Sunday, June 10, 2007

Looping the Loop

The Boy was given an aerobatic flight for his birthday, and when we woke up to sun and blue skies yesterday, we hassled Ray, the pilot, mercilessly until he agreed to meet us at the airport. I pictured myself spending the afternoon lounging on the deck outside the airport café, watching Boy as he was put through the paces, glass of wine in hand, ready for resuscitation if he stumbled out of the plane weak kneed and white with fear.
Instead I found myself signing up to do a flight as well. And then the fear really began. Butterflies the size of parakeets flooded my stomach, and I felt my hands beginning to shake, as Will, our safety instructor, detailed what was about to happen. What had I got myself into? Waiting for the others to go first nearly killed me, but inevitably, there was no avoiding it. I too had to stand on the scales, and have my weight read out to the room.
With the worst over, I practically ran to the plane, squirming my way into the front seat of the Pitts Special, and donning authentic flight helmet and aviators. I whooped enthusiastically into the intercom as we took off and did a few preparatory banks and turns, pushing my lungs somewhere into the region of my knees.
And then…then the first flip upside down. When it suddenly dawned on me that, due to the confined nature of my seat, and the fact that most of the buckles were between my legs, the actual securing of the harness had been left up to me. Yes, someone had told me which bits clicked where and what to pull to tighten, and there had even been several good yanks on various sections to make sure they were on. But I was upside down. With that harness (and a flimsy bit of plastic canopy) between me and the deep blue sea.
At that point, I abruptly abandoned the ‘weeeeeeee!’ and instead gripped onto the harness for dear life. With something of a muffled ’meeuuuuuphh!’ noise . Until another thought struck (and yes, we were still upside down) what if there was some kind of quick release system and I accidentally pulled it? The ‘meeuuuuuuph!’ increased slightly in pitch and volume, as we flipped right side up again. But then…then the looping and rolling and plunging headfirst at the waves began, and with the security of centrifugal forces pushing comfortingly against me, I giggled and cackled like a kid on a sugar high.
I think Ray thought this might have indicated hysteria, rather than glee, but each time he asked if I was ok, and up for more, I gave the 'ok' signal with both hands (wrenching them away from the harness, to which they still appeared to be glued), and we zoomed into another 6G plummet.
Fear factor? Pure blood fizzing exhileration aplenty. A few seconds of absolute terror until I realised that I had, in fact, managed to put the harness on correctly.
Fun factor? Sky high.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Little more than six months lie before me before I hit the third decade. Your twenties, people assure me, are the time for having fun, for getting the crazy out of your system, for 'living a little'.
I think I've done a couple of important things (get a degree, build a career, learn how to make pancakes), and I seem to have ticked off what most lists on the internet hold vital (visit another country, kiss a boy, maybe, like, have sex omg!!!!). But I still thought I should check with my near and dear to see if I had anything left to achieve. And apparently, yes, yes I do.

1) Sky diving. Now I have to say, I don’t really see what the entire point of this is. I suspect it’s a little bit of population control, or Darwinism in action. In fact, I think it’s a government plot to reduce superannuation. Yeah. A conspiracy. Damn the Man.
2) Drink absinthe - I have a feeling absinthe is like the 60s. If you remember drinking it, then you probably made the whole thing up. If you think you never drank it, but do recall this night where you made great friends with a magic rhino who wore tapshoes…well yes, you may have drunk absinthe.
3) Get married in Vegas - because we all want to be a little bit Britney.
4)Break a bone - does it have to be one of my own? Can I maybe combine this one with number 1 or 2?
5) Have a song written for/about me - going to have to go hang out with music school dropouts, aren't I? I can drink absinthe with them, and they'll write a song about the fish in my eyes, and the way my blue hair sambas in the light from the dairy.
6) Read ‘War and Peace’. I can do this while I am recuperating with my broken bone.
7) Imitate ‘Sex and the City’. I’m choosing to interpret this as owning at least one pair of Manolos or Jimmy Choos. Thanks for the heads up, Felix.
8) Have a third child for Australia - The Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, urged Australians last year to do their "patriotic duty" and have "one [child] for your husband, and one for your wife, and one for the country. Well…as long as its for Australia. (Does that mean I can sue Australia for child support?)
9) Go to a life drawing class - yes, what indeed could be more young, fun, or crazy than drawing nude stick figures?
10) Climb Everest - ok, fairly sure there is someone out there with a death wish for me. Not only have I never climbed anything higher than the steps in an Imax theatre, the only safe window for climbing Chomolungma is in May, and I hit the big three o in January. Add to that the cost (nearly $100,000 ) and my inability to recognise the difference between a crevasse, a crampon, and a karabiner, and I think I can safely write this one off.
11) Shave your head. (What's with the Britney, people?)