Off The Beaten Path: At The End Of My Rope…
I have a habit of exclaiming (yelling) when I become agitated and frustrated, “I am at the end of my rope, People!” Four weeks ago I found myself literally hanging at the end of the rope – 800 feet of rope to be exact – dangling in the air, gazing down at the Atlantic Ocean. What the what?! How did the neurotic woman who is both afraid of heights and water above her knees end up parasailing? I blame it all on a midlife crisis and wanting to be fun. (I’ll explain more about that in next month’s column, for now I will tease you with the revelation that my life is about to change in a most wonderful way!)
My husband and I made the sojourn to Ocean City to visit our son. I always try to find some new adventures for us – and not a trek to Furnace Town! The guys have both done parasailing before but my intense fears have never permitted me to entertain the thought of being strapped and tethered to a sail and hoisted off the back of a boat. And then the realization hit me that in despite of all of my paranoia, I really, really wanted to do this. I shared my goal with the men folk and they laughed and laughed and laughed. When they picked themselves off the floor, they said they would pay good money to see me parasail. Well, honeychilds – if that wasn’t a challenge, I don’t know what was. I whipped out my cell phone and did a Google search and booked a parasailing excursion for the very next morning.
At the dock, I confidently signed my waiver form and applied sunscreen. I embarked on the boat and found a seat. I watched the other 4 couples experience their mid-air flight and then it was my turn to go up with my hubby. “Are you nervous?” he asked. “Not a bit,” I said. I lied. I was petrified. You have the option of being dipped in the ocean at the end of your ride. I asked for a mild dip – in case I peed my pants while up in the sky, this would be a great way to camouflage myself if that occurred. I also wanted my money’s worth. I’m cheap like that. The boat captain started the engine and unfurled the rope. We began to soar up high. The wind was blowing and we swayed all over the place. I held on tight to the ropes and was so scared that I never bent my legs. I kept them straight out in front of me. Trying to be nonchalant and cool, I looked down, down, down, down, down at the Ocean. Oh crap. We were really up in the air! “Having fun?” my husband asked. “Time of my life!” I squealed. It was fun, a lot of fun – but holy crap! I was hundreds and hundreds of feet in the air, with the vast ocean below at my feet. What the &^%*($#@ was I thinking?
I decided I was going to be a hip and happening old lady. Because there were 3 of us in our group (my husband, son and myself), someone had to go up twice. “I’m gonna do this again!” I gushed to my surprised husband. And I did. To my son’s shock, he found himself flying off the deck of the boat with my little scaredy-cat Mama. My son likes to torment me. He grabbed my rope and said, “Wow! Look how high up we are. I hope the rope doesn’t break!” And then he gave my rope just the slightest tweak. I do believe that is when I started to pray in earnest. I also started to get sick. I leaned into the rope and rested my head. “You don’t look too hot, Mom,” said my troublemaker son. “I think I am gonna throw up.” I replied. And I meant it! My son took one look at my face and lovingly said, “Turn away, don’t throw up on me!” (For the record, I didn’t throw up.)
After what seemed like an eternity, the captain began reeling us back in. Once again, I had asked for a dip in the ocean. The first time with my spouse wasn’t bad, we got dipped up to our waists. But this time the captain got sadistic and just plunged us into the water. The ocean just seized me and grabbed me and down I went – splish-splash! I emerged with a mouthful of salt water and a drenched body. I wanted to squeal like a little girl but I was hip and happening, remember? So I resorted to doing this very loud and fake laugh, pretending that I thought that being immersed into the Atlantic Ocean was the best thing since sliced bread. Take that you sadistic captain!
I made it back to land safe and sound. I did not lose control of my bladder, I did not upchuck – and the sadistic captain got the basic gratuity, not the very large tip that I planned on leaving him. And I got a wonderful experience of feeling like a bird on the wing, sailing and soaring high above the water. Cross that off my bucket list, now do I have the nerve to jump out of an airplane?