It's Okay To Say No
Just like any other American family, when I was a kid, we'd go to amusement parks.
On some random weekend or other, we'd pack the car up and head out for a day of magical fun and adventure.
Though mom was keen, I think dad would have rather been mowing the lawn, vacuuming the carpet, doing dishes, or sticking needles in his eyes.
I can see them now, waving excitedly, as I stepped on the roller coaster, the tilt-o-whirl, the spinning teacups or any other medieval torture device. Were they out to kill me?!?! I don't think so, but I'm sure it crossed their minds a few times when I was a teenager.
Just think of it - death by teacup.
Amusement park rides and I have never played well together. I dread long lines. I hate carnival food and, of course, who can properly describe the overwhelming joy of expelling, at velocity, carnival food you didn't even like traveling in the other direction.
I'm sure heredity has nothing to do with it either. I think my brother loved all that stuff. Dad was in the Canadian Navy and spent five years at sea. Mom could probably sleep upside down on a train moving at the speed of light. She could sleep anywhere.
Me, I got the seasick gene.
Going to fairs and festivals isn't horrible. I like going for the music, the spectacle, the camaraderie. I can even enjoy them as long as I'm not asked to get on some spinning whirling rickety nausea-inducing death trap.
I used to go to fairs and such because I wanted to be with my friends. My so-called friends, however, always intended to get me on some spinny thing. They'd goad me or somehow coerce me into getting on a ride.
Sometimes I'd give in. Maybe, it was the excitement. Maybe, I wanted the same experience my friends had. Maybe, I didn't want to be left out. I don't know why. It could have been a combination of all those things.
When I did get on the ride, I'd remember why I didn't like them. First, there would be that flush feeling. Then, the color would drain from my face. That pallor would soon be replaced, in due course, by a lovely shade of green.
I learned much later in life that it's okay to say yes, but it's okay to say no too. It takes some of us a bit longer than others to catch on.
Now, I don't go on those kinds of rides anymore. I can admire them from afar but I don't go on them.
While at San Diego State, millennia ago, I knew a guy who followed this principle to the letter. If you asked him if he wanted to do something his answer was either yes or no. There was no equivocation. If you thought there might be some explanation coming, you'd be wrong. I admired him for that.
It took me a lot longer to put that lesson into practice.
You can say no politely. You can offer an explanation if you'd like but you don't have to.
No is often the best answer.
The next time somebody asks you to jump off a bridge, you can say no. I know I will.
This week's painting was done a while ago. It hangs in our house and I see it every day. It's a bit creepy but I like it very much.
Until the next bridge comes,
I wish you peace.
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