• Rainey Knudson

Cat on a Toilet Seat (315 words)



Years ago, my friend Edward gave me a tandem skydiving session as a gift.


In tandem skydiving, you’re attached to an experienced skydiver who is responsible for the parachute. It involves a lot less training than solo skydiving.


My tandem guy and I wore jumpsuits that snugly connected at the shoulders and hips, with me in front. The plane was a twin-engine Otter, big enough that I could almost stand inside. However the guy was shorter than I am, so I had to crouch, pulled backward at my shoulders where we were clipped together. When it was time for our jump at 13,000 feet, we shuffled together awkwardly towards the door at the back of the plane.


I had been instructed to roll forward out the door like I was doing a somersault. Just curl and roll.


But when it came to it – when we were at the open door with the roar of wind and the brilliant sunny sky and the distant horizon well beneath us, I gripped the door on both sides, reluctant to do my somersault into the void.


“LET GO!” I heard my tandem guy scream over the noise.


I did, and the next 13 seconds of freefall were some of the most vivid and exhilarating of my life. And the 4 minutes of quiet, peaceful parachute fall after that were exquisite.


When we landed, my tandem guy humorously commented that I had pulled a “cat on a toilet seat” when I held onto the door of the plane. He pantomimed it, his hands held up like claws on both sides.


I love the expression and I use it often.


I think we’re in a cat on a toilet seat moment in history right now. Maybe we always are.


Also: It’s a dangerous and arguably stupid thing to do, but I highly recommend skydiving. You will know that you are alive.

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