“If you stop running, we will crash” – Zero
1700 feet above Brazil’s parading Carneval launch on Leblon Beach I´m soaring through the clouds. I’ve never seen building from this close at this vantage point! The people are all moving like bugs and the laid-out ladies on the beach are waving up at us! This is what Superman feels like…
The rickotty car buzzed up the steep & narrow road, winding through the jungle´s vegetation. The horn was warning on-coming traffic that might be around the corner with short consistent blares. It was another one of those ´I wouldn´t be surprised if this is how I died´´ moments. And then it occured to me that if today I should die, I rather it be because I jumped off the mountain with only a kite on my back. Not on the car ride to the summit! That would be some embarassing bullshit.
Zero was my instructor. For the next hour, my life was in his hands because I had placed it there. He seemed like a nice enough stranger, why not? Very matter-of-factly Zero confirmed my suspiciouns by stating “OK Joe, the real danger is over“ I cocked my head inquizically. “I am a very very bad driver, so it is good we have to do no more driving. Flying, I am much better at. So now we will fly. This is where we will launch.“
After hiking up terrain too steep to drive, we approached our launch area. It was flat and cleared of trees. A natural runway developed which lead to the drop off. I walked closer to the edge for a view, but nothing. Too many clouds, all I could see beyond the cliff was grey. At the beginning of the run-way was a little building serving coffee. I figured a few espressos would calm my nerves.
Zero told me we would check the gear then run off the edge. “It is important to run full speed off the cliff. If you stop running, we will crash, and we don´t want to crash, so do not stop running, OK” And he paused awaiting my respoonse. Keep running, or we will crash. It was a rather simple concept I figured, as I plunged into a mentality of sheer-obediance. This man´s word is my order. What Zero says, I do. I will not think for myself, I will obey Zero. Obey Zero.
Then zero nonchellantly listed off the process of the jump which was too much too fast for me to gather. I did however offer him the occassional nod or flash a smile. When it seemed important I asked for clarity.
We practiced how to keep running without stopping. There was a clearing in the clouds which meant our opportunity to jump off the mountain.
Now, we´re running and running and running and not stopping and HOLY SHIT- we´re flying. We~re in the air and my legs still sputtering. No two ways about it, I´m a god-damn bird in the sky! Dream-come-true status, I am actually above the city, arms spread, wind at my face passing through the clouds, looking at all the little people below! Enthralling!!
Zero let me steer, and showed me that to speed up we aim down. Shift weight for a move left/right and aim up to slow down. I was given the reins! Left, right, OK time for some speed. Maybe a little faster, maybe even faster! And I aimed down and gained us speed and speed and speed as we soared through the air, until Zero took the controls away from me in an effort to avoid an unrecoverable nose dive. What a good instructor he was! Watching out of our lives and eventually bringing us to a landing on the beach.
The overcast kept the distance out of visability, but the view below was as clear as a street-walkers intentions.