“Learning to Fly”

Bucket list:  SKYDIVE 27th June 2010

Yes folks, I finally got my guts out and balls in place and took that giant leap at 10,500 ft. There is no denying that skydiving is by far the best thrill ride I’ve ever had. Period. Most of you know my paranoia for anything from 2 ft. of water to going down the splash zone at Six Flags. Ms. Paranoid didn’t want to try her hand at bungee jumping, para-sailing, skydiving and in that order. No, she just went straight for the free fall. I’m not sure what turning 30 has done to me, but I’m lovin’ it. How skydiving happened on my list I’m not sure.
On the day itself, my mind was blank. There was absolutely nothing to cloud that space. Neil’s incessant chatter, his laughter, Vinod’s questions, his musings were all passing me by. I was like a passenger on a train platform watching everything go by.

Even as the harness came on, nothing interfered with me, myself, and the dive. Bobby, the instructor kept talking, instructing, and all of it passed me by. I couldn’t retain anything in that crazy head of mine. The only real image in my mind was walking into the plane and walking back to the hanger. All the in-betweens did not cross my mind even for a second. I stopped thinking.

I got walked to the plane and Bobby ras things over for me one more time, but just looking at the plane made me nervous. Sputtering, wobbling, and literally farting its way up to 10,500 ft., the dilapidated excuse for an aircraft made me rethink my dive. We were all crammed into this rickety plane like sardines. We didn’t even have breathing space. We got into the skid of this very tiny aircraft, and there I was, jammed up against the pilot’s seat ready to fling my entire being out into the oblivion! There was absolute silence, except for the howling wind and the loud sputtering of the engine.

As we rose in altitude, I began to feel lighter, more relaxed somehow. The calm relaxed feeling went out the open window the minute the door swung open. All hell broke loose! My heart was out on my limb and pounding away louder than the regurgitating engine. I crawled towards the door with Bobby strapped to my back. It was quite a task moving with a man twice my size hooked to my back. When I put my shaking right leg out the door and moved my hand to hold the bar, I was hit. Hit so hard by the thought of having to jump that  I stopped breathing. And that sinking feeling set in, but before I knew it, we were flying, flying away from the plane. It was ready, set, and swooooosh!!! The very first thought that entered my mind – FUCK! I just cannot explain the feeling in words; there are no words.

If it weren’t for the relentless wind, you wouldn’t know you were moving at all. We were free falling at 120 mph. Yes, I couldn’t breathe for the first 5 secs., I had a brain freeze. My entire body froze. I was rigid as a dead bird on a sidewalk. Then it happened, I let go, took that deep breathe in, and voila…I could feel the wind gushing into my nostrils, grazing past every little follicle on my skin, and for the first time, I did not feel the weight of my own body. I was strapped to a man twice my weight, but the feeling of weightlessness is simply un-put-downable!

40 secs. is all I had before the trippin’ stopped. The sheer sight of coming in contact with the ground and closing in at such an insane speed was literally mind boggling. I felt the rush of the world leaving me, I tumbled and turned in air. I spread my hands out wide and for the first time in my life was flying like a bird – Free!

I took all the details in. The circuit board design down below began to show itself up as roads, the box patterns became buildings, the blue splashes became lakes, and in the distance, Bobby pointed out downtown Dallas. It was our first exchange since we fell, and when he asked me, “How does that feel?” I said, “that was the best 40 fucking secs. of my life. Let’s do that again and again.” He gave me partial controls of the chute and explained what I needed to do to make a smooth landing. I twirled and swooshed like a giant bird and touched down with legs made of jelly. The rush was so insane I could barely stand.
I did it! I jumped off of a plane. I gave it my all and I came back alive. If anyone ever tells me that I must’ve be insane to jump out of a plane, they don’t know what they are talking about.