Creative Chrysalis

10 – The dark ride of aging

March 22, 2020 By

One of my biggest fears is that of the human aging process. Getting older has its rewards for sure, but too many scary possibilities loom in my mind. I’ve had three hip surgeries resulting from a fall while on skis, osteoporosis being the root cause. My hip replacement was about 12 years ago, and that was my real introduction to health care, my own and in generality. Then there was my Mom’s long journey with Alzheimer’s, and that made me painfully aware of insults and deprivations that accompany failing bodies. Waiting for help, being on an unstoppable ride, having no control… totally scary.
But enough of this imagery – real or imagined! Shifting to thoughts of how I convey these fears, the “dark ride” of amusement parks is a perfect fit! I did research on these vanishing amusement thrill rides, where automaton goblins and ghosts jumped out unexpectedly as passenger carts bumped through hinged doors, following a track through darkened space. Poking fun at a scary experience, entering an unknown space, having to wait for assistance and lacking control…
What if the carts were wheelchairs and the entire ride was fashioned as a hospital setting? How scary would that be?

photo from the Carol M. Highsmith collection, in the public domain
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., 20540-4730