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.



Felipe Zapata said...

I did that once, just once, and I too have the logbook. It's an indescribable emotion the first time out, but you know that already.

NWannabe said...

Again with the motorcycle? A true libertarian would have a quad by now, just buy one already. As you can tell here in Salem, NOW is the time to buy.

John Calypso said...

Yes - made two jumps as well (free fall). Thought the landing was way too hard - the equipment has apparently gotten better these days. Do not have any paperwork - just three X-wives ;-0

DonCuevas said...

No free fall descents for us. But we did a number of free hanging rappels, under our own control, the highest of which was somewhat under 400 feet. No big deal.

The big deal is the ascent. UFF></b. You have plenty of time to contemplate the 11 mm. rope you are climbing as it slowly turns and sometimes bounces.

I maintain that you have to be more than a little delusional to do this.

Saludos, Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

Being delusional is the very essence of life.

Steve Cotton said...

Beth and I used para-sail parachutes rather than the canopy chutes I learned on in the Air Force.

Steve Cotton said...

I have found some great deals up here. But there is the problem of getting it south.

Steve Cotton said...

I often wondered if the thrill would diminish with each jump?  That tends to be true with me in every other life activity.

Shannon Casey said...

Wow, I'm not sure if I could do that. Todd jumped once and said he felt immortal afterward. I have driven a motorcycle at 100 miles per hour though.

Steve Cotton said...

It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.  Todd is correct.

Joanna van der Gracht Powell said...

I have done the “clear-out and move-on” a couple
of times in my life and I know it is painful. But a friend told me:
Don’t cry for anything that can’t cry for you. That helped. The “weepy
stuff” included my music (I copied all my CDs and albums onto an iTouch,
then gave them to Goodwill) I scanned the photographs then gave away or
burned them (except for very old or special ones) Clothing – almost
everything went to Goodwill. The souvenirs and treasures – I gave them
to friends and family “to remember me by” and I made a list of who got
what. I figured that if I ever regretted giving them away, I could ask
to have them back. Happily, I haven’t needed to do that, just knowing
where they are is enough. Books: I did the same as with the other
treasures, but like the photographs, I held onto a few (including the
Catechism I received when I made my First Communion) Furniture was
easiest to give away – but again, I kept a list…

Steve Cotton said...

I have cleared out most of my possessions in my former office.  The big struggle is with the "ego" pieces.  Certificates .  Awards.  Diplomas.  Autographed photographs.  I have no place for them in Mexico.  And storing them seems to be a waste of space.