Now Playing: 'The Last Post' Accident prone Pony Express rider dragged by horse thru town discovers show biz. (Circus Minimus)
Topic: The DISCLAIMER
I was last out on a twelve way out of a Mullin's Kingair above 23000 feet. The 'above' part was thanks to a lovely pair of luschies distracting Mister Mike from his aeronautical duties and enticing the aviator to pour a little more kerosene and a little more stick into the climb max. Such is the way such business is done. Strangers can count on Somebody's Friend always chipping in an extra effort for the team.
When the floaters left, I couldn't hear the count, I couldn't see the sway, but I felt the surges pushed through each body back to me hunkered next to Mister Mike and little Luschy's Javelin container. I knew when the floaters were about to let go because the pulse and sway through the other 11 told me when they would launch and I followed that rhythm to its end.
So have I done here and now.
It's a weird feeling you have to develop a sense for. When to quit. It has everything to do with community in something like a skydive. It has to be felt and not seen and it results in a lunge toward something calling... in this tale's case the insatiable appetite to give gravity her due and cheat her out of the final embrace. To win against self at least. This kind of thing is hard the first times you do it. It all gets easy to feel when you do it often and a lot enough.
I've been doing 'this here' often and a lot and It's become too easy and and enough.
What I remember most about that particular jump is that I found myself last out on a 12 way with a hangedover at FL2x? sucking on a plastic cup and thinking; “If I were piloting this Kingair...” I would have desired a different part of the cake (negotiations would ensue, consensus from remaining jumpers could be employed, no doubt, to encourage the deal) and I would have given them so much altitude their eyeballs would look like hen eggs. Not a dis of the bakery goods displayed, mind you. Only a recognition that frosting was certainly all that and very well dolloped and molded, but the bottom layer, upon which the frosting was an artfully balanced act, amply supported all the above anticipations.
Dear me. If, on such a jump, I could have gravity and such a nice view before and after exit, it would make the fart smelling on the ride up ok and I wouldn't resent being roused from my alpha nap to stick a plastic gasper over my mouth and nose like some bloodshot prenatal tragedy.
Ahhh... alpha to delta naps. To fly asleep. To plummet weightless yet whole enough to awake for breakfast... I am insufferable in my condescension... I am beautiful in my elevated artistry. I am a stumbled drunkard lunging after a piece of ass with my hands gripped tight around her legstraps and hugging that colorful container like it was a teddy bear taken from a three year old trauma victim.
I don't remember making it to the door. Looking back, it's just a series of freeze frames... like the freeze frames of the lush countryside sliding under me on my first jumps. The eye catches images and the brain integrates. Sometimes the brain is 'enhanced' by impending shock or trauma or just the thrill of an oncoming newness and we see the frames unintegrated. We see the raw action without the brain filling in the blanks to make it a smooth movie. We know without having a chance to dawdle and tarry. We have to KNOW and the brain can't spare that kind of processing power just to give you a movie-like glide across the streaking earth. Especially just to let you “see” something you have little control over not hitting. Might as well put that processing power where it belongs... in making sure you execute the look reach pull and snag that D-ring first time or you're SOL with the jumpmaster.
I was taught to jump the first time by a HALO jumper on Nam era t-rounds with a rough attitude. Both him and the parachute. A stranger and stranger than a stranger. But, he was arguably best around and it was my good fortune to be trained by such a one.
I was taught to skydive by a Golden Knight. Before that, I was a falling frog. After that, I understood human form.
I also understood human psychology as one man was a stranger, the other a friendlier stranger... and the Luschy a future friend's anatomical dialect. Each taught me much. I can only hope I filled their time with some enhancement of any kind as they continue to enrich me continuously throughout my later life and I can no longer repay.
Last thing beautiful I remember about that jump was that shuffle shuffle samba feel of Luschy's plate full of cake down the aisle of the Mullins' Monster... belly into the breeze, flaps out full and engines chewing thin air to hold stable over the jump run to spot. The sway turned to lunge and we began the leaving. The plane's load was getting lighter with each body flung from the frame... and, came my time, I nudged Lucshy through the door and I followed her out into Mistress FL20+'s clearness and a deep blue bottom all her own... and the next thing I remember was cruising on the bubble of accelerating air at my core while my arms and legs swept into a track and I followed my part in the pie toward the distant base.
I remember that jump because it was my last high altitude jump. After that, I did a few more ways a couple big ways and then I quit. I quit because it was predictable. I quit because I had lost the oomph much less the zoom. I remember laughing at a guy who came into the dz one day and sold his rig because he had taken up golf. I didn't realize how wise he was until today.
I know a number of guys and girls who didn't heed the head and now? Not. I am. I want to be.
I quit jumping because I was engrossed in this company you read and wonder about and I was fascinated with what that company has and falling toward the beautiful scenery no longer consumed my concentration.
That's what the guy who quit for golf told me and it took me decades to learn. “When you find you know too much, stop thinking. There are some things better left to surprise.”
Now, following the company for me will turn into something like BS Steel or Johnson Paperclips and sell billions and that will become what even the most exciting things become... ultimately mundane. Such is the way such business is done. Strangers can count on Somebody's Friend always chipping in an extra effort for the team.
I'm quitting posting for a time because I've seen it all come to pass and I want to be surprised from here on. I've followed Emily's luschy ass every shuffle shuffle samba from the right seat to the exit door and now it's time for me to give myself to gravity and let her remind me why I live and breathe.
Some five hundred feet below me the base was pulling in lurkers from all around and the 'dohickey jiblet with frog gravy' formation we dirt dived came together as I raced to follow Luschy into the grips... and they disappeared into a cloud.
How that happened I will never know because no skydiver in recorded history has actually jumped into a cloud. That would be illegal and against parachutist law and legalese... but lore is always different, isn't it? Lore is the real story dressed up for a party. The record is something we do to allow us to work together with civility and not take heads from the neighborhood because somebody farted on the ride up.
VCSY lore sounds like drama, mystery and conspired flatuessence. It's the legal record that will run through that will define the true nature of the journey. It looks like it's turning out the way we figgered in the dirt dive. Amazingly like their original plan in 2000 but much larger scope if the lurkers in the outer orbits are truly a revenue source for the VCSY technology and expertise. It's really a bit more to take in than is necessary or believable... even for me.
How big and how much is what everybody always wants to know. “Ok, dude, like, I was here and she was there and she had his left grip and this guy was closing on your right slot and you were like all over the fricking place and I thought you had the grip but then we funneled and like...” “No no no that's not what happened. It funneled because Fat Walter bombed in on somebody's burble and took out the base.” By beer thirty somebody will tell a waitress they came as close as they have ever come to dying. But, the record is in with everybody that was there.
That's why skydiving doesn't catch on as a spectator sport. You have to be there. It looks too easy and you're watching films of guys who make it look easy. You should watch what normal jumpers look like on video. It's both hilarious and instructive. Imagine having seen an angel fly and trying to experience that same agility. Now think through what a skydiver is doing with bits of metal, cloth and string and, in some rigs, no metal required. what the human creature is capable of without wings. 'OK Walter, step two is we're going to take you up a few thousand feet in this metal tube with these big metal things sticking out and you're going to get out and...'
The secret is relaxation. The more relaxed body tends to adopt a shape conformed by the various pressures of the wind. Ahh grasshopper must learn to fall asleep while falling to death. Very odd game.
There are different stories about VCSY just as there were 11 other ways of telling the same tale above. Us twelve men and women of all kinds dressed in these funny suits and saying these funny words and dancing these stupid looking hunched over dances in the dirt and farting on a plane were a jury on humanity that day and always.
We lorded over the earth as of a generation chosen by our ancestor's efforts to have their children play in the sky. And touched to earth again confident we truly were gods... only to get back into the bank note and drive back to the box where we live and eat the cow or the pig or the what the hell is this? AGAIN?... and all we could hope for is that the afterglow of accomplishment would linger through at least tomorrows breakfast...maybe lunch.
The real world has a way of mixing up the human mind into believing “something else” is more important than the task at hand. There is a fixation on fast easy achievement and it is the surest killer lurking the machine shop, grenade pit, drop zone, hayloft, grease pit, mud hole.
I saw a guy fly into the ground at a dz. He held the square into a spiraling dive until impact. He held that turn for the remainder of his life, as it were. Square parachutes (ok they're actually rectangular but don't tell anybody at the dz that or they'll have to rewrite all the training manuals) are inflated by ram air. Remind you of anyone? They inflate with rammed air in the front and force the enclosed envelope to take on the shape of a fairly 'rigid' wing. You can fly that wing. You can fly it real good.
If somebody says in Atlantis there were these people who flew, believe them. You know there were not? Hell, all indications are anyone with not such high fabric technology can soar the cliffs off Fort Funston, so why not Atlantis? What? These guys know NASA profiles? Is that necessary? “Me make wing. Me jump off cliff. Not fall. Fly. Fly off cliff. Land beach. You new around here?”
Squares can be flown into the ground like any dynamic feature.
So, no $#!@, they dug this guy's compounded femur out of the dirt to turn him over in case something could be done. It could be for a while. They asked him what happened. Toggle lock up? Steering line knotted up? Are you with me, buddy? Turns out he was pissed at himself for missing a grip. He forgot to pull out of the spiral because he was engrossed thinking about something that had happened when it was safe to play around. It ain't safe to play around when you get close to gravity's breast. She bites if you suck.
There are always skeptical people when you tell any story. It's the nature of the probability curves on a population of analog brains to have one extreme of trust and then another.
Skeptics are always missing the bigger picture. You know what's the safer bet? If somebody says they fly; Believe them until they show they can't.
If I had met any of these 12 people on that plane in an office or a golf course and they told me they could fly, would I have believed it? Luschy could obviously float, but, could she fly? Really?
They flew. I saw them fly together. They didn't see me because I was last out. I saw them vanish into a cloud still hundreds of feet below me with Mike's screaming machine plunging vertical past the cloud's edge to make another busload to 23k. A cloud that came out of nowhere swallowed up my friends and I was forced to 180 and track to clear their space.
I would like to go back and join that party in the sky for a while. I think I've known and said enough about distributed architectures and now I would like to regain the facility to trash pack a zero p, cradle it in a container, and stow the pilot, pud or hackey as my wont may be.
I know how to type well enough so the exercise was worth the effort on at least that level. I don't have much to say at this point because I get that way before a jump. I get stupid. And this is a jump. It's a good feeling, actually. It's the kind of brainwaves that say 'Isn't that a lovely piece of cake? Know what? It's your birthday.” And you remember what you were thinking that day that picture of you and the birthday cake and the candles and all your friends were codified into ink or iodine. You remember... 'Wow. Them's some really pretty candles.'