I went sky diving when I was nineteen years old. Jumped right out of a plane. Attached to a man, who was attached to parachute.
I don’t like heights, so how I ended up jumping out of that tiny plane I really don’t know. A friend had convinced me it would be fun, we were both leaving the area and moving on to greener pastures. A final farewell.
Bon voyage, adieu, auf weidersehen… see you later mate.
Realistically it was probably the umpteen tequila shots beforehand, that had made the idea seem like a good one. But I locked it in, committed and booked. The weather was bad on the booked day and my friend had to cancel as he couldn’t make any other day. I nervously said, oh sure, of course I still wanted to do it. Love to jump out of a teeny tiny plane from a great height.
The day comes. I get in the plane. A plane about the size of a small tin can coffin. The pilot seemingly running with his legs to take off, Flintstone style, with two jutting out stumpy looking wings to aid our flight. It really did seem like a good idea at the time of booking.
The plane kept climbing up. So did my heart. We reached the desired height. My heart reached my mouth.
Too late to turn back? I’m not sure that I wore the right socks today…ahh, well let’s go back down and try again perhaps another time.
Right. Door was opened. Wind rushes in. My long hair flys in every direction. It looks like Cousin It is flying with the team today. Probably should have brought a hair band, but no time to think of that now as we are perched on the edge. Long hair being enjoyed by my tandem jumper.
Edge of a fast moving open door plane, flying at a billion feet above the solid earth…and I paid money for this? I can’t look down, actually I can’t breathe. My sky diving partner yells some last minute instructions into my ear. I can’t speak as a 500km wind is flying into my mouth and draining it of any necessary saliva needed in order to speak. I nod, sort of and tilt my head back on to his shoulder. He enjoys a full head of Cousin It hair flying into his face and then tips forward.
I don’t jump, I don’t need to. My tandem partner has done that for us, and I’m now hurtling towards the ground somersaulting towards a sure death. I let out a piercing long scream that seems fitting when death is just the corner.
I don’t die though, not just yet, we stop spinning and…. I’m flying! I’m really flying! The world looks so pretty hurtling up at you. I can’t stop smiling, which is a bit of a problem as the wind is still rushing into my mouth, flapping my cheeks at 500km an hour.
This is great! This is so much fun!
Over too soon and the cord gets pulled. Our parachute gets ripped open and with a jolt, we continue our descent a quite a bit slower. Adrenaline pumping, I try to create some saliva to speak again.
That was fantastic!
Which was closely followed by …actually I don’t feel so well.
You’re fine mate. You did well,” as we floated our way back down towards the small airstrip.
No… I really don’t feel well, I think I’m going to faint.
And so I did. Fainted that is. Waking up just in time to vomit into the grass as we landed, legs buckling under me, and our parachute elegantly fluttering behind. Thankfully I have it all on film for my kids to enjoy down the track too.
What can I say?…
It seemed like a good idea at the time.