Sogee was waiting for the magic to happen. She was both nervous and slightly angry to be going on the world's biggest bungee jump in the world. At one point, she was asked how she felt. "I am going to kill him," she said to the camera. I thought she was talking to Kaivan, but she said she was talking about me afterwards. I think that's the way it is when you're faced with inextricable odds. Some people go for the jugular of the one they love most, ehile others just bawl their eyes out.
My mother-in-law laughed when she heard Sogee's response to death. Then she quickly reminded me in Korean that her response was very similar to what women do during pregnancy.
I had no response for this besides a resounding, "Mmmm." Then I pictured Sogee screaming in the throes of pregnancy and my life being threatened. "Yes," I told my mother-in-law in Korean. "I think this will be her response."
Of course, we haven't gone into detail about Sogee's actually launch. After threatening me with death, she then proceeded to convince the jump advisor to let her go down backwards.
"Have you ever jumped here before," the jump instructor asked.
"No," Sogee said, biting her lower lip. "But this is my third time, and I've jumped backwards before."
A slight hesitation.
"Please let me do it backwards," Sogee began to beg. "I can't look. I can't look."
You know someone is deathly afraid when they start to repeat themselves. The instructor must have been in on this from having done about 30-40 jumps a day. (I was told the average by attendees later.) He just played it cool though. "Look," he said. "I'll let you jump backwards, but don't grab me or my partner here, or we'll be really upset."
"I won't grab you," Sogee said defiantly. She said it in such a strong way I was rather proud. "You go, girl!" I thought in my head, but then I heard screams shortly thereafter.
From what I was told later (no one could hear anything with the wind that far up - 233 meters), Sogee was not only defiant about not grabbing onto the instructor, but she was, in fact, now, holding onto the instructor, and telling him, scratch that, screaming "No!" to him, every time he started a countdown from five.
"Listen," the instructor said in his no-nonesense-policy talk, "there are a lot of people waiting to go here. We don't want to keep everyone waiting. So if you're going to go, then let's get this show on the road. Otherwise, we'll have to take even more time to get the harness and everything off of you."
"Fine," Sogee said, almost spitting she was so upset, "I'll go!"
Now Kaivon and I were watching from the wings. We were tethered to the flagship, while this whole procession was transpiring. To us it seemed like the guy was doing some serious smooth talk.
"I bet he gets mad pussy," Kaivon shook his head in envy. "He probably convinces hundreds of girls daily. He must be really good at getting the to sleep with him."
Now I am not for "bedding girls" kind of talk. I also didn't want to think of some random guy convincing my wife that she should jump off the 233 meters, and thus, in my mind, be convincing her to also be going to bed with him, so I did what any supportive husband would do during pregnancy, or, in this case, jumping off the world's largest bungee jump, I nodded silent support and gazed affectionately.
This must have been enough for the Sogee. She caught my gaze. Then she was advised to stare at the camera for a final adios. To which she simply shifted her eyes to the right, but kept her head rigidly forward.
"She's going to do it," Kaivon whispered in my ear.
"Of course," I said.
Sogee did a nice graceful jump backwards. I thought it was rather elegant, and I was filled with pride. When it was my turn, and leading up to it being my turn, I was being slightly harassed by Kaivon for being so calm. The truth was that I was slightly nervous, but after I heard that this company had zero accidents since its inception, I figured I would shortly become one of the safe and lucky statistics, so I wasn't overly concerned. My major issue was making that leap. That was when I decided to simply be myself. I saluted to the camera, and dove off like it was the diving board at Westminster pool in Delaware. I felt the rush of air pull my face back, and I tried to see what was happening as I fell. It was difficult. I was moving so fast, and then there was the whole procedure of pulling the cord by my leg, so I would be shifted into a seated position as the instructors lowered me down after I stopped bouncing. I spent a lot of time thinking about the cord, but I couldn't even pull it off. I was a weakling. At least I thought. Later, I was told that people don't realize they need to pull on the cord much harder because of the gravity at work. I don't know though. I don't think I was made for trapeze exercises. I prefer being the humble supporter to other people being daredevils. Of course, I was treated rather well after making the jump. The instructors gave me rock 'n' roll signs and thumbs ups after I made it back up the tower. I suppose it was a big deal that it was my first time and that I did it fairly fearlessly.
"You rocked, dude!" one of the instructors told me at the top.
"Nah," I said. " I just jumped."