Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Enthusiasts Traveling Together Don’t Get Along

According to exclusive sources, sometimes sharing a great love of roller coasters isn’t actually enough to maintain a friendship. The evidence of this comes in the form of the current coaster vacation being undertaken by enthusiasts Jeff Harchanko, 21, and Jason Bendler, 25. Despite the fact that the two pals have engaged copiously in witty banter and information sharing for the past four years on rec.roller-coaster, and have met up briefly and had a good time together at two day-long park events before, they ended up attempting to inflict bodily harm upon each other near the end of an extended vacation in Florida and Georgia this Spring.

“I always thought Jason was a cool guy,” said Texas native Harchanko. “He’s one of the most intelligent and amusing contributors on rec.roller-coaster, and we had a nice time at Dolly’s Coasterfestabration and at Lone Star Coasterthon. And his taste in coasters is excellent; his top lists are loaded with Beamers, Intamins, CCI’s, and Schmecks. That’s why I’m so shocked that he’s such a &*$%sucker of a roommate when you have to travel with him.”

Harchanko elaborated. “He’s just frickin’ intolerable. I want to get up early each morning in order to get to the parks when they open, or there’s hardly any point in visiting them. If you don’t sprint to Spiderman or Kraken right away, then you can't cram in one ride before the huge lines settle in. But Jason likes to stay up watching Porn Lite on Skinemax and Blowtime until 4AM every single night, and then he bitches when I try to wake him up, and we always end up getting to parks at about 11AM.”

“The final straw is his bathroom habits,” added Harchanko. “Each time we check into a hotel, he sprints out of the car, runs into the room, and christens the bathroom with one of his turbodumps. I mean, he just obliterates the bathroom, leaving streaks and a putrid stench and using all the damn toilet paper. It makes me physically sick to have to use the facilities after him. Usually I just have to go to the hotel lobby so Jason’s odor doesn’t make me throw up. I am beginning to have suspicions that he was the Coaster Odyssey Bathroom Fiend.”

Bendler had another take on the situation. “I can’t believe this jerk. I have to run to the bathroom all the time because this bitch insists on stopping at Crystal Burger for every meal. Even McDonald’s wouldn’t tear my ass apart like those grimy little things. And it’s no use going to bed early, because he easily breaks 140 decibels when he snores, so I wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway. I mean, for real, it’s like hearing an entire ice flow of walruses copulating, while a jet plane takes off, while a really bad community orchestra trumpet section splats through Fanfare for the Common Man. No joke. And he uses all the towels and splashes water everywhere when he takes a shower. What is he, a little baby?"

For emphasis, Bendler affected a high, screechy whine and squealed, “Wah! Waaaaah! Goo goo gah gah! I’m Joe! I spwash water like a wittle baby! Waaaaah!”

Continuing, Bendler said, “and for goodness sake, he goes to shows. Shows! He’s always got such a bee up his ass about waiting at the gate at 7AM so we can run in, but after two or three coaster rides, he’s always like ‘Dude, can we see the Chinese acrobats? And later we need to see the parade. And there’s this neat musical about American pride at 5PM that we really ought to see.’ What a chump.”

This morning, the pair of enthusiasts ended up rolling on the ground in front of Busch Gardens Tampa’s Gwazi, pulling each other’s hair and attempting to strangle one another. Exhausted after the battle (deemed a draw by observers) and subsequent eviction without refund from the park, Bendler was philosophical. Pausing and furrowing his brow in thought, he observed, “I would have thought that a shared appreciation for the Hulk coaster and abiding hatred for Son of Beast would have assured Joe and me of having a fabulous trip and being best buddies on the road, but I guess that wasn’t the case.”

--JCK