I’m flying, flying, flying through the air! Wait, crap, I can’t breathe. How do I breathe again? Deep breaths, did he say to breathe through my nose or my mouth? Why do the trees look like they’re staying the same size, aren’t they supposed to be getting bigger? Well I guess that’s a – OH MY THAT WAS AMAZING!
Skydiving. I gathered up all of my courage and made myself jump out of a plane at Long Island Skydiving in East Moriches, New York during the summer of 2013.
And it was incredible. Of course, beforehand, I was freaking out. Okay, more than that, I was shaking, not speaking, and couldn’t think, especially when they were strapping the harness on me and I was watching them pack up parachute after parachute, on a tarp, just making it really tiny and putting it into a backpack.
We walked onto a tiny airplane the size of a sedan. All it could fit was me, my instructor, another person, their instructor, and the pilot. While in the plane, I tried to distract myself.
“How many times do you jump a day?” I asked my instructor.
“Oh, about 20 times. Yesterday I jumped 14 ½ times.”
“Yeah, my guy didn’t make it.”
I said nothing.
“I’m kidding, I’m kidding, relax.” This was not the time for joking matters. (Of course now looking back it’s pretty funny).
We flew up into the air quickly. All of a sudden, we were almost at 10,000 feet, where we would be jumping.
“Look out the window,” my instructor said. It was a chrystal clear blue day; there was not a cloud in sight.
And this is when I saw the beauty of Long Island. I could see the Long Island fork, I could see Montauk and Greenport, The Hamptons and the Long Island Sound. I could see all of this just by turning my head from one side to the other. The water was blue, the sand tan. I could see the North Shore and the South Shore. And in the distance, I could see Manhattan. I could see, vaguely, the buildings of New York City, curving with the Earth’s horizon.
“Wow,” I said. I was wonder-struck.
“Get ready!” My instructor said, strapping me onto his harness. I was so amazed with the sight that I had forgotten I was about to jump out of a plane. My stomach churned as if there was a hand I had accidentally eaten that was grabbing my stomach and twisting it from the inside. My mouth was as dry as the surface of a nail filer.
He swung the door to the plane open, and a strong gust of wind wooshed into the plane, creating an absurdly loud noise. I put my goggles on, put my feet onto the ledge on the outside of the plane, tried not to look at the ground, wished that I had never done anything to make me second guess karma’s existence, and out we went.
He made me smile for this one. My true feelings are expressed below.
Crap, crap, crap, crap.
Wow, this is actually kinda cool!
It was over before I knew it. I swung through the air as the parachute opened, thanked the world that I did not keep plummeting towards the earth, and laughed. My instructor probably thought I was insane.
“Wow, wow, oh my gosh, that was, wow, I can’t even, wow, oh my, incredible, super, crazy!” I wasn’t forming sentences. I couldn’t. I floated above the trees as the ant world moved below me. Cars were as big as my pinky nail, houses looked like Barbie toys, and people were tiny black dots. Everything was silent. We were like a ghost, watching the world from above.
I was able to steer the parachute a couple of times. I spun us around in circles as we floated towards the ground. Before I knew it, I was closer to the trees, the houses, and they grew in size as my instructor guided us to the platform.
Smile for the camera, your parents don’t know you’re doing this!
“Put your feet up in the air, landing is always a little rough,” he said. I stuck my feet up like I was on an ab machine. We collided with the ground, running for a couple of seconds before we stopped.
I almost kissed the ground. Flying through the air was incredible, but I was so happy just to be on the ground again. My instructor unhooked me from his harness and I ran around like an idiot for a couple of minutes. An intense amount of adrenaline was pumping through my veins, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I was so euphoric. I watched as my friend floated down towards the ground, yelling something I couldn’t make out while laughing at the same time.
He lost his shoe, midair. It just flew off after he jumped. To his defense, he didn’t realize he had to tie his shoes, to which his instructor then asked him if he had any common sense. It was a pretty hilarious end to an unbelievable adventure. I can’t wait to do it again.
In case you’re wondering, you don’t get the “stomach-drop” feeling that you would get, on, let’s say, a roller coaster. I’m not positive why, but I think it has to do with the fact that you’re not going straight down, but diagonal- you jump out of a moving plane, so you’re already moving horizontally when you jump.