Welcome to episode seven of the Hey Eleanor podcast. This week, we’re crushing a fear 25 years in the making.
I’m talking to Beth Gibbs. She’s my friend and the former producer of the Go Fork Yourself podcast, which I co-host with Andrew Zimmern from Bizarre Foods. Beth is super smart, funny and adorable, but guys… she is the biggest wimp I’ve ever met. When I met her, she’s never tried sushi, was afraid of spicy food, and wanted to try improv but was too scared. The list goes on and on. In the past few years, she started testing her comfort zone. Most notably, she’s now in an improv group that performs regularly in Minneapolis.
A few weeks ago, she told me she wanted to conquer her fear of roller coasters. So the two of us, two grown women, went to Valley Fair together so Beth could ride a rollercoaster for the first time. And it was amazing.
Here’s an excerpt of our conversation.
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Molly: Beth is a friend of mine… and she has always wanted to, well, I don’t know if you’ve always wanted to go on a roller coaster, but somehow you made it to… wait, how old are you? Is today your birthday?
Beth: No, well, my birthday is on Saturday…. Yeah I’m 25. I made it to 25 until I rode a roller coaster. Because I was very afraid of them.
Molly: We had this crazy idea that we were going to go to Valley Fair, which is the big amusement park here in the Twin Cities, and we were going to ride every roller coaster. And we we’re going to bring a recorder with us and it was to be awesome. And we totally did those things.
Beth: And it was awesome.
Molly: But the thing that was less awesome is that we had the wrong microphone turned on, so instead of getting our screams and in-the-moment interviews, we got nothing. It was really disappointing and sad…. So we’re going to try and recall what happened when we went to Valley Fair.
So the first ride we decided to go on was the Corkscrew. And remind me, is this the one you were most afraid of?
Beth: No, the one that was scariest to me was Wild Thing.
Molly: Well, that one is for sure the scariest.
Beth: Wild Thing is the scariest because it’s got a big drop. The thing about the Corkscrew that was a scary to me is that it goes upside down.
Molly: We decided to go on first because it has the shortest drop and the fasted line. What’s funny is that inline, it was Beth and I, and a bunch of 11–year-olds.
Beth: Yeah, and they were not scared at all.
Molly: No, it’s literally the day they’ve been looking forward to all year long.
Beth: Meanwhile, I’ve gone on that field trip five times and still have never ridden a roller coaster!
Molly: So, what are you afraid of happening?
Beth: For me, it’s lots of different things added together. One is that I don’t like being scared in general. The whole point of roller coasters is to be afraid, briefly. Also, I’m not really afraid of heights, but you are falling, which is scary. I also looked at how many deaths happen each year on roller coasters, which is five per year. That isn’t many compared to a lot of other things, but when you consider how they do safety checks all of the time, it’s still five people who die on roller coasters, which is terrifying to me.
Molly: I recall pointing this out to you that I think a lot of those deaths are heart attacks.
Beth: Yes, I didn’t think of that. That makes a lot of sense. They tell you not to ride if you have a heart condition, but people probably still do.
Molly: Yeah, it’s not like they say, if you’re a big, giant pussy, don’t go the roller coaster because you might die. You were super nervous waiting in line for that first one, right?
Beth: Super nervous for the first one.
Molly: Remember how you had your hands clenched?
Beth: Yes! I wasn’t as afraid as I thought I would be, because I think I’m at a point in life where I am like if you’re afraid, just do it so won’t be so scary anymore.
Molly: I remember you telling me that before when you went to Valley Fair, you were always the person that held the bags.
Beth: Yeah, everyone would get in line, and I would wait on a bench and just watch purses or whatever they had. Which was not very fun. I enjoyed the times in between, walking to rides, but when people get in line, it can be an hour wait!
Molly: Sounds terrible! I think that’s what you were picking over….
Beth: I know! I was A little baby.
Molly: I think my favorite point of the whole day was when we got to the top of the line at the Corkscrew, and you realized that there were big tubs for people to put their bags and purses in.
Beth: Yeah! Why did I hold their purses anyway?! I could’ve gone to the arcade for a while.
Then we got on the roller coaster and…
Listen to the podcast to find out what Beth’s first roller coaster ride was like, and if she’ll ever go on one again.
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OTHER STUFF I TALKED ABOUT THIS WEEK:
PS our awesome photo from Wild Thing. Never laughed so hard in my life, and Beth’s smile is pretty darn telling!
Here’s a big, fat link to the shirt I designed with Cotton Bureau, which is available until 8pm on June 17.
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