I Don't Remember, I Don't Recall

I'm reading "Among Flowers: A Walk in the Himalaya" by Jamaica Kincaid about her treks around the globe to gather seeds for her garden.

A passage in the very first chapter struck me: "The greatest difficulty I experienced was that I often could not remember who I was and what I was about in my life when I was not here in southwestern China. I suppose I felt that thing called alienated, but it was so pleasant, so interesting, so dreamily irritating to be so far away from everything I had known."

And so it is with me and skydiving.

There's a natural separation from the outside world that occurs at the airport. There's no CNN -- if a TV is on, it's showing skydiving videos. There's no radio -- if there's music, it's techno coming from someone's iPod. There are no newspapers -- if somebody is reading, it's a copy of Parachutist magazine.

This is precisely the reason why I was probably the last person in the world to find out the U.S. had captured Saddam Hussein. At the time, I was staying in Zephyrhills, Fla. at Skydive City. When I finally left the dropzone and wandered into town, I saw a TV running news of the capture -- which had happened a week prior.

If you know anything about me, you know this runs contrary to my regular life. Normally I check my favorite web sites for updates about every three seconds. I have seizures if I forget my BlackBerry. The New York Times is my crack.

During the week, I can be pretty high-maintenance. I wear heels like skyscrapers and change purses every day to match my outfit. I live on bubbly mineral water, steamy grande cafe Americanos and organic takeout gourmet salads. I won't use a public restroom stall if someone has left a drop of urine on the toilet.

But the dropzone is my Bizarro World. There, I'm a dirty, smelly bitch in old yoga pants. I've had entire meals of old chow mein noodles I scrounged from a random cupboard. I've pissed in conditions that would make a wild animal woozy. Not to mention, I don't even get service on my BlackBerry out there.

For two whole days, I relish this contrast. I love that I don't have my job, my clothing, my status, my friends or anything to fall back on. It's an entirely disarming, unnatural, enlightening situation. All the things I once knew have been lopped off me, and suddenly I have to be this brand new version of myself. Someone I'm still unearthing.

My friend Joe asked me yesterday, "Who were you before you started skydiving? What did you do?"

Truth is, I don't remember.
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By Blogger Joe, at 5:17 PM  

Okay, now that I got props (no pun intended) on your blog I feel compelled to read it more. Nice work.

Loved this read. I've often said I like my anonymity as much as I like being around a giant room of people. Sounds like skydiving is a great way to get that no-one-knows-me-or-where-I'm-at feeling. I love that.

It's also interesting to read about your double-life. It's odd to be known by some people one way and then a whole lot of others another way.

Anywho, good stuff. And by the way, you have 'nother friend Joe? 'Cuz I don't remember asking you that. And if you do, I don't feel special. But people named Joe don't often do.    

By Blogger Maggie, at 9:40 PM  

I do have another friend Joe (my best friend in Canada), but you were the Joe who said this. It was somewhere in the middle of my show-and-tell of skydiving videos -- when I was like, "Hey watch this! Now look at DeLand Majic! Wait -- you have to see Alchemy!"

Even if you never jump, you have to come see the dropzone sometime.    

By Blogger Yelnad, at 2:47 PM  

Maggie -- this was a great entry. I really enjoyed it.    

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