Too Happy to Die

As I sit here, my shade-grown rainforest coffee is steaming in a mug as large as Minnesota. My favorite New Order just started playing on my favorite internet radio station. And my cat is somersaulting through the living room, zealously ripping and clawing at a sheet of gold giftwrap.

It's all so normal, so good. Hard to believe I almost killed myself this weekend.

Cliffs Notes version: I was on a special jump for my friend's 500th jump. Her boyfriend, a very experienced skydiving instructor, took her on a tandem. A bunch of us were supposed to go out with them and build a circle around the couple. In building this formation during freefall, I accidentally flew into the drogue , a small parachute used to stabilize and slow tandem jumpers. The situation wasn't even close to as bad as it could have been, but it could have been deadly.

Had I gotten too tangled in the drogue, my friends would have had no choice but to cut away their main canopy and use the reserve. The main would have enveloped me -- skydivers wryly call it "giftwrapping" -- and I likely would have died in that parachute.

It's understandable. The choice is to have three people dead or just one. I would have been sacrified.

I know exactly what I did wrong in my flying, and I apologized about 100 times to the couple for ever putting them in danger.

And again, I'm struck by how difficult skydiving is. It's like this amazingly choreographed dance, where you have to fly forcefully, but controlled; fast, but cautious; precise, but fluid. It's beautiful and exhilarating and wonderful -- and so easy to fuck up.

On top of all that, I've hit this plateau where I don't feel like I'm improving at all. Some aspects of flying just aren't coming naturally to me. It's really hard, and I'm so frustrated.

Some of the other jumpers call what I'm going though the 300-jump slump.

My friend Scotty said I should do some solos -- take some time to remember what I love about skydiving, take some time to play. He said things will get better soon if I keep at it. He said one day it'll just click.

Let's hope that happens before I do something stupid again.
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By Blogger Burt Safer, at 5:10 PM  

that does it.. I'm never going skydiving. Actually, the solo jumps sound okay, but the fancy stuff.. not for me.    

By Blogger Burt Safer, at 5:11 PM  

oh yeah, I forgot to say.. be careful!    

By Blogger Joe, at 9:20 AM  




Okay. That feels better.

Not saying - yet - that I'll never skydive, but these, uh, like, deaths, near-deaths, sky-diving planes barreling into the ground. I dunno. Then there's dudes getting their legs turned into knobs, reaching the ground alive, able to talk - and then dying. C'mon, now. This is like Wes Craven taunting Stephen King for worst-ever nightmare Aaaah.

But first and foremost, Maggie Downs, let's keep livin', K? Thanks for that. No, really, I mean it. Thanks. Don't die.    

By Blogger Misty, at 8:43 PM  

No sweat. We didn't die! Really, it wasn't as bad as you think. The pictures and video were great!    

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