January 1, 2007

Eyes Wide Shut

For Chanukah this year I thought that experiential gifts would be fun for my dad and during folks’ visit to London. What better way to see London than on the London Eye? As you know I’ve promised to try and get over my fear of very high tourist attractions (Eiffel Tower, Ferris Wheels) and thought that this would be the perfect opportunity.

In preparation for the ride, or flight as they call it, on the Eye I took a test trip on my own last week. After all, wouldn’t it be better to freak out with a bunch of strangers than with my family? Ah yes, you can see I have intimacy issues with that logic. Well, as the capsule doors closed I had the perfect opportunity to get intimate with a bunch of people who were really just trying to have a nice excursion on their vacation. I will forever be known in some countries as “the woman who freaked out on our vacation.”

The moment those doors closed I knew I had made a mistake. This wasn’t for me. I didn’t scream but I did look like a person being put in prison who was trying to alert the authorities to their error as the doors shut. Holly Freaking Goodness I would have to spend the next 30-35 minutes enclosed in a capsule as we viewed London from the world’s highest observation deck.

So, I traveled with my eyes shut, which seemed to help me suspend my disbelief. I have a very powerful imagination and this became a theatre of the mind. If I can’t see it, I’m not really there. The only bit that this logic didn’t help was when we went over the top and the wind jostled our little capsule.

As we traveled I took photos with my digital camera. With my eyes closed I wasn’t able to compose my shots or even know if I was hitting the correct buttons. But, it did distract me during the ride. Here are some of the results.

When exited the ride I reached into my pocket pulling out some beige comfort food item I had purchased from the farmers’ market that morning. When I was young my nickname was Cakeface because one day on the school bus I shoved an entire piece of cake into my mouth. Well, Cakeface lives again.

Needless to say I didn’t ride the Eye on New Year’s Eve with Stephen and my folks. They had a lovely trip and returned with many great photographs. I told them repeatedly how impressed I was with their bravery.

As 2006 came to a close we switched on the TV to watch the fireworks shoot off of the Eye. The spectacular ten minute show was fully appreciated by Stephen and my folks who had been on the Eye just nine hours earlier. At least this time my eyes were open.