Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Importance of Spontaneity

As I was about to fall asleep on Saturday night, tired from a long day of skydiving (8 jumps in less than 10 hours) I received a call from my friend Kevin, seeing if I wanted to jump out of his hot air balloon in the morning. After thinking about the hassle that would go into going to my car, grabbing my unpacked BASE parachute, bringing it upstairs, laying it out, and spending an hour packing it ever so meticulously, I agreed without hesitation. It would mean that I would have to meet him at 5:30am the next morning to help set up the balloon for his passengers, but that was okay with me, the experience was worth the trouble.

I set down the canopy, and started picking out all the twigs, small rocks and pieces of brush that had gotten stuck in my rig from the last jump. BASE jumping is funny like that, you're always landing on interesting terrain, and never know what you'll end up shaking out of your end-cells. As I straightened the lines and folded the parachute into the container, I realized that it was the 10th time that I had packed a parachute that day. It took just under an hour to finish closing in the container, and I made it to bed around midnight.

The next morning I awoke to sweet summer air and the only person I saw in the neighborhood was the funny old guy who always goes for a walk outside my apartment at odd hours of the day. I got out to gunbarrel and we set the balloon up. I didn't tell Kevin's customers that I was jumping out, but at the last second I hopped on board with them, donning a helmet and a parachute. After we left the ground it took about 20 seconds to climb to 500 feet, where I proceeded to fall to the ground. The ride was great, and I set down the parachute about 10 feet from where we took off, a pretty accurate landing based on my current skill level. I then waited around for a few minutes, watching the other balloons take off, before getting in the van and chasing down Kevin's balloon.

It was a really fun way to start the day. I've jumped out of Kevin's balloon many times before, but in this case I wasn't really planning ahead on doing it. I simply had the opportunity, and took that opportunity. It would have been much easier to sleep in, but lately, waking up at a reasonable hour hasn't been a part of my routine.

Being spontaneous is definitely a good thing, but more important is taking every opportunity that comes your way, if you don't you may regret it...

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