another year

Today I turned 29.
I would have to say that it was the best birthday I can remember having - mostly because I drove around with the windows down and wore a short sleeved t-shirt all day :)

I guess I'll back up a bit. I've been very busy lately, and it's been good. I was working a lot, and more recently making presents for everyone (CDs will be in the mail this week), as well as spending a lot of time with my friends. I was starting to get a bit sad this week because I am away from my family during the holidays - and I was missing James a bit. It's the first birthday I've been single for since 2001.
Fortunately, I have amazing friends (like I've mentioned before) and we had a couple great nights planned. Friday night Christina, Aimee, Amanda and I went to Outback for my traditional birthday meal of steak. The 3 of them were in top form and had me laughing so hard I thought I was going to pee on myself. The waitress brought me the free ice cream and they sang "Happy Birthday" to me. She didn't believe I was 29. She said she thought maybe 19 or 20. Awesome. Apparently I'm the only one that looks younger the older I get.

Last night a bunch of us went to Gameworks in Ybor City to play arcade games. I don't really care for the regular video games - I prefer the old school stuff. I spent nearly 2 hours playing skeeball and pinball. I played a round of DDR with Jen, and a round with Josef. We then went to a place that serves "Alaskan" tacos. An Alaskan taco is a taco that is deep-fried with all the ingredients in it. They had gator tacos, and since this year has been all about trying things I've never tried before, I got a gator taco. Surprisingly, I liked the gator taco better than the beef taco. I couldn't even eat half the beef taco - I gave it to Christina (it wasn't ground beef - it was like a slab of hamburger cooked in a shell). Gross.

Before Gameworks, a boy took me out to my favorite restaurant for Thai food. It was super sweet, and I had a great time. More will be revealed on this subject...

The best gift I got was from Melanie. She bought me 2 baby rats and the cage and all their stuff. I was so excited! Melanie hates rats, but she loves me enough to get me something she can't stand just because they make me happy. awwww!! (check out the ratties on my shoulder in the pic)

What I really wanted, however, was to go skydiving today. I have always wanted to do it, and this is the first time in my life I was in a place where it was possible to do it in the middle of December. I asked everyone I knew in Tampa if they wanted to join me. A few people said they were interested, but not financially able to join me. Amanda was the only person willing (with my persuasion) to jump out of a plane with me. We drove out to Zephyrhills, Sky Dive City at 3pm. There were a few clouds, but consistent loads taking off every 15 minutes. Something held our instructors up, and we sat and waited a very long time to be suited up and strapped into our harnesses. We finally boarded the tiny plane with about 20 other jumpers (you're crammed in side by side, straddling two long padded benches). I was watching the altimeter climb slowly as we rose above the clouds. Looking out the window, I started thinking about the past year. We came through the layer of thick white and the sun was starting to go down, which gave the clouds a very surreal textured glow about them. I started to tear up at the beauty of it, and how it was a complete miracle that I was even sitting on that plane. I looked over at Amanda, who was in such an intense state of shock I'm not sure she even realized she was on a plane anymore. I was so relaxed and peaceful, and couldn't wait to get out and be a part of the clouds when my ears went funny. I looked down at the altimeter and we had just reached 9000' but we were falling. The other jumpers were putting their helmets on and I was totally confused. The guy I was supposed to tandem with leaned forward and said the cloud cover was too thick and the pilot decided to land. I thought he was joking, but then realized the altimeter was falling twice as fast as we climbed. No good. Just under the clouds, at 5000' the licensed jumpers flew out the door one by one. There were 5 trainees, Amanda and I, and the 2 instructors left. They closed the airplane door and buckled themselves back in. We really were landing.
The plane touched down and my physical reaction was immediate. I was going to cry, and it was going to be a thorough cry. The guys were saying that we could wait around for the last 30 minutes of daylight to see if the clouds cleared up, but it was unlikely. I was like "Happy fucking birthday to me," and then started to cry. I couldn't stop myself. I kept trying to breathe it down, and look up - all the tricks I know to keep myself from crying, but I just couldn't hold it back. The one instructor kept trying to give me a hug and tell me that I could just get a rain check and come back any time, but it wasn't helping. He offered to buy me a drink ("it's nothing a few margaritas can't fix" - oh little does he know!)... They called it for sure - weather stopped the last load from taking off. We got unstrapped and out of the ill-fitting jumpsuits and slumped back to the car. As soon as I shut the door I told Amanda I was just going to let it out - since the tears were forcing their way past my eyes like some monster trying to escape its cage. And I did. I couldn't understand why I was so utterly crushed. I mean, it has been a life goal of mine - but I will get another chance. I sent a message to a few friends saying I couldn't stop crying and Christina had a good insight - I had all sorts of pent up anticipation and adrenaline, and my body was just releasing it. So true. When I was done crying, I felt much better. I even laughed my ass off at Amanda and how scared she had been (I have been telling her for 5 days that all she has to do is get on the plane and it will be okay - and she did get on the plane; she just didn't have to jump out of it). Even though I was sad, the thought kept running through my head that "there is always a reason" for things not working out the way I want them to. Who knows what could have happened.

The disappointment gave way to a great meal at Five Guys with Jen, Christina and Amanda - followed by a trip to Cold Stone Creamery. By the way, Christina got me the Vampire Book (a complete encyclopedia of vampire myths and lore!). Amanda and I came home and played with the new babies and Aimee stopped by to drop off her gift to me: a t-shirt with lions on it!

I just started to write my conclusion for this blog with a list of my favorite moments for the year, when I realized I really want to relive and cherish those memories - so I'm postponing the conclusion. I may do the list later tonight; I may post it tomorrow. Either way, I am not quite finished, but not quite ready to finish my 28th year. Until that post...

1 comment:

Trina said...

Vega, that picture of you being disappointed about not getting to jump just breaks my heart. I want to jump out of a plane so badly. If I am ever in Tampa, and you are there, and regardless of whether either or both of us has managed to do it before, we are going to jump out of a plane together. Deal? At Burning Man this year, we had a neighbor who was there just so she could skydive, and she showed us a video of her jumping from above Black Rock City. We talked for a while and I got to ask her all kinds of questions. I am more determined now than ever. It looks and sounds like an amazing experience. I hope you get to jump soon!