Scotland is still happening, and taking forever to do so. The whole registration process in UK schools takes place much later than it does at US schools, and while I know this factually, all the panic sensors in my brain persist in firing at random intervals. "You haven't heard from them in a few weeks, is everything okay? What happens if they tried to get a hold of you and you missed it somehow? Do you even still go to that school? Does the school even exist? What about your visa? Your visa isn't here yet, so obviously it will never arrive and you'll be stuck at your parent's house forever."
But it's fine. Probably.
One good thing, I suppose, is that other aspects of my life are starting to matter less to me as my departure date gets closer. My job is almost easier now that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I'm spending less time tearing apart every little thing people say to me. Since I'm leaving the country it's like I just don't care anymore. I imagine this is how some people feel all the time, and it makes me a little bit jealous.
There have been other good things. For one, I'm starting to overcome my fear of roller coasters. I've always liked wooden coasters, something about how you can feel the weight of them, how they chatter your teeth and knock you around a little, you know it's something sturdy and real. Steel coasters are scary, fast and merciless things lacking any sort of charm. But about a week ago I went with a friend up to Kennywood, a National Historic Landmark and all around great amusement park. It has wooden coasters dating back to the '20s, and more than one "last of its kind" classics like the Kangaroo, Noah's Ask, and the Turtle. There are actually three left of that last one, but come on. Good stuff. I know all this because one of the people I met there knew the whole history of the park and managed to talk about it without sounding like a total asshat.
Anyway, I originally wanted to leave the few modern coasters they have alone, but while in line for the Jack Rabbit (wooden coaster from 1920) something changed my mind: a six-year-old. She was talking to her dad about how she wanted to sit in the back of the coaster so they could lift higher out of their seats on the drops. I don't even know if that logic is sound, but I do know that she was giggling about how fun the Phantom's Revenge was (steel coaster I'd been forcing everyone to avoid one day) and it pissed me off. There's no way I could allow myself to be outdone my a small child, so I turned to my friend and said "Next we're going on the Phantom," which was all well and good until we actually got on the thing.
Sitting in the car, slowly going ascending the main hill of the coaster, I looked to my left and saw the stairs personnel and maintenance workers use, and that was fine. Then I looked to my right and saw nothing but empty air and the parking lot below us. Then I lost my mind. Seriously, I started screaming at the top of my lungs "No, NO!" over and over like anyone would care or try to help me. The people in the car in front of mine turned around and laughed. Once we got to the top I was so stressed and worn out that I couldn't say anything, but I'm sure if anyone had tried to touch me I would have punched them in the face. I had about two seconds to curse the backs of those snickering idiots in front of me before we went down, after which I alternated between sharp yelping and hysterical laughter until we came to a stop, and I kicked my way out of the car like cornered animal.
Lessons learned: 1. I can ride a roller coaster like a big kid and not die. 2. Laughter sometimes comes from a place of fear as opposed to one of mirth. 3. The rush of relief that comes after the ride has ended is quite nice, though I'm still not sure whether the ride itself is worth it.
There were fireworks at the end of the night, which is great because you get to see kids get really excited about fireworks, and strangers get really petty over bench space. I'd call that a successful day, though I still managed to get a speeding ticket on the way home.
Nothing ever runs smoothly for me, does it?
Another good thing: I started this post yesterday, and this morning I got an e-mail telling me my visa has been issued and will be arriving any day now. So at least a couple of those inner mind quotes from the first paragraph no longer apply. Yay!