Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Leap

That's right. Last Saturday, I jumped off a bridge. Twice.

Ever since seeing Yes Man, with Jim Carrey, Zooey Deschanel, and an absurdly contrived plot, I've wanted to go bungee jumping. I fantasized about it for months, and somehow managed not to actually go and do it, but invested enough big talk in the idea that I couldn't leave LA without doing it.

Tristan Hendy was nice enough to tag along.

It was a five mile hike just to get to the bridge. Then half an hour of instruction, and a few dozen people jumped before I did. Once my turn came, it came suddenly. I climbed across the railing, bent my knees and stuck out my arms, and dove into emptiness like Superman. 90 feet later the rubber slowed me down, caught me, and threw me back into space.

If you turn up the volume on the video, you'll realize I didn't start screaming until a couple bounces in. I don't remember much of what happened in between, but I think sheer terror and the illusion of control kept me very, very focused on not dying. Screaming happened when I realized this was actually happening.

When I stopped screaming, and just swayed back and forth a minute, I was beautifully serene. Like the bungee caught my body, but all my thoughts crashed on the rocks.

Part of the appeal of this, I should mention, is my sheer physical size. The five mile hike was kind of intimidating (it went fine), but I wanted to entrust myself to rubber and metal, falling full speed into a river, 'cause for the first time in my life I really believed it would catch me. Not long ago I couldn't possibly have done that. Turns out I needed an extra-strong bungee line, though, which embarrassed me more than it should have. Turns out, also, heavier people get more bounces per jump than everyone else (more momentum and whatnot), which was awesome the first time and jarring the second. I wasn't prepared for that either, but next time I will be. So this wasn't quite the celebration of my new body-mind love that I hoped it would be, but definitely indicates improved relations.

In the end, I could only do two jumps. The second one freaked me out, with five or six bounces straight up and down, spinning, back to the river. I didn't enjoy the lack of control, and couldn't relax myself into it. I had a couple hours to debate the matter, but a third jump seemed less scary than unfun. I hiked back to the car feeling wussy, then just tired, but I shouldn't. I did what scared me, something I couldn't have done a couple years ago. I did it twice. 

WaaHOOOOO!!!! in fact.
I jumped off a BRIDGE!!!!!!


  1. That's amazing! Makes me reconsider the entire concept of entrusting my body to a piece of rubber. I'm very happy your mind-body relationship is improving :)

  2. Yeah for bungee jumping!! You know, if you're looking for a guide to all the bungee jumping locations in the world (so that you can find more while travelling), my best friend Dima wrote one - :)

    But I'm super psyched that you did it.