Sunday, August 16, 2009

Just Because You're One of the Guys.....

.......doesn't mean you can trust them.

......or even than they are really your friends.

Years ago, in a previous wifetime, I was skydiving with a group of guys at a very small airstrip west of Atlanta. It was seriously small. I mean grass "runway" and everything. I don't remember why I started jumping there; I was probably tired of driving two and a half hours, and two hours and fifteen minutes was a MUCH better drive.

Skydiving was an inherently male sport for the most part. I have no idea how much things have changed these days.

I remember the first day I went to jump. I went all by myself, and I didn't know a soul there. We were assembled in this trailer where the gear was stored, and I was sitting on a counter minding my own business. I didn't know the experienced jumpers from the students, so I was just observing and absorbing.

This guy marched over to where I was sitting and stopped dead in front of me.

"Are you here to jump?" he demanded.

"Um....yes," I stammered.

"Shit." He turned around and stomped off.

I was thinking, "Oh great, hostility from the veterans already."

Then I heard him say to his buddies on the other side of the room, "She's sitting there cool as a cucumber, and I'm scared shitless."

I apologize for the language, but I wanted to be true to the story.

All of that has nothing to do with this story, except to point out that the men outnumbered the women by a wide margin.

At the very small airstrip with the grass runway, the guys were always making off-color remarks, but for the most part I just laughed them off. I couldn't afford to be indignant, since I never knew which one of them might be assigned to be my jumpmaster on the next load. You couldn't risk offending the person who would sign off on your logbook. Or not.

My ex never seemed to mind that I went off all day participating in a mostly-male sport. As long as it didn't interfere with HIS plans, it was fine.

One day I took my camera with me, just to take pictures on the ground. [I never reached the level of comfort where I could take pictures in the air. Another jumper once tried to take pictures of me in freefall with an elaborate helmet-mounted camera, but he couldn't catch up to me. I was terrible about backsliding in freefall. I thought it was cool that he had rigged a shutter release that he held in his mouth, and he bit it when he wanted to take a picture.]

This was of course in the days before digital photography, so I had to wait a week for the photos to be developed. For some strange reason, the ex and I were together when I went to pick them up.

The photos were in a little wire-bound portfolio, and I flipped through them excitedly.

"This is the plane."

"This is Brian."

"This is Bill."

"Here is the landing zone."

This went on for a few minutes, with me flipping over to each new picture and identifying the person in it.

Then I flipped to the next picture, and it was......

a penis.

[I thought they didn't even PRINT that kind of picture. No wonder the clerk at the drugstore looked at me strangely when I went to pick up the pictures.]

My ex went rigid beside me. No pun intended. Really, no pun intended. Seriously.

He drew a breath and said through his teeth, "What in the hell is that?"

There was a long silence.

"I know what it is," I said. "But I have no idea how it got there."

There was proof positive of collusion in the taking of the photo. The prepetrator's hands were also showing, as he pulled down his sweat pants. Clearly someone else was involved.

They had taken my camera while I was in the air for a jump and taken the offending photograph without me knowing it. They didn't even have the decency to tell me about it.

Needless to say, that was the last time I jumped there. As the ex put it, and this was one of the VERY few times I ever agreed with him when he said, "And THESE are the people who have your life in their hands?"

I did get a very small bit of satisfaction months later, when I was jumping at a different location (two and THREE-QUARTER hours away), and I ran into one of those guys again. He asked me where I had been, and I told him the sordid story.

"What did you do about it?"

"I mailed the picture to him and told him I didn't appreciate it."

"Wait. Where did you mail it?"

I told him the address where I had sent the picture.

He laughed uproariously.

"He's getting a divorce. You sent it to his wife."

I'm glad I'm not one of the guys anymore. It's way too much trouble.


Maggie said...

Bwahahahahahahahaha! To his wife! That was sweet!

And it does really stink that they had to be like that. I just never understand men. Frankly, sometimes, they're just stupid. Really.

Starry wonder said...

When was this? I know the story just don't remeber when or where it took place. Was it Warm Springs?

Bragger said...

Maggie -- It made me feel SLIGHTLY better. I would have liked it better if I could have seen HIS face.

Starry -- It was the place before Warm Springs. I didn't go there too many times. Obviously.