It was a clear sunny day and I needed to just get out and relax. I wanted to go somewhere I could spend hours at, and perhaps even grab a bite to eat at the same. There was only place I had in mind: it was the nearby park. It boasted locally grown food at its snack bar, a carousel and a train track a third of a mile long that circled the entire park, as well as paddle boats—all for park goers to enjoy.
On this particular day, there were mainly kids with their adult guardians. For example, I noticed one blond woman in her early thirties texting while attending to three young kids.
I went from one bench to another by myself, watching other people’s children as well as people and kids leaving the carousel. I walked around the pond twice.
I got a salad and side popcorn and proceeded to walk to a shady spot that overlooked the lake. One duck came by, and later, three ducks surrounded me during my entire meal. A Hispanic woman and her two other family or friends sat nearby as well as two young kids. One girl, bi-lingual, chased after the ducks and sat on a man-made turtle with her younger brother while an adult took their picture.
After I finished my lunch, I was still stressed from work. I needed a complete diversion. By now, it dawned on me that I may be the only adult visitor who doesn’t have an accompanying child. Was I perceived as a crazy, forty something year old Asian lady who likes to spend time by herself?
The inner child started to think, “It would be rather nifty to ride the merry-go-round and the train.”
And then the serious me kicked in, “Are you crazy? Riding this merry-go-round and train alone? People will think you are from the looney farm!”
I sat at a bench at the carousel staring into space, paralyzed in a type of fear for about 10 minutes. The internal silence was deafening, as I haven’t ridden a carousel since my child was a toddler, which may have been over ten years ago!
The serious me gave up.
My inner child said, “Well, who the hell cares?
I sort of timidly went to the ticket booth and asked for two ride tickets.
So far, so good!
The person at the ticket booth didn’t give my any weird stares for not having a child in tow!
I walked around the carousel to get to the entry gate of the merry-go-round and it was empty except for me and two 20 something year old attendants who worked there.
The young female attendant let me in onto the carousel. I had a Hawaiian printed dress on and I hopped onto an ostrich.
The serious me says, “I better not fall off trying to get on this Ostrich! There is practically no one around. I can’t hide!”
My feet are half way dangling while I’m waiting for an Ostrich to move.
“Awkward!!!” again says serious me.
“Hey! Ostriches are known to be fast!” my inner child says.
The serious me says, “This ostrich is moving in a circle, silly! It’s not going anywhere!”
The carousel starts. I look at my watch. It’s one minute till noon. I feel like Michael Jackson, alone in my amusement park! An inner smile came upon me. I stared out into the distance, onto the trees, which were moving. I looked at the gears which were moving and I looked at the animals, most of them were moving up and down.
“This is fun!” the kid and the serious me said.
After getting off the merry-go-round, I regressed to age 10. Now, I head over to the train and riding on that was just as fun: adults and kids waving to kids on the playground while the train was passing.
After riding on the merry-go-round and the train, I was in a much better mood. Work was a million of miles away!
Chinese-American Emy Louie was born in Hong Kong and raised in Honolulu in the 70’s and 80’s. Since 1993, she has been a resident of Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina.