride. NOPE. 😲

From the ground looking up, seeing the thing rotate the individual carriages around in a circle, it seemed to be no big deal. I wasn’t even concerned when some of the carriages shifted back and forth in a slight swaying motion. How wrong I was, lol. In fact, the swinging went from back to front akin to a plunging seesaw except a lot faster. The view down below from inside the carriage just about gave me a heart attack during the first time it swung from back to front and front to back repeatedly for at least 15 seconds. I thought for sure the whole carriage would come loose and plummet to the ground where I would die a sudden death from the crash. Then the wheel rotated so the view from inside the carriage was at the very top. More swinging. All of this happened a second time after the wheel circled all the carriages down and back up. Who knew a ride like this could be so terrifying. I am afraid of heights, too, so it was 10x scarier for me plus the fact I sat in the front instead of the back of the carriage so I could see everything below every time the darn thing violently swung up. I am glad I got to experience it though. The most I’ve done at an amusement park was the teacup spin ride or the horse carousel, haha. After the ride, I learned my mom, brother, and uncle already went on the swinging wheel ride in the past. I felt a pang in my chest realizing I missed out as it must have been during a year my uncle visited and where I had been reluctant to go with them anywhere. Damn social anxiety.

Okay, I lied. This photo and the one of myself I shared above are the only TWO photos where I think I look okay. If my eyes look extra small here, it’s because the glare of the sun was too much for me and I was squinting in an effort to not blink for the photo.

There was another photo where I posed with my uncle in front of this zombie head whose gaping mouth was an entranceway to a horror house. My uncle made a very convincing expression of faux terror but the look on my face seemed to be caught between “I’m a deer in the headlights” and “I don’t know what to do with my face”. I would post the photo for hilarity’s sake but I’m not comfortable sharing my uncle’s face on the Internet without permission. In a way, the photos I took with him kinda helped ease the fear and stress I felt being in his presence. I still didn’t talk much unless he spoke to me but at least I wasn’t frozen solid from anxiety. That’s an improvement, right?

Later my brother split from us to go find his friend somewhere on the boardwalk. I continued on with my mom and uncle and we walked a loooong distance. It was awesome exercise at a slow, even pace. The sun really came out after noon with brief intervals of cloudiness that was my only respite besides taking a break in the shade. I neglected to bring along my straw hat thinking I wouldn’t need it. I misplaced my sunglasses somewhere around the house and have yet to find them. Maybe I really did lose them.

Two incidents happened that day I felt weird about. First, there were people dressed as fictional characters. Like Minnie Mouse and the Incredible Hulk. I didn’t know when I passed them that they were trying to get people to take pictures with them and then solicit tips from them. Someone dressed as Minnie Mouse came to me and made a cutesy display of kissing my hand before holding my hand as the rest of the costume gang came around. Everything happened so fast I was both bewildered and kinda awestruck. It was like being in Disneyland. My mom took a photo of me with the characters before they insisted she and her brother also get into the photo. By the time the group snapshot was taken, it started to sink in that they were after money. Minnie Mouse flashed us a card around her neck that said, “Tips please.” My uncle gave her $3 as that is all the change he had and my mom gave another $5. I can’t say for sure if what the cosplayers did was wrong or right. I mean, they did give me a cool photo.

The second incident was a little more alarming as a crowd was already gathered to watch a barefoot woman and presumably her significant other or male friend each being apprehended by a police officer. I didn’t even see the crowd at first and it was the sight of an officer stopping his motorcycle up ahead that drew my attention to what was going on. My brother had seen what happened and stated the woman had assaulted an officer. A nearby woman confirmed this. I heard her in passing explain it to someone else as, “She kicked a police officer and then tried to haul a** out of the situation. Honestly, what did she think was gonna happen after she did that?” As the woman and her guy friend were taken away into the police car, two males who seemed to be their friends shouted profanities at the other officers standing by. A third man was completely silent but sat with his hands clutching his temples. It’s odd to be a bystander to the aftermath of a situation like that. It was a spectacle and easy to make assumptions about the people involved. Mostly I found the situation to be sad. Like, I don’t know why the woman attacked an officer and if she felt provoked into it or not. Yet all of us standing there watching the incident were judging her and probably thinking she got what she deserved.

The walk around the beach winded down with us returning home to rest for a bit before we went out to eat dinner. It was sort of an unofficial dinner to send off my uncle but also to commemorate Father’s Day for my dad. All the restaurant’s seats were reserved but since some of the guests weren’t due to arrive for another hour or so, we got a table but were told we had limited time. I had no real complaints about the food. It was mostly fried or sauteed stuff which I don’t usually have for home meals. I did enough eating and seldom spoke. Oh well. My brother’s girlfriend had also joined us for this dinner.

Later we walked home. I was tired but did some light yoga for 20 minutes in my room. After that I just wound down for the evening. I did not see my uncle off since his flight was at like 5 AM in the morning and so he had to wake up at about 2 AM to prepare for the journey to the airport. All in all, I don’t know if it helped that I made myself so present during his last day before returning to his home state. He certainly will have many pictures of me to share with his relatives. I’m both glad and not glad I tried to be agreeable around my family. Parts of the real me came out while other times I obviously put on a mask to help myself not crash and burn.

5 thoughts on “Amusements For a Day

  1. It sounds like a fun day (definitely tiring though). I like family outings for the most part, so I’m envious of it, although it sucks you couldn’t hang out with your friends 😦 Those pictures are really nice!
    Yeah, I get bothered by characters because I know they’re kind of out for money. They go up to people sometimes and get the picture taken then demand money. I’m wary around entertainer people like that. Once, my friend at a street fair got a free shot at the balloon popping thing, then the man gave him more darts to take more shots which my friend took (although I was like nooooo) and then the man demanded money. It was a cheap move. I know they gotta make money, but I thought that man was really underhanded about it. At least those characters only asked for tips and it was a nice memory 🙂 I bet the pictures were really cute!
    The second thing did make me immediately think there might be more to the story. Who knows 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A whole day with family was exhausting. It’s no wonder why when I went away for Memorial Day weekend with family (which was only three days) that I was already feeling like cr*p by the second day. One day is enough for me, thanks!

      That was the first time I have ever been lured into a costume character trap before. 😦 So I was really unprepared and unsure what to do when she took my hand. It was that one second of uncertainty that I guess the costumers saw the opportunity and grabbed it. Thinking back on they should have at the very least been upfront about the tips thing. How much did your friend have to pay the street fair vendor after he took those shots? Not a lot, I hope…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm I don’t remember how much he had to pay. Maybe 10 at most? Street fairs tend to be overpriced for everything! If they made things cheaper, I’m so sure they would make more money! I would get like two tubs of popcorn from them if two cost the price of one! I know not all of the stuff they have is fresh either–and of course I’m talking mostly about food right now xD Of course… ahaha.
        Yeah people who do those traps have a good eye for easy targets–but these are good experiences because it’s unlikely you’d get tricked twice!


  2. You are amazing and so brave 🙂 Your family members seem like nice people, and I’m glad you were able to spend time with them even though you had to miss out on hanging out with your friends. I hope you get to hang out with your friends soon!
    Also, I don’t agree with those people who were dressed up in costumes, forcing to take pictures with you. It’s probably a tourist trap. I remember traveling to Italy once when these strangers grabbed my hand, and before I knew it, tied a bracelet around my wrist. They would smile at me and ask if, “Isn’t it pretty?” As I took a few steps away from them, they would chase me down demanding that we give them money. My friend, who was basically like a local (having studied abroad there for some time), had to tell them to go away.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind observations, Faith. ☺ I was bummed out that I didn’t get to be with my friends as planned but I am glad I got to experience new things with my family.

      In hindsight, yes, the Minnie Mouse woman did catch me offguard and lulled me into it. It wasn’t like she stood there waving at me in an attempt to entice me to come to her. Had it been like that, I would have had the choice/free will to engage with her if I wanted to or not. Once she had my hand, I didn’t know what to do. I was so dazed watching the other characters insist my mom and uncle get into the picture too that I hadn’t truly been aware of the trap we fell into. I was surprised to have this kind of encounter in NY as the part I was in doesn’t typically have costume people like that unless it’s a popular tourist spot like some places in Manhattan. Your story about the bracelet reninds me of when this woman approached me in a park. She was from a purported monastery and acted really fake nice at first before slipping on a handmade bracelet and necklace on me before demanding I give a donation. Ugh I wish I had the guts then to return the jewelry to her and tell her I wasn’t interested. 😒

      Liked by 1 person

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