Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Mrs. A and the Parachute

It goes without saying that when Mrs. A informed me she wanted to tandem parachute on her 50th birthday I was mortified. Being an agoraphobic with a healthy fear of flying I couldn't see any one wanting to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. She was not to be persuaded to do something a little less dangerous like swim with dolphins. I argued all the way to the Taft Airport where people come from miles around to be among the brave who could say they parachuted from a plane at 10000 feet. Skydiving is the ultimate adrenaline rush. Just watching her complementary video gives me goosebumps. I watched with serious doubt as she attended the classes to prepare her for the jump. I guess it didn't hurt that her instructor was a young man with an athletic build. This may have added to the experience when she imagined having him tied to her back. I tried not to think about that as well, instead trying to be supportive of her need to risk her life for this birthday wish. I watched helpless as she stood with her instructor in front of the jump plane. Then they were on the runway lifting off over the rolling hillsides of Southern California. It was a pristine day.
A good day to die I thought to myself and pushed the thought away as I watched the plane circle over the landing area. Then I heard " there they go" from others in our group. I squinted my eyes and could barely see two dots emerge from the tiny toy sized plane. My heart stopped as I waited for what seemed an eternity for the chute to open. When it did I almost shouted with excitement. What a thrill that would be to be free falling at what they call terminal velocity at about 120 miles per hour. A video is taken by another jumper who films the whole thing from inside the aircraft to when they touch down. The air pressure during the free fall period before the chute opens causes the exposed skin of your face to distort and seem to be about to come away from one's skull. They fly with arms outstretched and even do a couple of somersaults. When she at last touches ground and is allowed to be separated from her instructor she bounces around like a kid and whoops with joy. I guess it was worth it after all. I am nonplussed later as we go for celebratory drinks and lunch that she wants to do it again and hopes I might join her for her 51st birthday jump.

No comments:

Post a Comment