One thing you should know about me is that I don’t have a lot of major fears. Of course I have the expected fears of losing people I love and things like that, but I don’t consider myself a particularly fearful person. However, one thing I am truly afraid of is Ferris wheels. I’m not sure why, they just freak me out to the extreme and I can’t remember the last time I went on one.
And as luck would have it, London is home to probably the largest and most famous Ferris wheel in the world: the London Eye.
Last time I was in London, I was 16 and refused to ride it with my dad and brother. My mom and I spent the afternoon in the Westminster Abbey gift shop instead. This time though, I knew I should do it. I told myself that a) it moves really slowly, b) the cabins are completely closed in, don’t swing, and are big enough to walk around in, c) the views will be gorgeous, and d) I would never hear the end of it from anyone if I didn’t go. So I gathered some friends (and a couple glasses of wine) and we headed off for the Eye.
London is so far north that the sun sets much later and it stays light outside for a ridiculously long time. At 9:30 PM, it was still dusk, but we were the last group to run into the ticket office, hastily buy our tickets, and run to the platform. I couldn’t even let myself stop to second-guess things before I stepped into the next open cabin.
My friends hopped on behind me and the door closed behind them… and I immediately regretted it.
The round trip took about twenty-five minutes total, during which time the sky darkened and London lit up for the night. It was beautiful. I managed to alternate between walking around and taking pictures and sitting down on the bench in the cabin and trying not to hyperventilate. Several of my friends had chuckled at me when I expressed my fear on the ground, but once they saw me actually freaking out, they were much more sympathetic and encouraging.
At the end of our ride, we took a group picture (which I have yet to see as evidence that I actually did it), and as soon as we hopped back onto the loading platform and solid ground, I had the most natural reaction possible for someone who has just conquered one of their biggest fears: I started crying hysterically. For like ten minutes. And shaking. To be fair, I was laughing too, so they must have been good tears? I don’t really know. All I know is, my friends must really love me to still be friends with me after that.