D and I got married in Queenstown, New Zealand - the "Adventure Capital of the World." D was determined to take on the bungee jump there at Nevis canyon. This is no ordinary bungee jump - you throw yourself off a gondola suspended on cables 440 ft above the bottom of the canyon. 8 seconds of free fall. Count that up: 1-one thousand, 2-one thousand.... that is like, forever, in free fall moments.
I am decidedly NOT an adrenaline junkie. The rush that some people get when that natural chemical starts coursing through their blood just leaves me wishing to curl up safely under my blankie with a nice cup of chamomile tea to calm my racing heart. So, despite all the recent til-death-do-us-part-yada-yada, I had no desire to join D in this particular leap of faith. However, everyone on the gondola - even spectators - gets kitted out in a jump harness. So we both got strapped into the gear and headed out to the jump platform.
There was a group of about 10 on this mission. I was the only chicken that was not jumping. The group is set to go in order by descending weight for technical reasons. My newly minted husband's turn came up, and on the count of "3-2-1-bungee" he executed a perfect swan dive. They hauled him back up to the platform sporting a grin so big it could split his head in half. His first words were, "Can I go again?" which he summarily did. I wasn't surprised that he enjoyed it so much - he who loves throwing himself down steep hills on a mountain bike in maneuvers that I find terrifying.
After a while a giggling gaggle of youngish girls rotated through the jump order - and every single one of them leapt on the cue of "3-2-1-bungee!" No hysterics, no crying or shaking or hesitating or being talked into it. At this point I was starting to feel a little stupid. If even one person had freaked out about their jump, I would have stood aside and sagely said, "You see - that's why I'm not doing it. Why put yourself through the trauma?" But, as luck would have it, I'm small enough to jump on the lightest weight cord, so I was given the final option to jump before we all returned to solid ground. I thought if they can do it, I can do it. Man up - here I go.
You jump at Nevis head-first with your feet strapped together. As I sat fidgeting in a reclining chair, getting strapped in, I was silently repeating this mantra: no thinking... no thinking... if you think, you don't jump...
I penguin-scooted to the edge of the platform, and put the tips of my boots out over the end. I remember clearly that I never once looked down. I even crossed my eyes a little when I checked my toes to ensure I wouldn't accidentally focus on the HUGE EFFING CHASM that I was about to throw myself into.