Random Observation/Comment #99: Who the hell doesn’t want to fly? I’m a little afraid of heights, but I would still love to be able to make that party entrance. I mean, it’s not as classy as entering a party in your own mansion with three beautiful ballet dancers around your arms after being released from a private chopper, but I do think mine flaunts a bit less money. For some reason, I feel like someone judging my powers of flight would think to themselves, “Hey, if I could fly, I would probably do the same.” On the other hand, the Bruce Wayne entrance would get the response, “What a complete waste of money, you arrogant son of a bitch. I hate you because I want to be you.” It makes me wonder why envy works in such interesting ways – maybe it’s just the pure corruption and evil of money.
I felt the way a racing dog must feel when anticipating the starting shot to try and catch that rabbit flying around the track. “Ichi, ni, SAN!” and I ran with all my might off the grass covered ski slope. The parachute inflated above me creating an ominous shadow below. I kept my arms raised and jumped with a huge leap of faith that I wouldn’t crash to my doom. To my surprise, I stayed afloat, but at the price of those straps digging into my biceps and squeezing my groin muscles. This hurt like hell and made me wonder why it doesn’t bother babies as much when we pick them up by the arm pits. I figure it’s because of the weight to surface area ratio that determines the pain. If I were a baby’s size and weight, the two hands would probably feel more like pillows lifting me gently into a parent’s loving-arms. As an adult being lifted, the force required to lift me upwards is much greater and focused on a smaller point. It would be the difference between being strangled with a piece of floss or a thick belt (I don’t know why I chose this particular analogy – must be Dexter).
So this is how it feels to fly – 200 pounds (including equipment) forced directly onto my arms and crotch. Don’t get me wrong, the view was unforgettable, but so was the pain. It left unattractive bruises that everyone saw during the onsen. Side note: bruises have a tendency to go through such a glorious number of mysterious and grim colors. The early pink turns purple, blue, black, green, and red in a weird chromatography spread. I felt like I was opening a present every time I lifted my sleeve. All of the university students thought I was beaten up in the middle of the night or I was lifted by an oversized man with small hands.
Was it worth it? Although the three, 30 second sessions of being airborne were short lived, I felt a level of freedom when falling with style. Students yelled, “Tanoshiiiiiii” or “Enjoyable!!” while they were floating down the side of the mountain. Paragliding doesn’t have that stomach churning acceleration that you may find in bungee jumping or free falling, but it can be done without someone strapped to your ass. However, due to the large number of students and only 4 paragliding shoots, we spent a lot of the day just waiting for our turn. To occupy our time, we took pictures at the bottom and laughed at people flying into bushes and landing on their asses.
The thirty seconds you spend in the air does free your mind. I wonder if the view and feeling in Heaven is like that – a boost of adrenaline and a view seen by the privileged. I had truly been stress-free for close to two minutes that day. In my opinion, it was definitely worth it.
~See Lemons Paraglide