Monday, September 19, 2016

I Went Skydiving

Oh hey guys. I’m alive. And a lot has changed, and yet life feels pretty calm and steady, with a few exceptions.

Brief recap:

I started as a personal trainer at my gym in Murray back in June. Right now it’s just eating up my evenings and my sanity. So I don’t know how much longer I can do it.

On July 1 I started my position at Alpine. About a week or two ago, I fully took over my predecessor’s role. She still is around and helps me with a lot of stuff, but I’ve really tried to step in confidently and make this desk my own.

With the double paychecks in July and August, I decided to have a little fun. I bought myself a Living Social deal to go skydiving in Moab. I bought myself a ukulele. I bought my mom a laptop. I’ve eaten at lots of good restaurants. And of course I saved plenty (you know me).

So this past weekend, I went skydiving with my uncle Bry down in Moab. Yes, he is really my uncle. He is 9 months older than me.

We booked a stay at Motel 6 in Green River, about 30 minutes from our skydiving location. I did that via Priceline. Wow, guys. Never again. Never. Again.

I booked a double bed non-smoking room. They didn’t even confirm the type of room when they charged me for it, so that was super professional. We got to the room, which had a handicapped parking stall in front of it, and that made me a little leery. We got inside, and lo and behold, there was ONE bed, a wood floor, and it smelled like an ash tray.

I tried my best to keep my cool as I went back to the desk to tell them there was a mistake. But they threw up their hands and blamed it on the booking site, claiming those sites just do whatever they want. Um, no, pretty sure you just gave up the rooms to other people that day. They had no vacancy, and neither did any other motel in the area. I asked if I could get any money back, and he said he’d be happy to do that. He then proceeded to give me a full refund, which apparently meant that I was giving up the room. Again, um, no. That’s not what I said. I said I didn’t want to pay $141 for a room that is half the size of what I booked. He told me they’re all the same price, which is just bonkers. They had no roll away beds or cots. And he said he’d look for extra blankets and pillows for us. They never arrived. Cool, thanks.

Guys, this motel was absolutely lovely. The light switch for the bathroom was on the outside of the bathroom (?!). The door barely cleared the entertainment stand when opened. The entertainment stand had some of the finish/lining peeled off. There were poorly repaired holes on the wall near the toilet where a railing had once been. The sink in the bathroom was a corner one, for those who need wheelchair access. I don’t need wheelchair access, however, so the lack of counter space was an obstacle for me. No shampoo or conditioner was provided, only two small bars of soap—good thing I brought my own!

In the shower (no bath, it was a wheelchair friendly shower), there was no soap dish on which to set the bar of soap. Sooooo I had to put it on the rolling chair, which I assume many naked butts have sat on, so that was pretty disconcerting. The water pressure in the shower was pitiful, probably because it was a handheld shower head. Since the entire bathroom was handicapped accessible and tiled, it was super echoey, which meant that anyone outside the bathroom could hear any mildly loud emissions occurring within (sorry, Bry). One of my favorite things about the room is that since it was in the corner of the building, we could hear everyone’s luggage banging down the stairs early in the morning—very pleasant. And the finisher is that my clothes smelled like smoke when I arrived home on Saturday night.

We had dinner at a place nearby called Tamarisk. I had chicken fingers. I felt super grown up.

Since I was curled up super tight all night, my back hurt the next morning. In spite of that, I ran 5 miles in that Podunk little town. On my run I saw lots of camp chairs on the sidewalk and realized that there was probably going to be a parade because “Melon Days” was going on there in Green River. I got back and got ready and waited an hour for my uncle to get ready. An hour! I don’t understand why dudes take so long. Especially him! He has 1/4 the hair on his head that I do, and didn’t have to do his makeup or dry his hair. We finally left and went to get him some coffee and almost didn’t make it out before the parade was supposed to start. Then we headed to Arches.

I don’t think I’ve ever been to Arches National Park. I wish we had more time to spend there, but we had only about 1.5 hours. We took some pictures of the balancing rock, and headed to Delicate Arch. I didn’t expect the hike to be so intense. I was dripping sweat! Dripping! We took some pictures for honestly about five minutes, and had to turn back around to head to skydive. Still, it was beautiful, and I’d love to go back and really spend some time.

As for skydiving… It wasn’t what I thought it would be. I kind of expected like 30-60 minutes of formal training and working with my tandem partner in terms of what to do and what to expect, and maybe a small plane with seats. But no. We got there, they handed us clipboards of waivers to sign, didn’t explain any of it, and put on this ghetto old video explaining the risks we were assuming by jumping.

We arrived and had to call to be let in. We waited for several minutes before a girl with dreadlocks came out to get us. We went into her office, bought our pictures, videos, and USB in advance, and redeemed our vouchers. She didn’t give us any explanations or training either. She told us we would have about a half hour before we got into the air. Nope. It was over an hour.

There were porch swings and lawn chairs strewn about, and a big cooling fan blowing. The atmosphere was almost too casual. The language of the workers was less than appropriate. And there was tension between the owner and one of the jump masters. The owner called us over to put on our harnesses. He was super abrasive (but funny) and told us that people had complained that they hadn’t received enough training, and that they couldn’t breathe up there. So he was “trying to provide more training.” Are you ready for it?: In order to breathe, put your head back, breathe through your nose, or scream, and when they tap your shoulder twice, spread your arms out. That was our training. He asked if I wanted a jump suit; they required goggles and gloves, no helmet or suit. I passed on the onesie.

When our jump masters came over to meet us, my partner introduced himself to Bry, thinking he was jumping with him. He shook his hand and seemed enthusiastic. He realized a couple of minutes later that he was jumping with me. But he didn’t shake my hand. Instead, he tightened my harness, and thought it would be funny to lift me up in the air by my harness. Hilarious. I hope you felt big and powerful and manly, jerk.

He took video of us in front of the plane, but I couldn’t hear what he asked (for my name), so I look like a goofy idiot in the beginning of the video. He didn’t prepare me at all for what he’d say or ask, and didn’t tell me when he would take video. Some preparation would’ve been nice.

The plane was super tiny and cramped and old. There was electrical tape around the windows, which made me nervous. Bry and his partner Kirill had to get in first, because I was going to jump first. The entire way up was pretty miserable for me. I had to sit in a constant Pilates C position. I couldn’t lean back or put my hands down. I couldn’t lean forward because of the harness. It was terrible. My partner took video again in the plane about halfway up, but again I only caught about half of what he said (you can see that in the video as I lean back to ask what he had said).

He “trained” me a little more on the plane. He told me that when the door opened, I needed to put both of my feet on the step. He said, “In the air, push your hips out, and bring your feet back to your butt like a scorpion,” and “when I tap your shoulder, spread your arms out.”

And that was it.

That was my training.

So you’ll pardon my frustration and anger when my partner spent the rest of the time repeating himself and yelling at me because I didn’t understand what he was wanting me to do, or didn’t do it the way he wanted it done.

But wait, back to the plane. The ride up didn’t make me anxious or nervous. Since they were all so cavalier about it, and hadn’t built up any excitement or trained me at all, I had pretty much lost my enthusiasm. I felt very detached from the situation (contrary to what I express in the video). Once he opened the door of the plane, shiz got real. I let out a little scream almost due to protocol, in an attempt to get hyped about what was about to happen—putting on an act of sorts. It just felt surreal. I didn’t feel scared or resistant to jumping out at all. My heart wasn’t beating fast. I really didn’t feel much of anything.

Since the wind was coming up so fast, it was kind of hard to process what was happening. I didn’t look around much or enjoy the view (it just looked like brown desert). I was focused on pushing my hips down and feet back like he said. I was also trying to keep my mouth closed so I could breathe, per the owner’s instructions. My partner had the video going, so I smiled and hoped I didn’t look horrible. It happened really fast, almost too fast for me to process it or enjoy it.

My eyes watered intensely. Like full on tears streamed across my face. He took off my goggles partway down.

The part that I strongly disliked was the end. He released the parachute, and intended to have me steer it. So he told me three times to take the handles. It took me a second to figure out what handles he was talking about, so repeating it three times only made me feel stupid. I took the handles from him. He told me to pull down on the left side. It basically made us spiral around in circles. He then told me to, “Let up.” So I started slowly letting up. While doing so, he says, “Let up, let UP!” full on yelling at me. Sorry, guy, you didn’t tell me we’d be doing this, and you didn’t tell me to let up quickly. I don’t know what the F is going to happen if I let up quickly on a parachute! It’s not like I do this 15 times a day. He then did the same thing in wanting me to transfer the handles back to him. He said, “Let go of the handles, let go of the handles, let GO of the handles.” OH MY GOSH OK SO SORRY I’M NOT DOING THIS TO YOUR EXPECTATIONS THAT YOU DIDN’T COMMUNICATE IN ADVANCE. Freaking a-hole.

He (more patiently) explained how we would land. I needed to lift my knees into 90 degrees, and keep my knees together. Then I needed to straighten my legs in front of me. I was making moaning sounds from this point forward due to nausea as we swayed back and forth making our way down. I was so anxious to land because I was so uncomfortable. The parachute was lifting up on me, but the earth was pulling down on me, making the harness just dig into my thighs as I tried my hardest to keep my legs together as my stomach was churning. I was so, so uncomfortable, and so sick. His yelling and this part of the jump ruined the whole thing for me.

At the last second, he again yelled at me three times to stand up. “Stand up, stand up, STAND UP!” Then I guess the parachute landed a little funny, so he needed me to walk around to the left, but that’s not what he said. He said, “Move over here.” Oh hey, I don’t know if you know this, but you’re behind me, and I don’t know where you’re pointing to. Try directions, douchebag. Left and right are very useful. Thankfully, the only roughness of the landing was on my ankle, which I feel twinge time and again, but it’s fine. I ran two miles on it this morning.

He took more video at the end and asked, “So what’d you think!?” As I was utterly nauseated from the parachute portion, and as he had made me feel like a complete idiot at the end, I wanted to say, “I want to puke, and you were a jerk, that’s what I think.” So I fumbled around for a word I hadn’t used in the video yet, which was “insane.” And really, it wasn’t insane. I didn’t feel excited at all, and didn’t have that awesome adrenaline rush everyone talks about. Then he made out like he was so nice and fun, and thanked me for coming to Canyonlands, made me high five and fist bump him even though he had been treating me like shiz for the past 30 minutes.

As soon as he turned off the video, my face reflected my true feelings. I frowned for the next 30 minutes as I made my way back to the hangar and literally tried not to vomit.

In all, not the experience I had hoped for. I feel bad because so many people were asking how it went and were looking forward to hearing me say how amazing it was. But it wasn’t. It was uncomfortable and stressful. I don’t do well being yelled at. Here's the video if you want to watch it. 

I tried not to talk about how much I disliked it because Bry really enjoyed it. He’s much more laid back than I am, and either he listens better, or his partner was just nicer and more patient. Anyway, I didn’t want to complain to him too much. I felt sick, and he could see that.

I spent all day yesterday (Sunday) stressed because I hadn’t done laundry, cleaned, or grocery shopped as I normally do on Saturdays. I also stressed as I debated about looking at my pictures and videos, afraid they would reflect the thoughts and feelings I had inside. I finally got the courage to look at them at around 9 PM last night. I am super pleased with how it all looks on video—it looks like I had a fantastic time. I wish I felt the same way about it inside.

Since I know you’re wondering: No, I don’t think I’d do it again. If I did, it’d definitely have to be somewhere close by, and cheap, since now I know what to expect, and it’s not that awesome. I’d way rather go on roller coasters, to be honest. Those don’t hurt my thighs, nauseate me, or yell at me.

I’m sad to look at it as $128 (plus $10 tip), $85 for pics/vid/USB, $141 for that motel, and $25 for gas, plus $15 for dinner, and whatever else for water bottles and snacks… Over $400 for an experience I’m basically just able to say I did. (Technically gas and motel was split with my uncle, but still, you get my point). So there it is. Skydiving: I did it.

1 comment:

StacyB said...

You said it well baby girl. I laughed and cried. You will dive again in a much more professional and astute facility in Perris Valley, California. That way you will have the opportunity to do it all with enthusiasm and excitement...and walk away saying "That was amazing, and I can't wait to do it again"!