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…)
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.
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.
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.
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?