Saturday, December 3, 2011

I Went Parachuting

Even though I'm a big chicken, I like to think that I'm adventurous. I like to do
quasi-dangerous things. When I was younger and didn't have offspring I used to do lots more crazy stuff but the kidlets sort of took the steam out of my sails. One fine day way back when, my gal pal Miss Thang and I decided that we wanted to go parachuting.  We found a place that could make that dream come true so off we went. My hubster got wind of our plans and decided that he needed to go as well - even though he has a fear of heights. Hello? We were going to ride in a stripped out plane up to the altitude of 10,000 feet, hang from the strut then let go, falling at 120 miles per hour towards hard packed earth. But he was insistent so we let him go.

We met some really nice guys who explained the whole shebang and they had us sign 2,000 release forms absolving them from anything they ever did for the rest of their lives. Next up was getting fitted with the jump suit and parachute harness. Let me tell ya, if you don't know the person helping you get your harness on you will after it's all said and done. I was trussed, tied, patted and manhandled all in the name of safety.  I felt sort of dorky in the getup but then again, I didn't want to be bare skinned in case I managed to hit a bird or bug or Boeing 747 on my way down. Next on the list of things to do was that I learned how to maneuver out and off of the airplane. As you can see, that plane was pretty dang small! Coupled with the fact that my jump master was firmly attached to me (we did a tandem jump), it was rather comical to see us crawling around.
The strut is what I was supposed to hold on to before we let go. Can you see the iron grip I have on the thing? And we're not even off of the ground!



This is how I was supposed to gracefully
position my body once I let go. In reality, my jump master had to bang my hands to make me let go of the strut. In my lessons, he told me that he'd tap on the backs of my hands to let me know that it was time to jump. But it didn't work out quite that
way. I'm sure the dude tapped on my hands. I'm sure he pounded on my hands. I'm sure he screamed at me to let the hell go but I wasn't aware of it. He practically had to rip my arms off before I let go. And then, before I was ready we sailed off into the wild blue yonder.

I mentioned that we jumped from an altitude of 10,000 feet. When I glanced out of the door before my jump master forced  prompted me to exit the plane, I think this is how it looked down below. I'm pretty sure my vision didn't fail me because I also recall seeing something like this:
Everything on the ground looked so teeny! I had never had, nor have I had since, hiney cringes as huge as I did on that jump. I imagine that my screaming could be heard clear around the globe. Hell, people on Mars could probably hear me. OK, that's not true. I was actually so scared when we jumped that I couldn't get a sound out. I think it might have felt better if I could have screamed but my breath was literally taken away.

I also got a spectacular skin treatment when I jumped. I think they call it the 120 mile per hour facial. The person in this cool picture isn't me but I'm positive I looked just like this. The free fall lasted almost a minute and the rest of the ride down was really cool and peaceful. The only bad part was when the parachute opened. The harness that was around my legs almost severed them. I guess that happens when you're going over 100 mph and you suddenly stop. I had bruises like a badge of honor for over a week afterwords but they were worth it.
I was so excited and hyped after my jump, I don't think I came down for a week. Parachuting was the most exhilarating thing I've ever done...so far. Because I also want to ride in the space shuttle and walk on the moon and base jump into that huge cave that's somewhere in South America and those activities might surpass the parachuting adventure but for now, I'm happy. I firmly believe that life is incredibly short, and you shouldn't let your fears get in the way of what you want to do. What would be worse than living a "safe" life that was dull and boring? Go ahead, let go of the strut and free fall. The rush is unbelievable.

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