Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Song for a Crappy Tuesday

In the back of a mid-70's station wagon, dimpled, vinyl seats can turn a mild summer day into a plague of humidity and prickly heat. Before air conditioning had been perfected to its current arctic capabilities, children in back seats everywhere were subjected to heat that coated every available skin surface, from the crook of the Knee to the Almost Inner Ear. This, combined with vinyl upholstery, drenched the backs of our thighs, the soft of our tee-shirted upper arms with perspiration.

On these days, whatever salty vapors swirled around in the back of the car, it didn't matter as long as we were going to Carowinds.

Carowinds is an amusement park, along the lines of a low rent Six Flags, on the border of South and North Carolinas. Church youth groups, little league teams, seventh grade choirs, all made the pilgrimage from March to October, as a treat for job well done over the year. Carowinds was home to the terrifying likes of The Carolina Cyclone, Thunder Road, and White Lightening (though White Lightening is no longer, I'm afraid.) all roller coasters guaranteed to compress your body with astounding g-forces.

Carowinds (aside from trips to camp or the beach) was the absolute living end. No sleep was had the night before we loaded ourselves into the car. The three hour drive to the Piedmont area was torture. Hot, sweaty, nauseated (I had a special gift for car sickness, surpassed only by my mother.) .

Whatever the level of actual fun, the perceived fun, the mythological fun was what mattered. By day's end there would have been tears, someone dropped their effing wallet AGAIN, someone got lost, a new food allergy was discovered, knees got skinned, countless fixed games were lost.

But the sheer joy of the day was what lingered.

And it always seemed that, when pulling into section D of the blistering Carowinds parking lot, Games People Play by The Spinners was on the radio, without fail from 1975 to 1983.

Hearing it even now, makes me a little giddy with anticipatory nausea.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The dude with the moustache sings that part?! I have been imagining some disco-diva guest star singing with them since the Carowinds trip of '76!

One of my favorite songs from childhood, though.

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