Picture this. You’re lying on a beach, all lazy and warm and relaxed, when you hear the sound of a motorboat. The sky is remarkably blue, and you glance up just in time to see a colorful parasail (nope, apparently it’s not called a parachute) floating by, pulled behind the boat offshore.
Looks peaceful, right? Serenely gliding along, enjoying the view, feeling a warm breeze in your hair. Which is probably how most people react to parasailing.
Apparently reacting like “most people” isn’t in my wheelhouse.
BrightSide and I visited Turks and Caicos a number of years ago. It was lovely – sunny, restful, a place where we could slow down and just be. I remember loving every single part of the island with the exception of one teeny tiny excursion.
In case you’ve never given this particular activity a shot, here’s how it goes. You climb on board a boat and head offshore for some good old-fashioned fun. A stranger straps you into a harness, throws some instructions at you about take offs and landings, then you’re pretty much tossed into the air with a hearty “Have fun!”. What could go wrong, right?
I’m already at a disadvantage in an activity that starts off with “you climb on board a boat,” but I’m nothing if not adventurous (or ridiculously stubborn) so I agreed to give this a try. And as I recall all the descriptions above were true: it was beautiful out with blue skies and a soft warm breeze. Even knowing the outcome, I still have to admit conditions were great for parasailing that day.
Yet as I stood in that gently bobbing boat and struggled to focus on their instructions, all I could hear was the roaring in my head. Have you lost your ever-lovin’ mind?! You hate boats. You hate heights. You’re going to let some guy you’ve never met strap you into this rinky-dink harness and send you HOW HIGH into the air? And then you just HANG THERE?!
I guess I wasn’t as on board with the whole parasailing concept as I’d thought when I booked the excursion. So there I was, embroiled in yet another sticky situation that suddenly didn’t feel like something I really wanted to do. One of my charming personality traits is hardheadedness, though, so up I went.
This began thirty minutes – it was probably more like ten, but it FELT like thirty – of terror-induced self-talk. (I know this comes up a lot and yes, I really do spend this much time talking to myself. Especially in moments of crisis. Whatever works, right?)
I’m sure it’ll be fine, I’m sure it’ll be fine, I’m sure it’ll be – whoa!
Okay then, we’re off the boat, in the air, still gonna be fine, just going for a little ride.
Geez, this is high. (Clutching the harness straps.) I’m sure this is safe, they do it all the time. Tourists all over the place go parasailing for fun – I can’t for the life of me imagine why, but they do, and it wouldn’t be so popular if it were that dangerous. Holy crap, HOW HIGH AM I?
What happens if I drop from this high up? It’s the ocean, it’s made of water, it’s not like I’m going splat on the pavement…but that’s a long way down. It’s probably not a good thing if you drop. But that’s not gonna happen because – whoa! Wind!!
You get the idea. Basically we paid good money so I could spend however many minutes flying behind a boat, pretty much terrified the entire time. Been there, done that, I’m good. Onto the One-and-Done List it went.
Interestingly enough, BrightSide had a polar opposite reaction to parasailing. It landed on his One-and-Done List due to mind numbing boredom.