So. We are finally en route to somewhere she thinks may be nearby somewhere she may have been to before. And besides, her deceased husband is our guide. Excellent. We get onto the bridge. She starts breathing a little too loud, assisting my driving by vocalising that there is “a car beside me”; “an odd looking driver”; “a jeep 100 yards away that might be thinking about putting on his breaks”. Apparently, on this sweltering day I must also close the sun roof as it creates a whistling noise that makes it difficult for her to think. As far as I can tell, her concentration is focused solely on her next plentyoffish.com date, not me, and thus I leave it open and lower the windows.
This, she believes, is also the perfect opportunity to shout at me that she is an organ donor and if “anything goes wrong”(??) I should make sure the relevant persons are aware. But she also wishes she had married mister XXX (an online random) to ensure he had her social security. I frown. And I continue to drive perfectly well. Assuming she shall direct me as promised.
Half an hour later, in which time I have learned of her 7 potential male “hook ups”, varying from 50 (“too young Lucy, but maybe I can fix him up”) and 80 (“I’m not going to spend my remaining life changing some old guys nappies”), and I interrupt her rampancy to question when we should possibly get off the freeway. Turns out she forgot to direct me and we have driven a third of the way to LA.
I know I am frowning. She’s giggling. And so then do I. We pull off the big (wrong) road and pull over at the next place to reasonably stop to reconfigure. And then, from nowhere, she finds the address. It’s approximately 10 minutes, and an easy drive from where we live. I want to scowl, but she’s laughing so much, I give in to my own bodies need to chuckle. I try and pull a cross face, but she’s got me…
40 minutes later we arrive at her desired destination. I spend ages circling the car waiting for her to pick up (legal), and I am assuming, happy pills, female Viagra? - I just know she’s chatting up and providing “life assuring” advice to randoms. I go to fill up the car with petrol and too many minutes later, she’s ready. For home. Or so I thought. Apparently we absolutely must go and visit the new retirement home (I’m not allowed to call it such; it’s “Paradise Village”). I want to know where she’s moving to and apparently it’s close by. I breathe deeply. Put the ‘Drive’ soundtrack on the stereo, text my friends to tell them I may (almost definitely) be late for drinks, and prepare for the next nunism…
Let me summarise my last week of splendififity (this much fun deserves a new word) in a shortish paragraph. And in true Lulo style, bad grammar and no particular order;
Arran has been noticing a sofa ‘stench’ turns out 4 months after my late night vino rouge spillage I got found out #badbooks
…but there is another story from this day (Sunday). Post flight, pumped up, delirious, sleep deprived ‘flyer’ ( have a certificate uh-huh), bedraggled, not a pretty sight, but we need food. And Bloody Mary’s. So we drive to Pacific Beach with me screeching “rising up straight to the top, had the guts got the glory”…whilst the boy smiles and encourages me to help with directions. Not a chance. I am so far gone to be helpful.
Eventually we rock up at the Fig Tree cafe and are assigned to a queue. Sunday. Lunchtime. Spring Break. But it’s alright, drinks can be delivered to us outside on the waiting bench. I’m still ranting incohesively about my inner brilliance when a (rather lovely looking) guy comes over on crutches and asks to sit and wait with us. And I can’t help myself but fill him in on my flying courageousness, and he applauds enthusiastically. I ask the boy if I should go get my certificate. He frowns. That means no.
Anyway, once the lovely looking stranger gets a chance to talk (shame on me), he asks where we are from. He says he was also in London last year for the Paralympics. I talk about how much we wish we had been there and he tells us how brilliantly delivered the whole event was. I grin, patriotically.
And then. The reveal. He won a bronze and a gold, A GOLD MEDAL. And also the very same medals he fought for (and deserved) in Beijing. Ex-military involved in a motorcycle accident subsequently losing the use of his legs, one (many/most/me?) might crash and burn. But no, this great being chose to make the very bestest of an awful tragedy. And I never want our table to be called as I am so brilliantly inspired by this incredible man. He’s going to retire after Rio, but I so definitely know that he will continue to make random strangers lives happier. In the 15 minutes I spent with this incredible guy, I changed a bit. In a really, really good way. I didn’t get his name, but I will never forget those precious 15 minutes…
I know you know, but let me remind you (again and maybe once more, next week) that yesterday I was pushed out of a plane. I did it…
Lets get some perspective. I am a despiser of all things high. I have vertigo (never before useful, but perhaps, for one day only, that insane “urge to jump” came in handy…). I’ll be honest, lots of things terrify me. Bananas, men with long nails, facials (bad experience), the ocean (and all things beginning with S that lie beneath)…But the boy loves mental stuff. He thinks its like “awesome” (his words) to jump off a cliff relying solely on a piece of elastic and a big wad of good fortune. Opposites attract I guess. Suffice to say, he was excited. As for me, well weeks of bad sleep and numerous “I WANT A REFUND AS I WILL MOST LIKELY DIE” phone calls to the skydive centre. But, I remind myself, the boy does immense things for me everyday so lets go Lucy Long. Or, at the very least try…
And then it was Sunday. 8am. Cloudy. I smile a sleep deprived selfish grin to say thank you for those who provided said precipitation (I’ve read in my hours of useless research, no jumps in such weather). But we head out regardless. 30 minute car journey with random me interludes of “at least I’m trying” and “perhaps we should postpone until I feel better” (which; in relation to upcoming event, will never ever happen).
As we pull into a busy car park, I note a very small airplane and plenty of unknowns psyching themselves up for the unknown. They’re smiling. I am in the wrong place. A very wrong place.
A zillion disclaimers signed later and a disturbing video-on-repeat lawyer giving examples of folks who have experienced accidents and are totally not ever, no way in the world, able to sue (cue LL “who gets what ifs…” to the boy, nothing he hasn’t heard before).
And then we wait, and wait some more. The clouds must clear, a lady who I KNOW has never jumped from a plane before tells us, shes too happy. I will them fluffy white beauties to hang on, protect me. But the buggers disapate and the alarms go. Take off (bite another nail). In some twist of evil fate, we are not on the 1st flight, nor the 2nd - too much time to think. And I am forced to watch a rickety plane fly so high I can’t see it anymore thrusting happy (odd) people into the sky. They all seem ecstatic. I question their sanity. Their luck. I grind my teeth and rock a bit (lot).
Flight 3. That’s us. We get harnessed up and taught how to not die (well how to do our best not to). And I get paired with a tubby Canadian (Johnny) who walks me to the plane. I say “I’m scared”. He says “me too”. I say “I don’t like heights”. He says “me neither”. I say “is everything going to be OK?” He says “let’s hope so”.
We get squished into the plane. And I don’t like seeing masking tape on such devices. The instructors sense my very apparent fears. And respond sweetly so; “hey Lucy, where’s your parachute? He’s got one, he’s got one, he’s got one, are you crazy, you NEED a parachute” and “so the bottom of the plane drops down and you fall, simples” and “Johnny’s new and, well, he’s a bit sporadic”. And I sweat, tears well up and they shut up and hold my hand.
Next bit. I’ve to shuffle tight between Johnny’s legs and he pulls on strings and I squeeze his hands tightly and he asks me to please leave that for later and hold onto the harness. The boy is at the back of the plane (far from me) squeezing his buttocks into another mans lap. A brief LL smile ensues until the door is whooshed open and I see my boy being thrust out at 13000 feet. Gasp. Panic. Baaaaaaaaaaaaaby! No time to ponder more about the boys life status as I am now waddling down the not-really-a-proper-plane strapped to Johnny and he says “it’s ok Lucy, head back, annnnnd NOW”.
And there it is. We are flying. Chubby cheeks a blubbering, BAD words exhaled and 60 seconds of, oh, I can’t explain it cohesively…Mental, crazy, messed up scariness and almighty brilliance and then, and POW. Parachute unleashed and we float. And Johnny lets me fly (just for a little bit as I was rotating rather too wildly; think me dancing). But I flew. I, Lulo who has been know to cry hysterically on commercial big and proper planes that you never have to jump out of, flew. And it was brilliant and beautiful and also the most insanely weird and wonderful thing I think I’ve ever done. I think. I remain undecided as to my true feelings about the whole event. All I know is that I don’t ever want to forget that I flew. Yesterday I flew.
I am proud today.
And so it begins. Not like its a biggy or anything. No. Scrap that. YES IT IS. I am about to (attempt to) change my life. Do you feel the positive Californian energy? Ohmmmmmm, COME ONhmmmmmmmmmmm. Let me feel it. Please? Something? Anything?
Totally NOT end of story. That would be RUBBISH. Love to those I love and who are kind and tolerant enough to love me back.