16 year old me, standing on a lovely Mexican beach on a bright, sunny morning.
I am about to go parasailing for the first time. My dad has been watching the para-sails for a week and he determines the yellow-and-black sail gives the longest ride. My dad, my brother and I head out early one morning so there are fewer parasails up at one time. My mom is likely hiding in the hotel room, terrified to see her little girl die.
As I’m getting buckled into a life jacket and harness for my adventure, I ask the guy how safe this is. I know, dumb questions. He said, with a heavy accent, “It’s 49% safe.” WHAT? He clarifies that it’s 99% safe. Um, yeah. At this time, I recall my dad saying he could see sharks swimming in the sea from the high viewpoint of the parasail. I remember the woman hitting the side of the hotel.
Is it too late to change my mind?
In no time, I’m lifting off, sailing high above the beach. I’m terrified and pretty much hating this. I’m talking to myself. I’m happy to see I’m the only sail in the sky. After the boat turns around to head back to my launch site, I see another sail up. Hey, maybe we’ll be able to wave to each other or shout “Hello!” HA. I wish!
As the distance between us closed, it seemed our chutes were going to be close…really close. Indeed. The tethers connecting each of our sails to our boats suddenly intertwined. I was violently jerked this way and that. I was no drama queen, but I was screaming all the way down:
I’m Gonna DIE!!!
As we each crashed into the sea, I ended up underwater with the parachute over me. I sprang to the surface, afraid a shark would be nipping at my toes in no time. Once I surfaced, I had to get out from under the chute. The poor lady who got tangled up with me was trying to keep her camera out of the water. She asked if I was okay. I was in a little less of a panic, but still pretty anxious to get the heck out of the water. Do sharks avoid screams? I don’t know.
The professional boat drivers dived into the ocean to rescue…the parachute. I realize this is their livelihood, but come on, Man! Save me! Once the chute was safely out of the water, they hauled me up by grabbing the life jacket. It wasn’t graceful, I’m sure.
Not wanting to actually go to shore, I was deposited just outside of the shore break. I then had to swim to shore, getting somewhat beat by the crashing waves.
I finally throw myself on the sand, as if I’d swam from a deserted island. Guess what sight greeted me? My older brother was getting buckled in. He thought if this really was 99% safe, they had 99 safe rides to go. Yeah, he’s not so hot with statistics. My dad was pretty happy to get a 2-for-1 bargain.
Thus ended my parasailing career.