Thursday, May 13, 2010

One Summer At The Speedboats

You know what we don't speak of enough? (Besides ANYTHING, as the blog's been dormant since September?) Motor World. Please enjoy this dispatch from the Swamps of Jersey sent in by our good friend Stacy.

My time at the park spanned 7+ years. In the early years I worked in the retail department (where my friendship with Melissa blossomed). The later years were spent as the “Office Bitch” in Alpine Center, but somewhere in between, I worked as a ride attendant at the Speedboats in Motor World.

I think Tom said it best when he likened Motor World to Dante's circles of Hell. On most days it was unbearably hot; the essence of two stroke oil and stagnant water filled the air at the Speedboats dock. The ride consisted of a pond, or glorified swamp, with a small island in the middle. Single passenger boats, about the size of a bath tub, would be driven in circles around the island. Oddly enough, I sincerely liked working there.

We wore Water World uniforms which consisted of a transparent red bathing suit, tank top that read “GUARD” and terrible polyester shorts that caused a chronic wedgie unless worn extremely low on the hips. The “GUARD” tanks gave park patrons a false sense of security given that I probably couldn't save a rat drowning in a bucket.

The Speedboat pond was fuel infested and the only time we ever went in the water was against our will. There were times that we'd slip off the dock and fall in the water or get thrown in by fellow employees as was the tradition on the last day of the season. I can recall getting tossed in the water at the end of the day and then leaving a brown-stained silhouette of myself imprinted on the light gray cloth upholstery of my car.

A common source of fun at Speedboats was at the park patrons' expense. Many times before getting in a boat we'd be handed a camera and asked to take pictures. We would gladly take the camera and snap a few shots and then promptly duck into the boat house and expose ourselves to the camera – careful not to show our faces – and then eagerly return the camera. Thankfully the age of digital photography hadn't hit yet.

It was always fun when someone didn't fully grasp the concept of the engine's throttle lever. We would blow our whistles to signal when the ride was over and often have a boat speeding out of control straight for our dock. Many times that boat ended up either flying up on the dock or flipping over upon impact with the dock's loading area. Good times.

Also important to mention was the 225lb weight limit for riding in a boat. We didn't have a scale so we had many questionable patrons who claimed to be under the limit. My friend Missy and I spotted a very large gentleman on line, made eye contact with one another, shook our heads, but reluctantly allowed him to enter a boat. We were too nice to tell anyone that they were too large to ride. Instead we watched as the man shimmied himself down into the seat and sluggishly left the loading dock with a group of boats. By the the time the other boats were on their second or third lap, the man slowly appeared on the far side of the island with the nose of his boat underwater.

The boat was sinking quickly so I headed out on a boat that was reserved for dealing with emergency situations. When I got to him, his boat was almost completely underwater and the man was frantically trying to pry himself from inside the cockpit. This was one time to be thankful for the high viscosity level of the water because he slipped out of the boat before it completely submerged. With my boat, I dragged the man through the murky pond and back to the dock, but then came the task of trying to get him from the water back onto the dock. I think it took a ride attendant and two boat mechanics to get the man back on his feet, and the ride was closed for the remainder of the day so that the submerged boat could be rescued.

We expected to see a scale at Speedboats shortly after this incident, but this was the Park. We never saw that scale, and as a result I got really good at rescuing people from sinking boats.

1 comment:

Melissa said...

I love Stacy. I do.