Thursday, September 27, 2012

Falling. No style at all.

Disclaimer: I am not a "thrill seeker." You won't catch me on a roller coaster. I'll never try green ketchup. So the views expressed in this post need to be weighed against the fact that I'm a wuss. 

The group I work in wanted a fun team building experience. It was decided that we should all find out what a brick feels when it's tossed from the top of a high rise.

Fortunately, there were no nearby high rises, and instead, we all headed off to a place that uses a couple of box fans and a glass tube to recreate the falling brick sensation.

When we arrived at iFly in beautiful downtown Union City, it was filled with close to 100 school kids. We were early for our scheduled session, so we got to watch 7- and 8-year-old kids frolic in the glass tube.

This did nothing for my confidence. They made this look easy, but I was pretty sure it was a trick. Then one of their teachers got in the tube, and I got to see how horribly wrong this could go.

Then our instructor/guide/tormentor walked past and grabbed twelve of us and told us we would be the first group. That I didn't wet my pants is a point of pride for me.

We watched a safety video, were shown a series of hand gestures that would be key to our survival (it's noisy in the tube and we were all wearing ear plugs), and were suited up in a worrying amount of safety gear.

Finally, it was our turn to enter the glass tube's waiting room. I lunged for the last spot but was beaten to it by Eiluj (not her real name). One by one, our instructor/guide/tormentor dragged us into the tube and expertly kept us from getting killed. (Actually, the most danger is in you deciding that it's better to smash your face against the wall rather than using your arms to push off it.)

Could I look any less happy to be here?
And then it was my turn. I leaned in, stuck out my arms, spread my legs, and was flying. Sort of. It really is a strange feeling to be effectively falling at terminal velocity and yet not have to worry about smacking into the ground. My whole focus was on not doing anything wrong and ending up in a ball on the safety net (which is surprisingly easy to do - twitch an arm just right and you are either performing an advanced move or on your back on the net).

Once my 60 seconds was up I was guided to the exit door where I took my spot on the bench. I DID IT! I survived! My arms and neck were surprisingly tired, and I couldn't wait to get those goggles off, but I was done!

The last person finished and I was ready for the instructor/guide/tormentor to do his fun bit and then it would all be shut down and we could exit the tube.

But then he grabbed the first person and dragged her back into the tube. "OK; she's the boss so she's just getting a bonus flight" I told myself. But then the next person went in too. And worse, this second time the instructor/guide/tormentor would grab you, spin you, and fly you up high in the tube.

I managed to get through that bit (the spinning high thing was not that bad - the scenery changes but you hardly feel anything different), and was thrilled when he started to aim me towards the exit. But I was a bit too anxious and grabbed too early and before I knew it was on my back, about one foot from my salvation. Heavy sigh.

And that was it. Thankfully there was no third turn, so the instructor/guide/tormentor did his thing (it's amazing what they can do in this tube) and we were done.

• Was this fun? For me, it was interesting but "fun" doesn't come to mind. For most others, it definitely was fun.

• Would I do it again? HA! No. Again, most others would have gladly taken a third turn.

• Is it safe? Yes, mostly. If you panic, you could possibly smack a shoulder or your head into a wall and hurt it, but realistically, it is very safe. (Having said that, my neck is mildly sore, but that might have been from my graceful exit on that second turn.)

Afterwards, I had an elk burger at Fuddruckers and headed back to work.

And yes, our team is built better now.

That's it - move along…


DAK said...

You guys definitely have more fun at work than the rest of the world does.

Anonymous said...

Hi Not THAT,

Fun post, and Yea! that was a lot of fun. I lobbied for the team to jump out of an airplane, but was quickly out voted.

Thanks for sharing

mary ann said...

Hmmmmmm, this doesn't appeal to me either. Isn't that what sick days are for? But good for you!

Beth said...

That looks like so much fun, and your cheeks aren't even doing that flappy wind thing that cheeks tend to do in glass tubes filled w/wind!
B did go karts w/his team...but this looks like much more fun!!