Monday, November 06, 2006
So, here you have it. Rather than the leap of faith I had imagined, I stepped into that awkward harness thing and felt like a five-year-old as a staff member pulled on this and adjusted that and stuck the velcro around my legs.
Then came the helmet, which I could not tell by feel how to fasten, so someone had to do that for me, too. It really did remind me of being a little child.
The funny thing is that I had bought a "hoodie" (silly word, I think) of this beautiful blue knit specially for the occasion. It would keep me warm, the color was perfect for my eyes, and I thought the hood added a rather dramatic look to my wavy hair. I seriously thought about how good it would look in the pictures that would be made. It reminded me of the French Lieutenant's Woman in her cape.
This--my body covered in black nylon, my hair and head smashed by a plastic helmet--was not the dramatic scene I had envisioned.
I did not feel bold and adventurous.
But eventually I was proclaimed ready, hooked into the glider as I mentioned earlier, and just hung suspended there while Eric got into his place to my right side and explained how things worked.
Each harness outfit has handles on either side. I was instructed to hold onto Eric's handles for take-off. It seemed a little funny at first to be putting my arms around a total stranger, but there was so much padding around each of us that it wasn't really at all like putting your arms around a total stranger. It was like holding onto two handles for safety. Besides, all energy was so focused on what was about to happen that I didn't really have time to think about it, and he obviously was very used to this protocol.
(In the photos it looks more like we are stacked on top of each other. But we were actually side by side, although he was a little lower most of the time. I'm not sure how that worked, but I think it has to do with when you're holding onto the bar and pulling, it must pull the front of your body down. And when your hands are elsewhere, your shoulders get pulled upward. That's my theory, anyway.)
So, with my arms safely in their place and unable to wave around, grab anything, or cause any sort of commotion, Eric held onto the bar that makes the bottom of the triangle, and with eyes on the little red airplane, off we went.
As I said, it wasn't as dramatic as leaping off the mountainside. But it was fun!