An old friend returns

  • Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Hello batophobia.
It’s been awhile, has it not? A couple years since we last enjoyed the other’s acquaintance. I believe I was standing on a narrow, grated catwalk some 450 feet off the ground, the only thing separating me from doing a Peter Pan off the Cross Generating Station tower was an iron bar painted yellow with a yellow sign dangling off it saying CAUTION.
It was a good thing we were wearing earplugs, that way nobody could hear me scream.
But that was then. This is now.
It’s been two years since my feet have left terra firma.
I don’t like heights. I suffer from batophobia, the fear of heights, or tall things.
Anything height related bothers me – tall things, deep things (just heights in reverse), tall things in the distance, giants (that’s called Fee-Fi-phobia).† The list is endless.
My fear of heights is well documented.
Medical journals call batophobia an intense, persistent, irrational and unwarranted fear of heights or being close to high buildings. I take great umbrage with this definition. There is nothing intense, irrational or unwarranted about my fear of heights.
Still, at my age I feel it’s time to confront my fear head on, to scoff at the tiny voice in the back of my mind screaming bloody murder whenever it sees a tall thing or I am up high in the sky.
It’s time – while there is nothing wrong with being more than a little cautious about heights – to no longer be afraid.
So I agreed to go up in a helicopter.
I will take a real, live helicopter ride from Moncks Corner to downtown Charleston. If I’m lucky I’ll get to go this week. Or maybe next week. Or next month.
There’s no rush.
Nothing is set in stone yet as apparently riding in a helicopter is a little more involved than strapping into the seat and donning the Top Gun shades, which reminds me I have to purchase a pair for my ride.
There is some paperwork to complete first. And a waiver to sign. We’ll get to the waiver in a minute.
The first question I was asked, “How much do you weigh?”
Apparently there is a limit.
I remember wanting to bungie jump once – not bungie jump as in jump off a bridge with nothing keeping me from smacking the ground than a pair of cheap luggage cables – but this bungie contraption they had hooked up to the cruise ship.
They harnessed you in and then “SNAP!” they send you up into the sky. Once again, the only thing keeping me from going into low altitude earth orbit were cheap luggage cables.
They also asked me how much I weighed, and apparently I weighed too much.
This is one of those good things to know before I ride in a helicopter.† I’m a big guy.
I don’t want to be 500 feet off the ground and the red warning light comes on and the pilot looks at the co-pilot and says, “We’re too heavy, we’re going to crash!”
And the co-pilot looks at me and says, “Throw the fat guy out!”
I don’t want that.
I do want one thing, though.
I have something to ask of you before I go climb onboard a helicopter. Please. Talk me out of it.

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