“Have you ever done any extreme sports?” my skydiving instructor asked. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d type. Well, it was my indoor skydiving instructor, but still, never something I thought I’d do.
“Yes,” I said confidently. “I have been on Nemesis at Alton Towers. Twice. It was terrifying.”
“Hmm, that’s more of a rollercoaster,” he mused. “You’re strapped in there, aren’t you? I’m thinking more of bungee jumping, surfing and so on.”
“I’ve done pony riding,” I said. “I’ve even done a really fast canter.”
My skydiving instructor looked unimpressed. “Never been ski-ing?” he asked.
“I read a book about it once,” I replied. “It sounded a bit cold and wet.”
“Just try and relax,” he said. “The more you tense up, the harder it’s going to be.”
It turned out to be very, very hard. The instructional iFLY video we had all watched had shown smiling seven-year olds, soaring and flying. It did not show a middle-aged woman bouncing off the floor of the giant fan, skidding along on her nose, ricocheting into the glass windows before ending up in an upside-down foetal position and finally being carried out headfirst by the instructor.
It was not – as they say – a complete success. TheBloke (TM) seemed to enjoy it though, and, after all, it was his Christmas present.
However, if I was feeling ungenerous, I might suggest that TheBloke (TM)’s enjoyment seemed to stem less from the incredible sensation of freefall and rather more from watching his wife transformed into a human air-hockey puck.
It looks like I’m smiling in this photo. The reason I’m smiling is we were reminded to smile – otherwise your cheeks do that weird flappy thing that isn’t massively photogenic. So I was smiling. But not because I gave the tiniest shit about being photogenic, but because the sensation of my own mouth flapping against the rest of my face was an unappealing additional physical sensation when combined with oh my God, I’m going to die.
They try and sell you a video clip of the experience. They have carefully edited my video to omit the part where I curled into a ball, ricocheted off the walls and ended up being manhandled out of the chamber.
I suspect they are saving it for the next office party.