When we went to Gatorland, I went ziplining. I don’t know what I was thinking.
When I signed up, I had the option to do one zipline, which would have taken about ten minutes; or the “full tour” (according to the girl behind the counter, because I didn’t know then what that meant), which would take about an hour. What the heck, I thought. In for a penny, in for a pound. So I signed up for the whole thing.
The intro video — which, by the way, was geared to scare the pants off you before you even got off the ground — was five minutes long. Then we geared up, with the help of our two guides. We walked together to the first tower, and started to climb. Our guides told us there were 77 steps on that first tower. After the way my legs felt, I believe it. (And believe you me, my legs definitely felt it the next day.)
“Who wants to go first?” Our guide asked, once we’d reached the tower’s summit. No one volunteered. We all paid to be here, I thought. I raised my hand. “I’ll do it!” I said, trying to sound braver than I felt.
One guide had gone down already. For every zipline, one guide went ahead to catch us, the other stayed behind to secure us and send us off.
Strapped securely by the guide — twice, to be safe — I stepped up to the precipice. (That’s a good word, “precipice.” I so rarely get to use it in conversation.) So, about your legs shaking when you’re scared terrified? That’s totally a thing. I literally thought I was going to collapse, if not pass out completely, right there at the edge.
But I didn’t fall over. I walked off the edge, into oblivion. The cables caught me, and down I went, my speed topping — I am told — 30 miles an hour. Jessica told me later that she knew it was me by how loud I was yelling on the way down. (My voice is still raw!)
Six more times, we did this. Each time we landed, we climbed another tower, until we reached the last and highest tower. By that point, I’d gained enough courage to not merely walk off, but run off, gaining more speed and more momentum.