Sunday, November 18, 2012
jumping at danger
I had lunch with my friend Beth and her mother Saturday morning at one of our favorite eateries in Salem -- Busick Court. Some of the best Eggs Benedict in town.
My stir and toss method of divesting myself of possessions has resulted in some interesting coincidences. And my lunch was Beth was another in that category.
Nine years ago Beth stopped by my work office to ask me if I was interested in taking up sky diving. It was not an idle conversation point. She was on her way to the Mulino airport and wanted to know if I would join her on another of her adventures.
She had just recently bungee-jumped out of a hot air balloon. All she needed was an accordion to make it a trifecta.
Even though I had parachute training in the Air Force, I had never experienced a free fall. But I was about to.
We had a rather lengthy briefing on safety and parachute packing. After donning our gear, we crowded onto a small airplane and enjoyed the flight until we got to our jump altitude.
I recall our instructor asking me what was the most important lesson I had learned in the briefing. My response? "The moment I step out of this airplane, I am dead. Unless certain things happen in a certain order."
He thought I was clever. I thought I was merely accurate.
On that first jump, I was not afraid. Even though my pilot training made me wonder why I was leaving a perfectly good aircraft in flight.
But there was very little sense of being several thousand feet above the planet. It was too high for my brain to form a fear of heights.
The few moments I was in a free fall were some of the most amazing of my life. I felt as if I was driving a motorcycle at 120 miles per hour -- without the motorcycle. It was a libertarian dream of physical freedom.
Beth and I made a second jump. We even talked about becoming certified, but the cost and other circumstances got in the way.
As exciting as those two jumps were, I had almost forgotten about them until I found my log book and first jump certificate. Both of which are now in garbage bags.
But it was nice to revive those memories.
Someone commented a few days ago that the memories are in my head, not in these pieces of paper. That is true. But rediscovering these little memory jabbers has been the best part of clearing out my closets and file cabinets.