Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Skydiving Pt 11


“You’ll be back.”

That’s what the guy with the broken leg said to me from the couch as I told everyone that I wouldn’t skydive again.

Not that it wasn’t a good experience.  I’ve done something I never did before, something that makes most people wet their pants when I describe it.  I just don’t have any desire to do it again.

Here’s the thing.  I said I wanted to do this as a test of bravery, that I wanted to see if I would do it or would be overwhelmed with fear (like I had secretly hoped).  However, when the time came, I just jumped out.
I ain't that brave.
You know what I was thinking, and sometimes saying, on the way down?

“Hey I’m falling.  Okay, well, I’d better enjoy it, since this is my big 41st birthday present to myself.  There’s the farms.  And there’s the camera guy.  Wow, he moves around fast.  Hi!  Hi kids!  Oops.  Look at the altimeter.  Okay, so now it’s time to pull the chute.  Ow, that hurt.  Now what do I do?  I guess just hang here.  I guess those are the control loops.  I’ll turn this way.  Now I’ll turn that way.  Now what?  I guess I just wait...”
"I find your enjoyment of falling out of the sky illogical."
And so on, all the way down.  I was a bit shocked I was so calm about the experience.

When I first decided to skip a tandem jump and go straight for the class, my experienced friend cautioned against it.  She told me that people who skipped the tandem are so overwhelmed by the experience that they blank out and fail to open their parachute.

It didn’t happen.  I didn’t panic.  I didn’t shout with joy.  I wasn’t felled by sensory overload.

And that was what I had been hoping for.  If any of that had happened, I would have come back.
This would have been nice.
I was after a way of getting out of my own head, to be jolted out of my thinking mind for once and let my emotions control me.  For years, friends have told me about these kinds of experiences, the “full body orgasm” of a drug high, the joy of connecting with the divine through meditation or prayer, dancing because the music overwhelms you.

I’ve never had any of that happen.  I just don’t get overwhelmed.  I will, forever, be sitting back in my mind, analyzing every experience, rethinking every judgment, talking through every event.  If the biggest thrill on Earth couldn’t change that, nothing will.

So, no, I’m not going back.  I’m glad I did it.  It was fun.  It just wasn’t fun enough to justify the drive and the expense and the time.  I really can’t think of anything that would make me go back.

Well, maybe one thing (NSFW):

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