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  • January 29th, my 18th birthday. It was the first time I ever went skydiving. Um, it was 5:45 in the morning and I was sneaking out of my house because my parents had definitely said ‘no’ to the skydiving thing. Um, I remember it was so cold outside that I had to use a lighter to melt the ice on my door handles because my doors were frozen shut. Um, so I drove an hour to the airfields where the skydiving took place. And, one of the things that I remember most about it was that the, um, training session that I had to complete before I got to jump was really short. I watched about a five minute video that looked like it was made in about the ‘80s, it was super corny and just totally weird. Um, and then I did a five-minute kind of “realistic” training where I practiced the maneuver of pulling my arms back and my legs back and my neck back that you’re supposed to do when you fall out of the plane, but I practiced it on a gym mat. So it wasn’t super realistic anyway. Um, and after the training session was over, they introduced me to my diving instructor, who looked like an ex-convict version of Santa. He had, um, a grey beard and grey dread locks with beads in them. I remember he had like a facial tattoo under his eye that I couldn’t really tell what it was. And I was like ‘oh my God I’m going to be strapped to this guy when I’m falling out of a plane; my life is in his hands and it looks like he just got out of jail’. Um, I remember asking him if we could do a backflip when we fell out of the plane because, um, I’d seen some videos online and I really wanted to do it. And he said no because first time people they, a lot of times they have trouble getting the maneuver down and doing a backflip just complicates that even further. He said that for the first time we can’t do it. So I remember walking out to the plane, um, we had to walk from a garage to the plane and it was the most rickety looking plane I have ever seen. So I have this old grandpa guy that looks like he’s on drugs walking me to this plane that looks like it was built in the 1950’s. So, needless to say I was very scared. Um, it had metal floors, it didn’t have seats. It had rusty metal doors, two metal doors. The pilot was this obese guy who, um, was wearing these really thick glasses, which didn’t make me feel very comfortable. Um, so it was an old plane; we get in the plane and I remember thinking ‘Oh my gosh, I would be more scared to actually have to land in this plane than to just jump out of it in mid-air. It was so scary. It was shaking the whole time we were in the air. Um, I don’t know if it was really windy that day or what. But we get up and we fly and I kept thinking, ‘we should be about to jump; we’re getting really high in the air’. I looked out the window of the door and I couldn’t see cars anymore; I couldn’t see people—we were way higher than I thought we were going to be. And finally, I hear my instructor behind me say, ‘move your left butt cheek up two inches’. So I did it. ‘Move your right butt cheek up two inches’. So I did it. I felt him wiggle behind me and strap on our harness, so I was strapped to him. And then he said again, ‘move your left butt cheek up two inches’. So I moved up two inches. ‘Move your right butt cheek two inches’. And we kept doing that. And then finally he said, ‘straighten out your left leg and put it over the edge’. So I did. ‘Straighten your right leg and put it out over the edge’. So I did. And then I felt his legs beside me. I felt his arms grab either side of the door. So we’re sitting there, I’m looking down. Um, I can’t see cars, I can’t see people. I’m starting to kind of feel like ‘oh my gosh is this a good idea?’. And then I hear him count, ‘one, two, three’. And then we’re just flying through the air. I didn’t get the movement right at all. I was flailing, we did a couple of backflips I think. Finally he grabbed my arms and my legs and pulled them back and we free fell for a little bit and then he pulled the cord and everything was fine. I actually had an excellent landing. But um, yeah that was the first time I ever went skydiving. It was totally out of control for most of it until he pulled the cord, but um, it was a great, it was a great experience.
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