Things Coaster Enthusiasts Don't Want You To Know

Whilst I've never been one to shy away from the fact that I'm a dirty, filthy, obsessive coaster enthusiast, there are certainly elements of my hobby that even I'm a little ashamed of myself for thinking or doing. I'm not talking about full blown cringe things I've done in the pursuit of a +1, that was another blog post entirely, I'm talking about the little things that coaster-obsessed part of your brain bangs on about that we have pretty much no control over as coaster enthusiasts. They're impulsive, reactive thoughts or deep set embarrassing memories that we can do absolutely nothing about and must carry with us like a burden for as long as we indulge in the strange and unusual lifestyle choice that is coaster/theme park enthusiasm. Here's seven things coaster enthusiasts don't want you to know.

We find it quite hard to stay on a particular topic of conversation and our devious little brains are always looking for an opportunity to turn to conversation back around to theme parks. It's our comfort zone, an area our brains have filed tons and tons of conversation topics on garnered from years of scrolling through internet forums and filing through RCDB just drinking in all that delightful, useless information. For example:

Friend: "OMG - my card's been cloned and all my money has been stolen from my bank account! :("
Coaster Enthusiast: "You know what else was cloned, Taron the Intamin Blitz coaster at Phantasialand in Germany! There's an exact copy of it opening in China only without the theming. Would love to see how it compares one day!"
Friend: ???

We honestly can't help it - like Mean Girls says, it's like word vomit. We can hear and see everybody around us getting pissed off that we're constantly talking about theme parks and rollercoasters but we just. Can't. Stop. It's why we tend to stick together in groups - nobody can get annoyed if we're all as relentlessly annoying and obsessed as each other!

We grew up being told we were strange or odd for being as into theme parks and rollercoasters as we are. Always meant to feel like we didn't really fit in or that we were the weird ones for having such an unusual hobby. Well guess what Sharon, we think it's weird as fuck that you have zero interests besides going to the cinema followed by a Pizza Express Groupon deal every weekend. We mean, what the hell do you DO with all that spare time if you're not scrolling through the internet soaking up the latest bit of theme park gossip or scouring SkyScanner for cheap flights to the nearest European theme park. What do you even base your holidays around?! Honestly, it remains a mystery to us and we silently judge those who don't have anything as niche as we do to waste their time on. Plus, at least our hobby means we always have an interesting answer to those dreadful icebreaker questions you get on courses where the course leader asks you to share a unique fact about yourself.

Forgive the crude analogy, but once one becomes fully engulfed in this weird world of theme park and coaster enthusiasm it's almost cult or addiction-like to try and break free. We tell ourselves over and over that this year we'll cut back on the trips and save a bit of money, or maybe we'll jet off on a holiday that isn't solely built around visiting parks. Cut to February with an empty bank account, five theme park trips booked and that awesome drive through Bavaria now somehow includes at least five park stops. And we can't break away. Look at Blackpool opening weekend for instance - soooo many people were tweeting about how they weren't going to come and were going to wait until the weekend after or whatever. Then look what happened. Everybody showed up. Because it's in our DNA, parks call out to us like the ocean calls out to Moana only it's a lot less poetic and well animated.

You know you have an addiction when you lie about how much you've spent on trips. I get asked quite frequently how much I spent going to XYZ park and I usually avoid answering because well frankly, it's none of your damn business. But secondly because I'm secretly ashamed of how much I've spent. Yes, I've visited some incredible places on my travels and no, I regret none of my trips but if I were forced to give you a figure of total cost spent in a year you can bet your sweet ass I'd at least half the true figure to hide my shame. And even when we KNOW we have no money and are going to be living off of tins of beans for the next month or so to be able to afford the trips we still somehow manage to convince ourselves that we have enough for just one more teensy trip in there some place.

Nothing sends a spark of pure, unadulterated joy through the soul of a coaster enthusiast quite like an out of context theme park or roller coaster reference. This could be something major like a day out at a theme park episode of a TV show you like (Inbetweeners anyone?), an image of a coaster used in a school text book to explain forces or, and this is my particular favourite, theme park related questions on quiz shows or whilst playing board games. I'm still waiting for the day Pointless decided to do a theme parks round, I'd absolutely smash it! Sad yes, but it really is such a buzz when you're unexpectedly served some awesome theme park related video or imagery when you least expected it. it makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside, though we definitely try to play it cool and like we didn't even notice even though our brains are going nuts with joy.

We wince hearing general public (lol, what does that even mean anyway?) talking about theme parks. When you're randomly out and about and you hear somebody mention the words Thorpe Park you get a weird combination of the aforementioned buzz of joy coupled with the crippling cringiness of then having to come to the realisation that this person is sadly not a fellow enthusiast that you could creepily make eye-contact with across the bus seats and nod knowingly at but is in fact an idiot who adds a 'the' to the start of every coaster name. It honestly takes every fibre of our being not to stand up and yell IT'S NOT 'THE' STEALTH, IT'S JUST STEALTH YOU ABSOLUTE IMBECILE. But instead, because that's not at all socially acceptable and we wouldn't really want our weird hobby exposed to the world, we bottle up and suppress those feelings instead choosing to publicly shame the offender with a catty tweet or forum comment telling the tale of what a fool you encountered in town today. We're not proud of this behaviour, but we're compelled. We feel incredibly protective over our precious theme parks and the correct pronunciation and use of terminology associated with their attractions.

And finally, the school projects. Own up, we all at some point in our young lives as school children looked for every opportunity possible to do a project about theme parks. Give us any subject, any topic, any brief and we will somehow find a way to shoehorn our obsession into our school work. If you kept any of these artefacts I always find they're fun to look back on as they're living evidence of where the obsession began and you can actually track the growth of the obsession as parks grow increasingly prevalent with every school year. My personal crowning achievement of this point is I somehow managed to change a GCSE English project on leaflet design into the whole class designing theme park maps for imaginary theme parks we'd made up. I have no idea how this was even allowed but I took every opportunity to finally create a fine piece of marketing collateral for a big RollerCoaster Tycoon project I was working on at the time called Crazy Town. Sigh, memories.

Talk later xoxo,