Fly Sexy: Skydiving in Hawaii
When I begged for your help with the Rioja Wines contest, I promised that if I won, I would do the following with the $250 prize:
I’m going to do something fun with the money. And by fun, I don’t mean put it toward my new car. That would be responsible. I plan on being irresponsible and I’ll share that irresponsibility with you.
Well, as you know by now, I won** the contest while I was in Hawaii. But I had a dilemma. What should I do with the money?
I thought about buying this Tiffany’s necklace I’ve loved for a long time, but just can’t justify the cost. I also considered buying a piece of art work I’ve been eyeing. I even debated blowing it all on a fabulous and overpriced dinner at The Source in Washington, D.C. (the Wolfgang Puck restaurant whose reviews Chef and I have been drooling over but we can’t bring ourselves to spend that much money on one meal).
But none of these options seemed quite right.
They didn’t seem quite fun enough.
They weren’t irresponsible enough.
And then I remembered what Katie from Domestiphobia texted me the day I went to Hawaii:
“Be sure to hit up North Shore if you can and the town of Kailua if you have time. I prefer the small artsy towns to Honolulu. 🙂 Oh and go skydiving!!! That’s where we did it and it was fantastic!!”
So it was decided. I was going to spend the money going to the small artsy town of Kailua.
Syke! (Yes, I just said syke. Hello, early 90s.)
Just like the title of this blog post spoiled, I decided to go skydiving. Okay, I should probably clarify. I half-decided to go skydiving. Because I’m a scaredy-Cat. (Get it, Cat – my name is Catherine – okay. I probably shouldn’t have to explain it. Moving along.)
I’ve casually talked about skydiving for years. It’s on the list of all the other crap I’ve talked about doing, but never actually got around to doing. You know, skydive, run a marathon, get married, write a book, actually keep a New Year’s resolution. The usual.
But here I was in Hawaii, with the opportunity to actually go skydiving, and I was scared out of my mind.
For days, I entertained the thought. I called skydive shops and compared prices. (Because clearly, price is a very important factor when risking your life jumping out of a perfectly good plane). I tried to get others to go with me. One morning, I finally worked up the nerve to book my trip, and then found out that they weren’t skydiving that day because the trade winds were too bad.
I felt like a death row inmate who had just been given a pardon at the very last second. Now, I could say I tried to go skydiving while I was in Hawaii, but the winds were just too bad. I was a total bad ass … but the damn weather got in my bad ass way.
Would you have bought that?
Well, the problem was, I still had about a week left of my vacation. So that excuse wouldn’t really hold up. I called a few other mornings, and found that the winds were still too bad.
Then, I called on January 19. My 27th birthday. And the lady said yes, they were skydiving today.
I panicked and told her I’d call back later. I couldn’t hang up the phone fast enough.
When I told my dad that skydiving was an option today, he said to me, “So, are you going to go skydiving? Or are you going to wuss out?”
I told him I wasn’t sure yet. Shortly after, as I was in the shower, his words haunted me.
Was I really going to wuss out?
I had the money. I was in Hawaii. You couldn’t ask for a prettier skydiving location. It was my birthday for God’s sake. And Katie looked like she had so much fun when she went.
And then it hit me: I cannot handle being the girl who wussed out of skydiving for the rest of this family vacation. Scratch that: for the rest of my life. As I was rinsing the conditioner out of my hair (remember, I was in the shower), I imagined my future if I didn’t go skydiving.
“Dad, I’m thinking of buying a condo/dying my hair red/joining a cult/insert whatever life milestone you’d like. What do you think?” I’d ask.
“Might be a good idea. If you don’t wuss out of it like you wussed out of skydiving,” I imagined my dad replying.
I got out of the shower and immediately began to book the trip.
Some of the fear was released when the lady on the phone basically called me a heffer.
“You not fat, right?” was one of her very first questions.
“I mean, I have some junk in the trunk, if that’s what you’re asking. Child-bearing hips, that’s for sure,” was my response. I really wasn’t prepared to defend my body this morning – especially after spending the past week and a half eating and drinking whatever I wanted while I was on vacation.
“You not too fat to skydive though, right? You not over 200 pounds? You over 200 pounds, we charge you extra. You way too fat, you can’t skydive at all.”
Phew. Her definition of fat and my definition of fat are definitely different. Happy to say, I was not too “fat” to skydive.
Within two hours, the trusty bus from Skydive Hawaii picked me up at my hotel. After making sure my seat belt was securely fastened, we were off to pick up my fellow skydivers.
Because even when you are about to jump out of a plane, you better buckle your seat belt. Safety is key.
On the bus, I met a group of college students that were in Hawaii on a school trip. They made me feel slightly old, as well as wish I went to a different college (I don’t remember any trips to Hawaii at my school!), but they were a fun bunch of kids.
Jesus, I am old. I just called college students a “bunch of kids.” I digress.
The college kids adopted me into their group and agreed to be my jumping buddies.
Immediately upon arriving at Skydive Hawaii, you are accosted with a clipboard and a super scary contract that you must sign before moving forward. The key points of the contract were:
- You are going to could die.
- You can’t sue us when if you die or get seriously injured.
- Your health insurance will laugh in your face if you try to get them to cover any skydiving injuries.
- You are crazier than shit to be doing this. You don’t have to do this. Actually, we suggest you don’t do this.
- Have I mentioned that you could die?
As I’m reading through the eight pages – each page reminding me of how I could be making the biggest mistake of my life – I hear a video playing.
Oh, it’s the maker of the parachute I’ll be using. A sweet, grey haired fellow. Great, I’d love to hear all about how effective your parachutes are. I listen to the old man talk.
“I’m here to tell you that there is no perfect parachute. My parachute isn’t perfect. It could fail at any time for any reason. Skydiving is extremely dangerous.”
I signed the contract. My whole reason for going – not wanting to be a wuss – is the only thing that kept me moving forward with this ridiculous plan. How much of a wuss would I be if I turned around and went back to the hotel now? I’d never live it down!
For the next hour or so, the college kids and I watched several planes take off, and the skydivers safely reach the ground.
Well, that doesn’t look so hard. They all survived. Maybe this isn’t so dangerous, after all?
But what if the fact that they survived means that I have statistically higher chances of dying myself?
Yes, that’s where my mind went. I’ve never been so scared in my life.
At this point, I met Big Jim, the guy who would be tandem skydiving with me at 14,000 feet. When he started to suit me up, I expected some serious instructions. I wished that I had a notepad to keep track of all the life-affirming skills he was going to teach me about skydiving. (Speaking of wishes, I also wished that I’d worn pants, because wearing shorts with this skydiving gear is simply a terrible idea. I basically looked like I wasn’t wearing any shorts at all. And like most girls, I absolutely love my thighs. And showing them off to the world in their full glory. Insert sarcasm.)
Here was my lesson:
- When we jump out of the plane, keep your arms crossed across your chest. Arch your back and lean backwards.
- When I tap your arms, open them.
- When we land, lift your legs and let me touch down first.
Umm, the shortness of that lesson was just a bit disconcerting. What about if you pass out and I need to open the parachute myself? You gonna show me how that thing works – just in case? Apparently not.
I asked him what the biggest mistake I could make would be. “I’m glad you asked. There is one mistake you can make, and I’ve seen it made tons of times. It’s really important,” Big Jim said, very serious.
Where is my damn notebook when I need it? I thought. “What is it?”
“Don’t forget to fly sexy.”
I also bought a video of the experience:
Goals: Spend the prize money in a fun, irresponsible way; and make my birthday in Hawaii an unforgettable one.
Copyright 2012. Simply Solo blog by Catherine Gryp. All Rights Reserved.