In My Defense, the Airplane Did Have Several Holes…

The hair at 10,000 feet is truly a sight to behold!

My husband has started telling people that I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.  Just for the record, I would like to point out that there were two fairly visible holes.  And if nothing else, those holes served as good incentive…

For several years, my friend and I had been saying that we were going to go skydiving together.  When we went to Vegas two years ago, we even priced it.  However, we decided that it would be “better saved for California since the coast of California is prettier.”  You’ll have to trust me that when you hear us say it, we say it with an awesome amount of conviction.  Ahem…

So… approximately two years later, I finally take the trip out to California where my friend lives.  Skydiving initially went on the schedule for Sunday, but ended up being postponed.  Then Tuesday fell through, and we decided to postpone it to Thursday.  Sensing a pattern, we decided to call and prepay on Wednesday.  Neither of us mentions to the other that we’re nervous although the more we talk about it, the more obvious it becomes that we’ve both already researched it.

Friend: “Just watch your legs on the landing.  My husband said if I have a sprained ankle, I shouldn’t come home.”

Me: “Please.  If anything I’m hoping for a broken leg.  It’ll heal far more easily long-term than a joint injury.”

Most of our banter centers around the notion that once passengers die, the instructors go out of business due to bad word of mouth.  So, if anything, our instructors should have plenty of incentive to keep us alive, even if slightly broken.  We are full of bravado although we do curse ourselves for not thinking to bring extra clothing (or adult diapers, but I digress…)

We are pretending to be “gangsta”.

We are so clearly NOT “gangsta”.

Luckily, our instructors are easygoing, and spend most of the time joking with us, especially once they realize we are all originally from Michigan.  (Happenstance, the parent company is located in Michigan.)  They give us thirty seconds of instruction, and then proceed to put us in harnesses.  My friend teases them for their awesome thirty-second tutorial, but with tandem jumping, our instructors are doing ninety-nine percent of the work.  And we all know it.  So we laugh it off, but… nervously.   We have just signed a 24-point waiver that included a clause about whether our children were taken care of in the event of our demise.

After we board the plane, I start having all kinds of questions in my head.  How fast is the plane going?  How many feet will we be jumping?  However, it also dawns on me that none of these are productive questions, and I decide to keep them to myself until after the jump.  The initial joviality passes as the plane climbs higher.  Also, the plane has at least two visible holes.

It’s all fun and games…

…until it’s not.

When I glance over at my friend, she’s staring out the window, suddenly very serious and very quiet.  We are each attached to our own instructors and practically sitting in their laps.  At this point, the only thing that could make the current situation more awkward would be backing out.

Finally, my instructor tells me to push open the plane door.  (We had flipped a coin over who was jumping first.)  I push it open, and place one foot out.  It’s extremely clumsy going from sitting to standing while attached to another person.  However, we both step out and the rush of freefall begins.

Our faces say it all.  “What the hell are we thinking!!??”

I’m not even sure if I’m laughing or screaming in this picture, but it was definitely taken during the freefall…

Freefall is INSANE, just a rush of a million sensations.  It’s noisy as hell from the wind whooshing past, and you have very few coherent thoughts.  It’s also impossible to focus your eyes.  It’s basically thirty seconds of insanity, followed by the upwards jerk of the parachute.  Then suddenly you’re floating, and it’s way easier to relax.

I’m going to say something right here that many will disagree with, but I’m going to say it anyway.  At that point, to me, it felt a lot like parasailing.  I was able to relax and enjoy the scenery, which was absolutely gorgeous.  Our jump ended up being near Malibu, and the coastal mountains make it breathtaking.

My instructor is pointing out Malibu. I immediately ask if we can go land in Ryan Reynold’s backyard.

My instructor says no. Meh.

Steering to the right…

WAY too close to the road for my comfort…

Descending…

Descending…

…And back on solid ground. I have no idea how people manage to jump out of planes three times a day with all of the pressure changes!

Afterwards, even with our feet back on solid ground, it took awhile to calm down.  My friend had what was basically a skydiving hangover, complete with nausea and a headache, so I ended up driving back to LA.  Driving on the 405 was NOT on my bucket list, but luckily LA and NY traffic are pretty comparable.  Both awful, but comparable.

Make any questionable decisions recently?  Kidding.  Kidding.  Any adventures you’d like to share?

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~Mark Twain

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32 Responses to In My Defense, the Airplane Did Have Several Holes…

  1. El Guapo says:

    FANTASTIC!!!!
    I wouldn’t disagree with you at all about your description of floating under the canopy. Though on a skydive, you can play more than on a parasail (whipping turns, collapsing the chute…)
    Glad you were finally able to go!
    I just got my bungee pics, and yeah, my hair looked the same.
    But goofier.

    • Yeah, the hair is outstanding! I hadn’t really thought about that, but you’re right that you can’t do much while parasailing. It’s just great for the view, which kinda stuck in my brain forever because it’s blue in every direction.

      When you jump from a bridge, how long is it before you actually feel that same jerk on the harness and realize you’re actually okay? I’m still patiently waiting and checking for your bungee post… Okay, impatiently. Semantics.

  2. walking down the sidewalk without falling is an adventure to me–seriously

  3. Who in the world was taking the photos? How incredibly cool. (which is code for better you than me, and I’ll stay mired in nerdishness, because I’m terrified of heights). Thank you for inviting us into your fabulous adventure!

    • Both of our instructors had cameras on their left wrists. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit my friend’s photos onto my CD, which is why there’s only a couple of photos of her. (And she said it was okay.)

      I do think not being afraid of heights is key for this stuff. And being a little crazy probably doesn’t hurt. 😀

  4. Peaches says:

    One Question: Can I be strapped to you or your friends instructor for a few minutes?
    ok…you don’t have to answer that.
    Go Michigan!

  5. You are one brave woman. You and El Guap are my heroes. I would have been unconscious or dead from fright. However, I wouldn’t mind being strapped to that guy, whether I was jumping or not. 😉

    • I almost wrote something about ALL the scenery, but apparently people noticed regardless… I never understood why people did that stuff until I went parasailing. And after that I was dying to go skydiving!

  6. That’s great! I love it! I want to skydive! 🙂 I wanted to skydive before but now I want to do it even more! LOL

    • It is amazing! If you’ve never been though, I might recommend going parasailing first. Because you almost need to build up to actually jumping out of an airplane!

      You should go though because it really is unlike anything you’ve ever done!!

  7. You are seriously incredible for doing that! I was basically hyperventilating with every word you wrote. I will never do that myself, but kudos for you for going through with it! Loved the photos!

    • Thanks! This is definitely the most photo-heavy post I’ve ever written. I usually do 1-3 pictures, and this one had 15, but skydiving with no photos… It just wouldn’t be the same. It doesn’t hurt that the scenery was really hot. Ya know, the mountains and the oceans… or something.

      When we were on the plane, it finally dawned on me that we are probably crazy…

  8. Mooselicker says:

    I have another blogging friend who went skydiving recently. Looks like a good time. I’m never adventurous like that.

  9. Nope to the 10,000. You are way braver than me!

  10. Thanks for taking us along! (Obviously it was a lot of fun)
    Great quote at the end, too

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  12. AndrewElizabeth says:

    You are nuts for doing that! But it looks like you are having an absolute ball in the pictures!

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