Saturday, May 30, 2009

Skydiving

Last Friday was my future daughter-in-law's birthday. She wanted to go skydiving for her birthday and I thought it was a grand idea. So she, a friend of hers, and I pack up and make the 90 minute drive to Petosky to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. Skydiving is one of those things I had on my to do list. To make it even more fun, I'm afraid of heights. Get me over 10 feet and I get that shaky, queasy feeling in my stomach and want to throw up. What went through my mind when I decided jumping out of an airplane at 8000 feet was a good idea is beyond me. We arrived at the jump zone and get a quick lesson on jumping. I remember thinking to myself, "these guys seem awfully relaxed considering what we're about to do." I was elected by the girls to be the first one to jump, just to make sure it all works like it's supposed to. The guy gets me into my harness and got all the little hooks and belts into place and tightened up. We then load up into the van that will take us over to the plane. By now I am getting a bit nervous but it's not that bad. We arrive at the plane and climb aboard. Are you kidding me? I'm not going to die in the jump, I'm going to die in this plane. We take off and I am now very sure this thing is not going to make it. By this time I have already pissed my pants. I'm really going to do this? I can't back out. No way. Two things made me keep going: 1)I just paid $200 dollars and I be damned if I lose that by chickening out, 2)I'll never live it down if I don't jump. So I have to jump and now I'm getting real nervous. Not just a little nervous, but the whole stomach in my throat and I want to throw up kind of nervous. This is it!! I'm jumping out of an airplane, what the hell was I thinking?! So now the jump instructor, the guy I'm going to be attached to when we jump, tells me it's time and has me scoot in between his legs and he starts hooking me up to him. At this point it took all my courage, which mind you is not much, not to start crying like a baby. We're hooked together and he opens the damned door. I don't know if you have ever sat on the floor of a small aircraft at 8000 feet with the door open but it's pretty scary. The wind is blowing tremendously. He puts his left leg out and I follow with both of mine. So there we are with our feet dangling out of the door at 8000 feet and now my fear of heights is kicking into high gear. We jump. From here on out it's pretty surreal. I'm not scared. In fact, it's pretty f#$king cool. We free fall for 40 seconds and hit 120 mph. WOW!!! He deploys the chute and we decelerate pretty rapidly and then it's just a matter of enjoying the view. I'm not scared at this point and I should be. Here I am about 5000 feet above the ground with some stranger strapped onto my back. There is nothing between me and the ground. It's all really pretty surreal. It didn't feel like we were falling or that I was that far up with nothing supporting me. I felt like I was in a bubble of sorts. Below is a from the video they did of the jump. Really.

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