the day I went skydiving
March 27, 2012.
The day I went skydiving.
I mean, I feel like I should have a story for you here, but, really, I jumped out of a plane and it was great. It was incredible. I would do it again every day for the rest of my life if I could.
Okay. The guy (Adrian, 30 years of skydiving, jumps everyday, competes around the world and trains parachutists in the United States, Sweden, and everywhere else I’m sure) picked Meredith and I up from the hostel at seven in the morning. We picked up two more kids from a different hostel and then drove for something like two hours out of the city. Meredith jumped first—Adrian picked the order of people—and she was done with her jump by 10 AM.
Then we watched the sky for six hours. The clouds changed, and Adrian said the conditions for jumping weren’t good, nor was it easy for the plane. I took a nap on a bean bag. Adrian dragged a bean bag out on the lawn in front of the Aeroclub HQ and leaned back, face trained on the sky. We went to the corner store and bought sandwiches. It was starting to look like no one else could jump, and I would probably have cried if that was the case—the sky was clearing up, but the wind was getting much stronger.
Finally, around 5 PM, Adrian said I should suit up. His assistant, Fernando (this incredibly handsome 25-year-old kid, I might add) tossed me a bright orange space suit and Adrian strapped me into a variety of harnesses, assessing my ody very seriously and getting closer to second base than any man has gotten in a long time, but I guess that’s how it goes when you’re tandem jumping and putting your life in the hands of a total stranger.
I wasn’t nervous at all until the moment the door of the plane opened and suddenly I realized that we were 2,500 meters in the air (about 1.55 miles, according to the Google converter) and I had to put my feet outside and actually jump. Really.
Thankfully, Adrian, being the pro and all, edged me out of the plane and suddenly we were free falling, and it was the most excruciatingly glorious moment of my life. It lasted all of fifteen seconds. I screamed, because I think you have to, but it was out of pleasure, once I realized I wasn’t going to die. He pulled the parachute, and then we were floating—above vineyards, above checkered plains, and the wind was strong and Adrian seemed to be getting a workout with the parachute, but I was rapturous, arms open wide, absorbing all I could of these scant moments in the air.
There’s always the thrill seekers who do crazy things and it’s nothing to them, and I admit I didn’t give too much thought to the severity of this little excursion. Skydiving was not something I ever had on my radar or saw myself doing. But why not?
Free falling, and then like we were sailing. Surreal enough. And awesome.