Friday, December 30, 2011

Skydiving Duck: Solo Two (Adrenaline Boogaloo)

 Skydiving seems  cool, but I still get second thoughts on the drive to the drop zone.  What was I getting myself into?  This was for bold, adventure seeking types, not me.  I had no business getting on that plane.
The ride to altitude wasn't the torture it was in my earlier jumps, but it wasn't a merry-go-round ride either.  A primitive part of my brain still sounded the alarm: "Oh noes!  People are falling off this thing!  And you're in line to do the same!"
Oddly, standing in the doorway wasn't as scary is it used to be.  The exit was another story.
   "!@#!!" I thought "I'm falling out of a $%!&^@ airplane!  Holy *&%#!!"  Those first few seconds are just overwhelmingly weird.   Unnerving.  I'm falling, yet I'm so high that the ground doesn't zoom up.
I feel like Alice in Wonderland when she tumbles down the rabbit hole.

Experienced jumpers tell me this part eventually becomes great fun.  Will this ever be the case for me?  When?
 It still takes me about ten or fifteen seconds to quit flopping around and get stable.  I suspect the comparative lack of air resistance might have something to do with it, plus the fact that I'm not relaxed as I should be.
Then I was stable.  Hooray!
I tried to breathe deep and slow as I kept my eye on the view and the altimeter.  See?  I told myself.  You can do this.  Soon it was time to open the parachute.

I'm surprised (and a bit disappointed) that I'm still super frazzled after the parachute deploys.     What's wrong with you?  I thought,  Why are you so rattled?     You're a big baby!
Big baby or not, I was getting better at controlling the canopy.  I practiced my flares at different speeds and kept nagging myself to fly safely:  Look at the windsock!  Where's it pointing?  Look for the other jumpers.  See anyone?  What are they doing?  Hey!  Look before you make those turns!
Then came landing time.  One of my instructors once suggested the best time to flare is a second or two after you think it's time to flare.  I'm in no position to recommend this for everyone*, but it seems to work for me.
And what was this...?
Was I actually going to have my first stand up landing!?
I touched down, held the flare, was about to stand up when...
...I tipped over.  Whoops.
Maybe next time!


*for flakes, sake, I'm just a student. 

10 comments:

Pile Girl said...

Your courage and adventuresomeness continues to amaze me.

Linda Davick said...

I love this one.
What does "flare" mean?
I love the perspective in illo #2. Those little feet and the tiny plane.
Namo, I've been meaning to ask you: How DID you decide to start skydiving? Don't leave out any details.

Leander said...

Another great adventure! I love 'em and I always will.

@Linda: flaring means braking. You brake by pulling both toggles. You have to do it when your a few feet off the ground to slow down. And yes, Namo, i'm curious about why you started too ;)

booda baby said...

This one was much easier for me to read (really. who would've guessed so many mirror neurons would kick in? eeeeeek.) I'm sort of proud of your primitive brain for not surrendering easily to modern temptations. hahahaha.

Hey, as long as you're going to have to explain why you started, can you dip your fingertips into why you actually persisted? I'm going to guess that there are moments of purely exquisite present-ness. But 1. what do I know and 2. were those moments even worth it in the beginning?

signing off, skeered as usual

Namowal said...

Thanks, Pile Girl, Linda, Leander and Boodababy!
As for how I started, I did my first tandem out of curiosity. What was it like? Was it as fun as people claimed it was? It scared me at first but the canopy ride was cool. I remember the instructor telling me afterwards that I could learn to do it on my own if I wanted and thinking "Yeah, like I'm doing that again!"
A few weeks later, after a second tandem, someone again suggested AFF lessons. I thought "Oh, I could never do that..." then I thought "Says who?"
I'm naturally nervous and timid- who knows how many opportunities I've missed because of "Oh, I could never do that..."
So the whole thing was kind of a personal dare- to push the boundaries of who I was and what I could do.
It still makes me nervous (I'm off for another jump today) but each jump gets a little easier.

Anonymous said...

Stand-up landings are overrated. Not hurting yourself on landing is underrated.

MikeJD said...

Ha! Some of my favourite drawings yet - the extreme perspective in the second frame, and the final sequence of three which made me laugh out loud. It's not easy to get comic 'timing' right with static pictures, but yours was perfect here. :)

MikeJD said...

Ha! Some of my favourite drawings yet - the extreme perspective in the second frame, and the final sequence of three which made me laugh out loud. It's not easy to get comic 'timing' right with static pictures, but yours was perfect here. :)

MikeJD said...

Hmm. Double post, sorry. And now it's a triple post!

Namowal said...

Anon,
I'll have to agree with you about the "not getting hurt" landings.

MikeJD,
Thanks! I had to redraw the second and third "landing" pictures several times to get the look I wanted. As for the exit drawing, well, that's pretty much how I think they feel! :D
p.s. At least the view is sweet!
p.p.s. No worries about the double posts. Blogger does that sometimes.