I’ve bungee jumped twice in my life. The first time, I got pushed off. The second, I jumped on my own. Sort of like life, I was thinking recently.
My first jump was when I turned 30. There was a tower back then at the Queen Mary. A bungee jump sounded like a cool way to celebrate.
In the little doghouse at the top of the tower, we all put on these little rock climbing belts, the type you put your legs through and cinch around your crotch. I felt oddly secure wearing this, figuring they were all part of the safety precautions.
I felt less secure as I watched those ahead of me jump. The belts weren’t used for anything. Instead, they just wrapped the bungee cord around your legs secured by what seemed to be a really large bath towel. Where was the safety line that I was sure would be also hooked to those damn belts they made us put on? Where was my backup cable?
To this day, I still have no idea why we wore those belts, other than perhaps to give those working the tower something to hold on to as they guided us to the edge. Soon enough, that’s where I stood. And stood and stood and stood.
I looked down. It was a long way down. I think 180 feet or so. And I was going to jump off into that? Was I crazy? I just refused to jump. They kept doing the “1, 2, 3 … bungee!” thing, and I continued to stand. “I can’t do this,” I said, and really wanted to get down.
Somehow, I finally jumped. That “somehow” is that I swear I was pushed. Well, probably tapped gently, as I was all lined up with my arms out. I know, they’re not supposed to push you. But everyone probably knew I wanted to go, so they helped me along.
In the end, I was glad they did. It was a wonderful experience falling, then springing up and gentling bobbing back and forth that way. But I couldn’t make the jump myself.
The second time, about a year later, no problem. I was in New Zealand, where bungee jumping down in Queenstown is like a no risk sport compared to some of the things they do. The video of my first jump had gotten recorded over accidentally, so I was keen to get a new record of my supposed bravery. This time when they said jump, out I went, no hesitation. I even wore a Santa outfit, as it was nearing Christmas. I even let my head plunge into the river water below.
One of the crew was telling me that bungee jumps spread out among those who do them once, twice or tons of times. Those who do it once have had enough. They feel nothing more to prove. Some do it twice I guess to prove it wasn’t a fluke. The rest, they just love the jumping.
I’m sure I’ll do a jump again someday, but I’m in no rush to do so. I guess I’m glad I had that push the first time, so I could make the jump on my own the second. Regardless of how we jump, I guess all we can do is hope the cord doesn’t break and that we enjoy the ride.