"...Fear, that's the worst of it. That's the real enemy. So, get up. Get out in the real world. And you kick that bastard as hard as you can right in the teeth."
I'll start with a great quote from this week's episode of Breaking Bad, which is an amazing show in its second season on AMC. I may talk about the show more in a separate post, but it should suffice to say that it's some of the best stuff on TV right now. It gives me something to think about every week.
The weekend got off to an early start with Mom coming into town for a few days. It's always good to have home-cooked food for a change. We went out for some karaoke and I almost got her to sing for her first time. Oh well, maybe next time.
Saturday morning was supposed to be a "big event," or so I thought. My friend Farah invited me to go skydiving, and I couldn't come up with any reason to say no. (That's usually my default reaction to trying something new: "No." I'm working on it -- some might say too much....) Anyway, we drove all the way out to Eloy (about halfway between Phoenix and Tucson) for our tandem jump appointment. Tandem jumping is when they strap you to a seasoned pro and you jump out together.
After watching a video clarifying that you can die from skydiving, we then read, initialed, and signed six pages of legalese reminding us that we can die from skydiving. To sum it up, I learned that I can die while skydiving. After paying the fees, we sat around waiting for our instructors. They put us in our harness rigs and walked us out to an open area to wait for the plane. After about two minutes, the wind picked up and they announced that it was too gusty for jumping. We could either wait for 30 minutes to see if the wind let up, or we could make an appointment for the next day. All the staff seemed pessimistic, so we decided to call it quits and come back again.
Bright and early the next day, we made the lovely drive back to Eloy (which is a sad ghost town, btw). Back into the harness rig, some brief instructions for the jump (brief because there's not much for me to do), and we're on our way. The plane was a tight fit with two benches full of jumpers. We climbed up to 13,000 feet and out we went. The first few moments of freefall are a bit of a sensory overload. I'm trying to mentally remember the instructions I was given, while visually focusing on the photographer in front of me, all while trying to remember to breathe. After a minute or so, my instructor pulled the cord and everything slowed down. My senses caught up and I was able to enjoy the view. Pretty damn awesome. There are a few times when you are able to really appreciate just how small you are. One I have experienced is when out on the open ocean, and another is when floating in the air a mile away from EVERYTHING.
We landed out without any issues and they sent us on our way with some souvenir photos (a few seen below), video, and a T-shirt. If anyone in the Tucson/Phoenix area wants to try it, I'll definitely be going again sometime soon....