“What? You mean now?”
Standing at the edge of a 200 foot tower, even if it is overlooking a beautiful crystal clear lagoon, is slightly…intimidating.
Now, despite how logical that may sound (after all, 200 feet is kind of “up there”), I will confess, for a brief moment in time, I actually thought leaping off would be an absolute breeze.
I would simply walk up to the edge, crack a joke or two and then…voila! I’d dive headfirst into the vast expanse below me.
I mean, really. Not more than a month earlier I had travelled up to 12,500 feet and hurled myself from an airborne aircraft (as opposed to an un-airborne aircraft…which provides a very different experience).
Twelve THOUSAND, five hundred feet! That is 62.5 times higher than the piddly little distance now standing between me and the water below.
Moments after surviving my first Skydive, I actually remember verbalizing to my friend Steve that I should have gone Bungee Jumping first because, after what I had just experienced…
Bungee Jumping is for kids.
How wrong I was!
In fact, here is the truth. At the point of no return both experiences provided a genuine sense of hesitancy (with a hint of “Are you crazy!”). However, the prospect of diving into the clouds attached to another man was not nearly as freaky as diving off a 200 foot tower attached to cord.
I know it sounds weird but let me try to explain…
You see, Skydiving produced some sort of eerie disconnect from reality that Bungee Jumping didn’t.
“Why is that?” So glad you asked. Here is my theory…bearing in mind that, in school, Science wasn’t one of my strong suits - along with Math, Language, Geography and History for that matter.
When I was in the doorway of the plane, I was completely aware of how “stupid high” (in the sky, not in the head) I was. But, I was SO high (in the sky) it actually became a surreal moment, rather than a real one (hence the word “surreal).
Even though I could see the earth, through the clouds, it was as if the planet was too far for me to gain any true sense of what role thousands of feet could play in the cause and effect game I was about to partake in.
Effect: Body-bending crash, causing death.
Cause: Falling 12,500 feet.
I believe traveling to my jump location in an airplane erased any sense of real perspective. I simply went too far…too fast.
That’s right, Science teachers. Write this down in your text books (with proper credit given):
“Being detached from the natural sensory stimuli one experiences when distancing themselves, proportionately, from something else leaves a person with a skewed reality.”
For example, the mode of transportation one chooses in order to travel across Canada will directly affect their understanding of how far they went.
Having flown many times to the West Coast I can assure you making the trip by air creates, albeit in perception only…an alternate reality. Without fail, every first night after completing that journey, I would end up lying in bed absolutely fascinated by the concept that I woke up in Toronto and am going to sleep with an entire continent between me and my family.
Of course, lest you think I’m some sort of 24-7 philosopher, this type of super-deep reflection wouldn’t happen until I had finished watching a few episodes of Gene Simmon’s Family Jewels. (Please note there is no direct connection between the theory I am espousing and KISS’s front man. I’m just being transparent with my evening routine.)
So if Skydiving is like flying to B.C from T.O. then Bungee Jumping is like walking there.
Although highly ashamed by it, I will be the first to admit that despite my 37 years of being Canadian, I’ve never crossed this country on foot (and yes, I feel I’ve let Anne Murray down). But, if my theory is correct then I’m assuming after doing so, Canada would seem…in body, mind and spirit…HUMONGOUS! And, rightfully so.
Now, obviously you couldn’t fit Canada between the Bungee bridge, which I was standing on, and the water below it but, after walking the long winding uphill path and climbing some stairs, I can honestly say when I got to the launching pad and looked down…unlike Skydiving…everything felt VERY far and VERY real!
Wait. Before I jump, let me take you a few moments back in time.
The day started like any other, “Hey kids, we’re going to Quebec!”...
GO TO BUNGEE - Part 2: Parlez-vous Bungee?