Monday, March 1, 2010

It's a Bird! It's a Plane!

When we lived in Arlington, TX, before the days of children, we had a couple in our circle of friends who had all of the toys. They had horses (covet, covet, covet) and a pond. They had an in ground pool. They had a houseboat with a professional ski boat and even "the most expensive jet-skis on the market." Did I mention covet, covet, covet?

Obviously, they were lacking for people to hang out with in our middle class, primarily apartment dwelling crowd of young married couples...

One weekend when we were at their houseboat, they decided it would be fun to get out their para-sail.


You know I was the first to volunteer, right?

They took me to a lovely rocky shore on Lake Ray Roberts. There, they strapped me in a super comfy body harness, while Studmuffin and our friend James (who was an aerospace engineer) spread out the para-sail...

Clint, the owner of all the aforementioned fabulous toys, says, "Now, Andi, when I start to take off, it's really important that you don't move until the rope is taut. When the rope is taut, you will run a few steps and then the sail will catch. Then you will soar in the air..."
At this point, his lovely bride Jenny pipes up, "You are going to LOVE it. It is so peaceful and graceful....You will feel like a bird flying through the air..."

"Okay. I'm super excited. Only, I'm a little concerned about all of these rocks. Won't they hurt my feet?" Obviously I am barefoot. Who has shoes on a houseboat?

"Don't worry, you will barely take a step, then you will be flying gently through the air..."

Now, I must interrupt the conversation I was having, to share with you the conversation that Studmuffin was having with James (remember him? He's the engineer for Bell helicopter. He's a pretty smart dude...) "Hey James, I'm not sure this is going to work. The wind is blowing towards Andi. The sail is trying to inflate the wrong direction!"

James, in all of his engineering wisdom gave an explanation of the rope pulling taut, the pulling of the sail causing it to inflate the correct direction and it will be fine... It seems to involve drag, and uplift, and downforce, and blah, blah, blah. Studmuffin continues to express doubts to anyone who will listen, but no one is in a listening mood...

Do you get the picture here? The wind is out of the south. Blowing north. I am facing north. The sail is fully inflated, only it is towards me!

I am completely oblivious to the entire conversation...

Clint wades out to his super fast professional ski boat. Jenny waves enthusiastically and gives me a big thumbs up....

Clint starts forward...The rope loses it's slack...

I force myself to exhibit patience and wait for the boat to start pulling me forward where I will take a few steps then magically float into a world of rainbows and sunshine...

I take a few steps...

I take a few steps faster....

And faster...

I am now in the water, trying to run as the boat continues to gain speed....

I am now up to my knees, and unable to keep up with a speed boat...

I fall...

I am being dragged....

My husband is on the shore FREAKING OUT because I am bouncing across the lake like a skipping stone, with a giant trail of mud floating in the water behind me...

I am still being dragged....

I can't breathe, because the water is flying in my face, and up my nose, and I can't see, and I'm starting to wonder when the graceful soaring is going to occur, and if Clint is really secretly planning to drag me to my death...

I roll over to take a breath...

The boat comes to an abrupt stop...

"Andi! You rolled over and tangled up the lines! The sail was just about to inflate!"

I am in total disbelief...

I stood up and said, "Hey, Jenny! I didn't feel like a bird! I didn't feel like I was soaring gracefully in the air! I pretty much felt like a stone being skipped across the lake!"

And do you know what Jenny said to the other couples with us?

"Thank God that happened to Andi. Anybody else would have been furious!"

So.

We got back in the boat. We folded up the sail.

And we drove to the opposite side of the lake to try it all over again.

Because, really, I'm already in the harness. My knees are already bloodied from being drug through the rocks. My crotch is already rubbed raw from the harness rubbing the inside of my thighs...And this shore is perfect!

It's sandy! And, the wind is blowing the opposite direction of where we are taking off, so the sail is actually trying to lift me off of the ground before Clint has even gotten back in his boat...Everyone is smiling and waving and cheering me on for my idiocy...I mean BRAVERY...

Clint gets in the boat.

He starts the motor, and puts the boat in gear....

I panic and begin to run as hard as my legs will carry me so the rope will never pull tight, and I will never be drug again...

Remember, this is a speed boat, right? Clint, the dearest friend in the entire world, sees my panic and immediately throws the throttle forward...

My body was jerked into a bow shape, something like a back bend, only it is occurring as I run across the blissfully sandy beach...I took maybe 2 more steps on the blissfully sandy shore before....

I took off flying in the air! It was amazing! It was beautiful! I was high up in the sky, just sailing away!

Unfortunately after several minutes my turn was up. It seems that since everyone saw that in fact I was not going to be drug to death, they too wanted a chance to experience sailing in the air...

Clint begins to slow the boat down...

I have a sudden thought...

How do I get down? How is this going to work? Nobody told me what to expect when it was time to land? Will it hurt? Will I get a giant water wedgie? Will the sail land on top of me, pressing me into the water, where I will get hopelessly tangled in the lines, be trapped and die a horrible death? Is this in fact the real way Clint is planning to kill me? Why is Clint so intent on killing me this trip?

Luckily, the landing was very gentle. The sail dropped into the water behind me, and I lived to tell this tale to you...

Aren't you glad?

8 comments:

thelumberjackswife said...

Oh, dear. Why was Clint trying to kill you?!

I don't know if it was just me, but the pictures did not load for me. :(

Such sadness.

Amy said...

Wow, what a story! Do you realize you were literally three miles from my house! We live west of Ray Roberts!

Getting My Words Out said...

OH MY GOODNESS...I was laughing so hard my dog jumped up and started running in circles!!

So far I've laughed at your child choking to death and you being dragged across jagged rocks into a near drowning.....

GREAT BLOG!!
:D

Jaime Kubik said...

GREAT STORY! And you tell it so well! I have to say, I have had friends say similar things about me..."God think this happened to Jaime.." And I think, "Why is it good something awful just happened to me? So that you might laugh?!" Sometimes it sounds like a compliment, but really it's not! Ha! Thanks for putting a smile on my face!

LB's Sewing Sanity said...

What an incredible story. Your writing style is very vivid. Thanks for sharing!

Marilyn said...

And did that lead to Sky -diving? You ARE so Brave.

Dawn said...

I'm soooooo glad you finally told that story. Too bad there were no pictures. Or maybe not!

Getting My Words Out said...

I had to come back to this post and read it to my family. Unfortunately, I was laughing so hard they could barely understand the words that were coming out of my mouth.

I have to say, it was even funnier the second time around.

:D