Life is not a roller coaster.

In a queue for the best roller coaster I’ve ever seen. The coaster station is high up in the air, and to get to it, you have to climb lots of stairs and escalators. I have a bag of gadgety stuff with me, but that’s okay. There’s a left luggage thing in the queue. Loads of kids join the line. I know them all. We get on well. We queue together: it’s very long. There are lots of places to stop and buy food and souvenirs. There are many gates to go through and tickets to buy. Generally, though, I’m going up.

I ditch the bag on a conveyer belt and feel lighter, but a bit lost. The kids have gone. They know exactly who to show the tickets to and which gates to go through. I follow a couple of guys instead. They’re pointing at a gate, which I go through – but they realise that it’s a down gate and not an up one. No worries. I find a marshal and explain. I’ve not got up to the ride yet, but – like an idiot – I’ve found myself on the down path. I can still see the up queue: I just can’t get to it any more. She looks at me and asks me where I work. She’s a little surprised that I’ve been so daft. The gates are clearly marked, after all.

She signs my hand to confirm that she’s seen me and sends me off to another marshal who should let me back into the up queue. This lady, though, suggests I’ve scribbled on my own hand and waves me away. She thinks I’m trying to take the ride twice. The ride is integrated into the queue: I can see it rushing around me as well as seeing it in the distance. It looks so much fun. The original marshal resigns my hand – a little more carefully this time – and sends me back. This time, though, I can’t find the second lady. I take a few experimental down gates to see if I can see her. But no.

The queue is now packed. Everyone’s going up to ride the roller coaster. I’m lower down than I was. No one else seems to be leaving. Perhaps you can take the ride numerous times before you start coming down. It looks, now, as if there are no more places where the two lines meet. No more marshals. No place to reclaim all my stuff either. I guess the bag is lost. If anyone asks where it’s all gone, I’ll say I didn’t bring it and just make do without it all. It doesn’t matter.

The roller coaster seems further off. The down line doesn’t come out near the entrance to the ride. I could go round, I guess, to the entrance but the queue is very long now. And I’m very tired. The second woman took my ticket off me, and I don’t have enough money to buy another. Actually, I think I put my wallet in my bag.

As I leave the line and head off back to the park gates, I check that I’ve still got my keys. They’re in my pocket. At least I can go home. Perhaps I didn’t want to go on the ride at all. If anyone asks, that’s what I’ll tell them. I didn’t really fancy it when I got up close. I had a headache. I felt a bit sick. It doesn’t matter.

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