It\’s Valentine\’s Day, and I\’ve just smashed, face-first, into a pane of Plexiglas.
I don\’t know what it is, but I tend to get hurt on shoots. Nothing major, but it\’s a good bet that when I come home, I\’ll have a few new bruises. I never go anywhere without Band-Aids, and I like to know where the nearest hospital is at all times. Just in case.
So, indoor skydiving. Why not?
We wrap at 6:30 p.m. and wisely make the decision to postpone dinner until post-flight. Joining the 7 p.m. training class, half of the rational part of my brain reasons that if the 7-year-old sitting in front of me has no fear of putting her butt over her head, why should I? The other half of the half of my brain reminds me that (a) 7-year-olds have no fear, period, and (2) I can barely go up a flight of stairs without a face-plant.
After learning and immediately forgetting a series of very important hand gestures that will surely save my life one day, we suit up, and I, not having the good fortune to be wearing sneakers, am handed the loaner shoes. Ew. At least the socks were new (right out of the bag!). Add to that the special goggles to go over my glasses, and, well, I\’ll say it: I was lookin\’ fiiiiiiiine.
We shuffle down to the tube, now helmeted, looking like the world\’s most busted astronauts ever. The tube is about eight feet around, surrounded by an antechamber ringed with benches. The 7-year-old, with five other members of her high-flying family, charges in to be first in line. I volunteer to go last. The time passes much, much too quickly, and it\’s my turn. I stand at the entrance and the only thing keeping me from bolting outside is the 7-year-old blocking my path. Considering she\’s wearing a helmet, I change my mind, but before I can shove her out of the way, I\’m pulled inside the tube and immediately shoot up into the air.
Each person gets two minutes in the tube. Next to that time in 10th grade when I had to give a speech about \”The History of Corn and Its Impact on Agriculture in The United States from 1924 to 1926,\” it was the longest two minutes of my life.
Don\’t get me wrong, it was also the coolest two minutes of my life. On my own, I mostly crashed into the walls and bounced off the ground, but then the instructor took pity on me. He grabbed the previously unnoticed handles on my suit and spun me around, shooting us 15 feet in the air. I was only brave enough to open my eyes once, but it was worth it. He brought us back down to a more sane eight feet, and I resumed bouncing around, feeling like a Super Ball. As terrified as I was in the beginning, when he chucked me towards the door when my time was up, I was bummed and considered shoving the 7-year-old out of the way yet again, but only so I could get back in the tube.
Giddy (and a little wind burnt), I wait for my next turn. I eagerly leap back into the tube, only this time, I\’m tired and sore and noodley; my arms and legs won\’t do what I tell them to do. It\’s not until the instructor flips me the right way for the 47th time that I realize what a workout throwing yourself into a 100 mph wind tunnel actually is. He lets go, and that\’s when I smash, face-first, into the Plexiglas. My time in the tube is up.
For the next week, everything hurts – my joints, my muscles – it even hurts to chew. Indoor skydiving has given me some new injuries to add to the list, but it was worth it.