Pregnant woman and her companion get caught between carnival cars at the county fair

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Sometimes it's called The Spider, The Scrambler, Twister, Sizzler, Octopus, or Merry Mixer. As someone who's afraid of nearly all amusement park rides, The Spider is one of the only rides I actually enjoy, or at least I did until my friend and I nearly got knocked out by one.

My friend was nearly nine months pregnant, but she loved carnival rides. When the traveling carnival came to town, she was eager to go.

I agreed to go with her. If she hadn't been pregnant, I wouldn't have been able to keep up with her, but her unborn baby slowed her down just enough.

Many of the ride operators refused to let her on the rides at all when they saw her belly. She didn't argue with them, and I didn't envy them. Can you imagine being tasked with deciding whether someone in line for the rides is pregnant or not?

I can't.

After being rejected from other several rides, we got in line for The Spider. The ride operator let my friend and her unborn baby pass through this time, and we made our way toward one of the ride cars.

For some reason I can no longer remember, we rejected one car after another. "No, I don't want this one. No, I don't want that one."

We walked from one empty car to another empty car until finally, the ride operator turned on the ride.

Fortunately, the machinery was slow to move. The cars lifted and began to move and swing, slowly, and my friend and I scuttled out of the way while the occupants of the cars screamed for the operator to stop the ride

We were caught between the moving cars, and we weren't exactly able to spring out of the way, but we tried.

The operator stopped the ride before any of the cars had made a full rotation. We were safe.

We hopped into one of the cars once they stopped moving completely and flush with excitement, we rode the ride as if we hadn't narrowly avoided catastrophe.

I wish I could say it was the last amusement park or carnival ride I ever rode, but alas, it wouldn't be true. It was, however, the last ride my pregnant friend took until after she gave birth.

People usually have strong feelings about carnival rides. They either love them or hate them, with no in-between. How do you feel about rides?

I'm also curious about whether you'd feel comfortable telling someone they're too pregnant to ride the rides. There seems to be an uncomfortably large margin for error. Comments are welcome.

Why would you want to Buy Me a Coffee? I am a full-time writer and a full-time unpaid caregiver to my 82-year-old father, who lives with Parkinson's. Your tip or donation allows me to provide for his care and comfort around the clock while working from home. Thank you.

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