Today was my first day back at Adventureland. The park doesn't open for two more weeks, but it was some charity thing down in the picnic pavilions. I was told I would be escorting one of the costumed mascots because not only was our
mascot going to be out and about, but our two sister parks' mascots would be making appearances as well.
I got to the park and ended up in a suit after all due to a staffing snafu. I got to be Dunkin. Dunkin is a dragon. He's the mascot for the waterpark our parent company owns. I was peeved, but whatever, all I have to do is walk around and hug little kids, right? I can do that.
I did it for about an hour. The suit was unbearable from the get-go and the humid, muggy weather today didn't help. Furthermore, since I was under the impression that I would be escorting, not dressing, I wore pants.
The suit is wool and heavy. Dunkin' is plump and pear-shaped, so there's a ton of extra padding in his lower half that make walking a real work-out. Dunkin' also has webbed feet that like to trip each other up. Dunkin's head is a torture device, tall and top-heavy. Wearing it is like balancing a stack of books on your head while being smothered. I felt like I was suffocating as soon as I had the head on.
But I'm a trooper, yo. I was prepared to suck it up and hug some fucking babies.
We had to dress in G-Serv and walk down to the festivities which were taking place about half-way across the park from our starting point. As soon as I stepped out of the G-Serv building, I tripped over my feet and my head went rolling across the midway.
I was so padded that I didn't feel a thing and I literally laid there laughing my ass off while my escort scurried to retrieve my head and my supervisor scowled and a random kid pointed and screamed.
Traumatized child count: 1
We got my head back on and wandered down to the crowd and I was okay for an hour. I hugged some kids. I took some pictures. I even danced. I was pleased with myself. Then I took a nice deep breath...and swayed. I instinctively shoved the head up and poked my nose and mouth through the seam in the neck, sucking greedily at the fresh air. My escort shoved my head down and hissed, "You can't do that."
"I need...to go back."
I could hear my blood rush in my ears and I kept gulping at air. I'm sure I was getting enough, realistically, but it didn't feel like it. I felt like the mesh over my facehole was smothering me. I needed to be out of the suit, out of the suit, out of the suit now.
In retrospect, I think I went into some claustrophobic meltdown. I started pawing at the gloves, my collar, my head. My escort reminded me that I couldn't take the costume off in the middle of the park. She pulled on my arm and said, "C'mon. Keep walking. The sooner you get back, the sooner you can get the suit off."
I tripped over my feet twice and my escort caught me. After the second stumble, I was practically weeping. We were near my old ride section at this point. I remembered the phone in the pavilion and the merch counter that no one used anymore. I stumbled into the pavilion and hit the floor, ripping the head off and trying to pull my legs and my tail out of the sight of the passersby.
It didn't work. A little girl started pulling on my tail. I groaned and jammed the head back on and promptly laid on my back. A little boy pulled his grandma over and leaned over the counter, "Look grammy, the dragon's taking a nap."
"I don't think he's napping." Grammy said and pulled Junior away.
Traumatized child count: 3
I pulled the head up and ground out, "Get me water."
My escort shook her head, "We need to get your head back on."
I started crying, "Please get me water. Please. I can't breathe. I'm gonna throw up."
"We have to get you back!"
Before you think too badly of my escort, I'd like to point out that this is her first season at the park and she's only seventeen. Once I was coherent again, I apologized because at this point, I literally yelled at her.
"I can't get up, Heather. You're gonna have to call for a cart."
"Okay. Okay, just put your head on. There's a supervisor coming--"
"THEN GO GET THE SUPERVISOR. NOW."
Then I barfed in a cleaning bucket I found under the counter.
Heather disappeared and I went back to trying to burrow into the floor.
The next thing I'm aware of is two supervisors pulling me up by my arms. My supervisor is in my face, shaking my chin, "Hey. Hey, you with me? Wake up, Mary. C'mon."
"I need m'head." I slurred.
"Don't worry about your head."
"Dun wanna tram'tize the kids."
I resolutely shoved it on and sank as far down as the golf cart seat would let me. I realized that my gloves were gone and threw a fit, but having relinquished the head, no one was about to give me back the gloves. As we inched our way through the crowed, several children commented that Dunkin' had no hands.
Traumatized child count: limitless
I ripped the head, the cape, the boots off as soon as we got back to G-Serv. I peeled the top half of the suit off, but stopped at the waist, because it got hard. I barfed again and said I didn't want to talk to First Aid. I talked to First Aid anyway.
Jake, my EMT, sat there for a good forty-five minutes, fingers clamped over my pulse, pressing a cup full of water against my lips.
"How 'bout you get the rest of the suit off for me, okay?"
"Nuh uh." I grunted.
"What if we help you?"
They helped anyway.
After losing the pants, downing three bottles of water and a pack of fruit snacks, I grew more coherent. My pulse slowed down and Jake deemed me "okay, but if you get chest pains or can't breathe again or anything, go to the ER."
"Drink more water. Gatorade, if you can get some."
I spent the next two hours curled up on the floor of my supervisor's office. I woke up in time to process a season pass order and help the new girl balance her drawer and cash-out. I drove home and slept some more. I noticed a rash developing on my back and my legs. If I caught MRSA from that fucking nasty-ass suit, I'mma be pissed.
And yes, I'm completely mortified at having the cart called for me. In six-seasons of Adventureland indentured servitude, I have never had the cart called on me. I was a badass. When I tripped over a pulley at the rafts, I duct-taped tissues to my knee and carried on. When I got stung by a bee while working the super slide, I shrugged it off and only brought it up to bitch about my bra strap rubbing the sore spot. I have only gone home sick once. And it wasn't my call. My supervisor thought my carting the garbage bin from ride to ride looked...suspicious.
It's the end of an era, kids. I'm so mortified.