I went sky diving last week. This is huge. You don’t understand how terrified I am of heights. Those ridiculous videos popping up lately of people climbing skyscrapers in Shanghai make me want to throw up. I don’t even like walking on bridges. I’d had it on my “40 Before 40” list, but not really in all seriousness. I kind of thought maybe I’d come up with something better and replace it, but things don’t always work out how we think.
This all came about when I suggested to my husband that we do something “exciting” for our anniversary. I should have been more explicit because what I meant was a trip to Peru or a long weekend in New York City. Instead he booked us two tandem jumps in Colorado. I freaked out and then he did this coddling thing where he tells me “you don’t have to do it if you don’t want to, I’m sorry…I wasn’t trying to make you do something you didn’t want to.” I hate being coddled or treated like a baby (I’m sure he knew what he was doing), so naturally I had to go through with it.
I put it out of my mind until we were actually suiting up at the dive center. I thought there’d be some formalities or a class or something, but no. This place was very chill and the only instructions we received were brief as we were getting dressed and waiting for the truck to bring us to the plane. I was sure I would screw it up and send myself and my jump master plummeting to our deaths. However, it turns out that he’s a lot more competent than that and we landed safely. It wasn’t even that horrifying except that I was the last one out of the plane and as he shoved me up to the door, the plane started to turn so we had to sit there for about a minute while the plane completed it’s turn and leveled out. During this time, I had the unnecessary chance to stare out the door at the ground for way too long while I waited for him to shove me out, which is exactly what he did. The free fall portion only lasted for about a minute and then he pulled the parachute. Free fall was exhilarating and terrifying at the same time, but we were so far up that it didn’t seem like the ground was rushing at us. It was just surreal. After the parachute was out and the wind wasn’t so loud, it was so peaceful and beautiful, just floating to the ground. I was actually kind of disappointed when it was over. I really hadn’t thought I would enjoy it as much as I did, much less want to do it again. My poor husband on the other hand, got really nauseous from the free fall and had a headache for the rest of the day. If I go again, I’ll have to find someone else to accompany me.
It did occur to me while we were drifting down that I would never go sky diving in China. Primarily for two reasons. The first is safety. I wouldn’t trust that safety would be the primary concern or that the jump masters would necessarily be well trained for any and all emergencies. Or that the pilot wouldn’t swing back around and hit us. The second reason is because of how tightly controlled their air space is by the military. The PLAAF might catch wind that a foreigner was sky diving and they’d think I was a spy trying to get into some facility. They’d probably send a fighter escort to make sure I landed somewhere safe, but they’d probably hit me too. Basically, I don’t see myself coming out of that experience alive. Besides, how much fun would sky diving be in all that smog anyway? I doubt that sky diving would be super popular in China.