Monday, June 20, 2011

Steve Became My New Best Friend!

"Oh I'm a gummy bear, yes I'm a gummy bear..."

When I answered my phone I heard my mother's beautiful voice saying, "Good Morning, Sunshine! You wanted me to wake you upppp! [Hearing her smiling through the phone]  Are you excited?"

"Yea, I just got to get up now..."

I don't really remember the rest of the conversation, I just knowI laid there another 10 minutes before moving. Eventually I jumped out of bed, threw what I was going to where across it and snuck in the bathroom for my morning routine. ::15 minutes later:: Clean, refreshed, teeth brushed, wet hair, and getting dressed, I scrambled to grab the last few things I needed. Which as I'm leaving I realized were actually not a "few" but I should have grabbed a knapsack or something of the sort. But voucher, directions, camera, and shorts, and flip flops, and breakfast (blackberries and CLIFF bar :] ), and keys, and perhaps that was it... in hand, I was out the door and on the road.

The trip wasn't bad and even went through a quaint village called, Quakertown. As I FINALLY turn onto North Ridge Road, I begin just FREAKING OUT with excitement! AHHHHHHHHHHHH
As I drive, I miss the airport, so I had to turn around, go figure! LOL

I pull in and follow the signs, then I see the one I'm looking for... "Skydive".
I hurry and lace up my TOMS for fear they may just fly off, put on some mascara, grab my purse and go. I continue to follow the red and white "skydive" sign like I'm a child following the giant footprints on the ground at an amusement park, and circle to the front of the building.

People are lined up wearing the awkward fitting, yet totally cool harnesses, that will essentially keep them from plummeting to their deaths. They look as thrilled as I feel, like on cloud 9, which if it were cloudy, we would literally be on, but its not. It's PERFECT outside. Absolutely P-E-R-F-E-C-T. Clear open skies, very light breeze, sunshine warming up the air, and perhaps a slight haze that hides the Philadelphia skyline.

Just, wow. And I'm still on the ground at this point. I enter the office and they give me a clipboard to sign away my rights of suing them if I happen to die. Which I'm sure when I'm dead I won't be worried about the company who aided me in jumping out the airplane to begin with..... but I signed away anyways. In fact, I was invigorated by it. The fact I was fully coherent and signing perhaps my death contract was sickly thrilling. I even took pictures of it! I know, Mom, I'm sick, "just like my father". I can  hear you in my head and your 500 miles away!

Finishing signing the paperwork, I'm instructed to watch this video of a man who has a beard, well I'm unsure how long it was, but it went long and full below the table that he was sitting at. I'm sure he has some relation to Abe lincoln. He goes on to tell me of the risks of death and dismemberment and that what I just signed was in fact a legal binding contract. Yes, if I do die, I can't sue them, I get it. I'm unsure if they do though, because I will in fact be dead. And it will be a little difficult to sue from heaven. I'm just saying...

The video ends in a quick run through of the thrills and adventures I'm about to embark, and then I take the clipboard downstairs. I let out a squeal of utter excitement and say, "Let's do this!" There I meet my dive guide, Steve, who seems pretty cool. He informed me he's been diving about 3 weeks. I told him as long as he makes sure I don't die, then I'm cool with it. We go on to discuss how I can become a certified diver and such and all the more I'm just getting more and more excited.

Before I harness up, I rush off to the gloriously disgusting port-a-potty and release everything I don't want to risk releasing in the air, in the very unlike chance I get scared. I didn't touch anything. I should get an award for executing such a flawless pee without touching anything. My day was not planned with this many expectations, but let me tell ya, it just got better and better!

I rush back to the building to suit up! At this point I'm beyond ecstatic with excitement!! SOOOO PUMPED! I talk to this guy with a video camera for a min about how I am sooooo pumped for my jump and if I die, I'll put in a good word to Jesus about Dad :)
When I go back inside I see my name and Steve's on a TV screen telling us the line up of jumpers. Every moment just gets more awesome as the minutes go by.
Time to get harnessed up. After bouncing around like I'm stupid we line up and begin the "walk".
The walk is when we trudge out to the airplane across the tarmac like astronauts boarding their space ship.
I take note of the lovely new green ladder we must climb.

Steve goes up before me and we load in like sardines in a tin can and are ready for the back massage train. Within minutes we're off the ground and gaining altitude. I can see the field plots, swimming pools and lovely houses becoming smaller and the brown, tan, an green color pallet more vivid.

At 4,000 ft we close the door. (Yes, it was open during take off and the ascent.)
Climbing and climbing, excitement builds!
The video camera is again shoved in my face.
10,000 ft.
Now I feel a twinge of nerves. I peek out the door again (which mind you, is NOT a door, it is a clear plastic shammy thing that slides down in place of where a door should be), I am about to plummet into THAT! Nothingness. Just sky! And the civilization 10,500 feet below me.
All the team is fist pounding and high 5-ing and hollering with excitement! This is a party plane! I don't see any fear. Just elusive glee.
11,000 ft.
Steve tells me to get up on my knees at this point. He scoots in close behind and latches up to me. I feel the harnesses tighten as if he is strapping me in for dear life. Oh wait. He is! He hands me my goggles and we go over the procedures one last time. OH MY GOSH! I'm about to jump out of an airplane!
11,500 ft.

I put on my goggles.
The door opens and the pre-jumpers line up. I can feel the cool air rushing it. Nothing like the 70-sum degrees on the ground, its nearly 60 up here. It feels so good. Its numbing.
They stand on the edge of the door outside the plane, count out and let go!
There they fly into the abyss, holding onto each others arms!
They disappear. Next are the camera guys.
I don't really recall what was happening with them because Steve and I were now moving into the doorway. On our knees and attached tightly together, I cross my arms across my chest, put my head back on his right shoulder and feel his hands grab the door frame as we stand on our knees halfway out the aircraft.
We lurch forward, "READY!"
We lean back, "SET!"
We again lurch forwards with a vigorous thrust into the rushing air, "SKYDIVE!"

I feel my body released form the comfort of the airplane.
All I feel is freedom and disbelief!
I see the ground coming closer as the wind and air is hitting me as fast as I am hitting it on my decent to the earth at 12,000 ft. I feel nothing but excitement and adrenaline and complete shock.

This is what it feels like to FLY! I feel Steve tap my hips so I check my legs to make sure they're in place and then a tap on my shoulders to release my arms into the wind as if I just robbed a bank!
This is the best feeling in the world! Out of nowhere comes a camera guy shooting me a thumbs up and all I can do is smile!
I think I'm remembering to breathe. But in case I forgot, I close my mouth and take a deep breathe through my nose.

This is bliss! I am in awe. This impetuous, impulsive, and passionate moment of how amazing my life is and how great my God is to give it to me is overwhelming.
I believe humans are only capable of using 10% of their brain at a time, but in moments of adrenaline, its uncanny to understand how so many thoughts and feelings can go through a mind at one time, yet feel like you're not thinking of anything at all. Just embracing the moment and forgetting all exterior thoughts, feelings and pressures.

Then Steve leans and we do a spin in mid air! We lean again and do another spin! This is SO AMAZING! I feel my face and arms flapping in the wind. (Gross right?!) haha!

Forgetting it had to be deployed, I feel the chute release. It's as if we stop falling in mid air. We being to float at a much slower speed. I take in the scenery and beauty of the earth from afar up. I listen and hear nothing. This is the sound of peace. I love sitting on my back porch and listening to the leaves rustle in the wind, the birds constantly singing, talking and playing, the air conditioners running amongst the buildings, but this is peace. There is no sound, but the wind rushing by your ears. Its marvelous.

Steve lets me take the reigns for a bit and I have total control of the parachute now. Wow. I could get used to this. He loosens a couple spots on the harness so the glide down is a little more comfortable.

Then he shows me how to turn the chute, it feels like we're spinning on a tilt-a-wheel. After several minutes the ground is coming much closer. Steve says he's going to aim for the pool which at this point is fine by me. About a thousand feet above where we were, we hit the point of humidity and the heat of the earth all over again. AHH  it was so hot out! BUT SO BEAUTIFUL!
He does another spin and at this point I don't feel the best. I feel a little car sick and my ears won't pop, so I feel as if I'm in a very painful pressurized container.

We make our final decent.

I see our grassy runway.
50 ft.
Knees up!
Feet out!
That is the sound of my butt scraping against the ground and putting grassy stains on my back pockets.
Perfect landing!

I wait until Steve gathers up the parachute. Its pretty, Red and Blue.
I let out some awesome "Whoop, Whoops!"
And am still up in the air on cloud 9!

Can't wait to go again!


1 comment:

  1. I don't understand why you don't write professionally. You have amazing stories!