Birthday Bungee Jump


BUNGEE JUMP

Birthday Bungee Jump

WonderWoman-300pix

Bungee jump at the Santa Cruz boardwalk 1992

 

 

I won it on the radio. KWAV radio out of Monterey, California, was offering a free bungee jump to the ninth caller

The morning DJ, Jack Peterson, answered the phone. “Hi, you’re the ninth caller. You won the bungee jump!”

“Yay! I won, I won.” I squealed. I was so thrilled to be the winner that I didn’t actually think about what it was I won until after the fanfare died down.

Bungee jump?! Out of a cage held up by a crane in a parking lot? Oh, okay.

The jump was scheduled for the following Monday morning. On Sunday afternoon an idea popped into my head! I’ll dress up as Wonder Woman and make it a fun event since it coincided with my forty-fifth birthday. I turned to my son and said, “Tyler, ride your bike over to Dean’s house (Dean had an extensive comic book collection) and borrow a Wonder Woman comic. I want to copy her costume. Hurry, the mall is closing in a couple of hours!”

The local paper printed the story, my mom saw it and got upset. I thought she was worried about my safety when I heard her panicked voice on the phone. “Carole Jean! What’s wrong with you? I saw the newspaper article. You gave them your real age. Fortunately I saw it before my husband saw it and cut that number out!”

Newspaper

   ***

Many years later I moved to Costa Rica. While on an outing with friends, I saw an old rusty bridge in the middle of nowhere with a Bungee Platform on it. The river below was raging and I looked over the edge of the platform and tried to imagine the feeling of jumping off. I knew it had to be more spectacular than jumping off a crane in the parking lot of the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. So I got the idea to make a Wonder Woman reenactment jump. It had been twenty-two years since the original.

Now to find the costume parts… not as easy as the first time around. And once I find them where do I jump? The bridge where I saw the platform was abandoned. I found out the operators took their equipment and left town. For a variety of reasons, I left Costa Rica before I could arrange a jump. I packed the costume parts in my repatriation suitcase – I wasn’t giving up on this!

Two years later the pieces finally came together. I moved back to Capitola, California, got settled in my new/old  home, and set out to arrange the Birthday Bungee Jump! After Googling and finding several bungee companies, I started calling to book the jump.

I called the first number, “This number has been disconnected.”

I called the second number. I got a person. I asked about the bungee jumping and he replied, “Oh, no. We don’t do that any more. You know, bungee jumping has been outlawed in thirty-two states. I can offer you sky-diving.”

Nope, I didn’t want sky-diving…been there, done that…a few hundred times.

I called the third number. “Please leave your name and number and someone will get back to you. If you are calling to book a bungee jump, you can do so online.”

Yay! So, it wasn’t outlawed in California. Or was it?

Two days later, I got a return call from the Bungee company. The owner of the company sounded professional, knowledgeable, and confident. I asked him where the jump took place. “Oh, we can’t tell you that. On jump day, we meet in a parking lot and then carpool to the jump spot. It’s usually within half an hour of the meeting spot. We’ll contact you a few days before the jump to tell you where the meeting spot is.”

Ummmm. Uhhhhh. Well, okay. I signed up online. I paid the bare-bones price of $99.00. I didn’t want the fancy extras: the photo/video package, the ankle harness which cost $20 more than the body harness, the head-dip which puts the top half of you in the water before springing back up. I just really wanted the Wonder Woman Bungee photo so I could write this blog. When I told this to the head bungee guy he said, “Oh, we don’t want you to take pictures of the bridge. We don’t have a permit, so we have to stay under the radar.”

“Oh, sure, I understand (I did??!) No problem.”

I figured one way or another I would snag a photo. After all, the whole point was to illustrate “then and now”, twenty-plus years later. I was making a statement for senior women everywhere – we may be old, but we’re not dead. Yet. Maybe I should write the piece before the jump.

As jump day neared, I pulled out the costume parts and started cutting out the stars to glue on the tiny blue booty shorts I had purchased in Costa Rica. They were tiny, but the only ones I could find that were the right color. The jump was still two weeks out, so I figured I could do a crash diet and lose twenty pounds so the shorts would fit. Besides, who would even notice the shorts? The red bustier would grab the attention of most onlookers. The problem was I couldn’t get into that contraption without help.

Certainly I could convince one of my friends to accompany me. They didn’t have to jump, just be the “dresser” and provide moral support. For a while I thought my running partner, Kathy, was coming, but at the last minute she had family coming into town. Oh well, I would figure something out.

Little did I know that as part of my birthday surprise, Tyler and his wife, Colette, were flying my daughter, Chelsea, in for the weekend! Chelsea, the former pole-vaulting champion. Chelsea, the former horse-vaulter expert. Surely, a little bungee jump off a rusty bridge in the middle of nowhere on a rainy day, with a bunch of strangers, (mostly men) wouldn’t faze her. She could help me into my get-up and do a jump. Yeah, that’s it.

On the Saturday following a spectacular birthday dinner, mother and daughter set off from San Francisco to an undisclosed location somewhere near Sacramento. We were to meet the group in the parking lot of a local pizza parlor. Well, technically the instructions said to meet Gino’s Pizza at 3:00 in the afternoon. I somehow got the idea that we would rendezvous in the parking lot and caravan to the bridge.

We skidded into the parking lot at exactly 3:00 and raced to the sidewalk in front to meet the group. We thought if strange that we were the only ones there. I cocked my head and gave Chelsea a sidelong look, “I think we’ve been scammed.”

“Bamboozled!” she agreed.

“I wonder how many others paid their $99.00 online?” I huffed.

And then a very handsome mocha-colored young man in a spectacular Mohawk and sturdy hiking boots appeared before us. “Are you waiting for someone?” he asked.

“Are you bungee?!” I shrieked.

He led us to a back room inside Gino’s where we found a roomful of frightened looking people sitting around waiting for a slide show to begin.

All eyes turned toward us as we entered the room – a mother dressed in a Wonder Woman costume with her beautiful daughter in tow…

To be continued…

 

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