I’m home alone on a Sunday afternoon. Well, not exactly. My son is in the basement playing videogames, so I’m essentially alone. My husband is throwing himself off a hill with a paraglider on his back. Not that I have a problem with that. It’s fine by me. Really. Sort of. I’m getting there.
He needed a hobby. He runs, reads and does woodwork, but he’s been buried in work for so long, he’s forgotten how to relax. When he said he needed something different to do, something that would really create a break between work and home, I thought it was a great idea. I figured he’d take up golf or learn about fine wine like his friends. In my best daydreams, he’d take up cooking, or weed the jungle we call our backyard.
When he settled on paragliding, my instinctive reaction was to suggest he take up standing on the expressway–it’s less expensive. It’s okay, he told me. People hardly ever die doing this. He’d have a parachute on his back, not a wing, and he’d go through training first. His prospective teacher said that if you do it right, you can paraglide for a lifetime. This did not make me feel better.
I told him that I’d have to get used to the idea, and took the next logical step. I complained to my friends.
I was sure they’d see the folly in a much-needed father and husband doing something so dangerous because he is bored. They slapped me upside the head. I have good friends. They are willing to tell me when I’m being an idiot.
When it comes right down to it, this isn’t so different from what I’m doing. He loves the feeling of flight, the sense of control, the focus and concentration required. It’s a moment where he is fully engaged, alive, consumed by what he is doing. And it’s fun. I feel the same way about writing.
I quit my job without really consulting him. We’d discussed a leave of absence at some future date, but nothing was settled. When I finally went hurtling over my breaking point it was something like “Honey, can you get some milk on the way home, and oh by the way, I quit today.” I threw myself off the hill and I had nothing to break my fall, and he was there to catch me.
He’s been nothing but supportive of me, even while I spent a few years picking crabgrass and baking cookies. Now that I’m writing, he’s my best editor. He’s read my novel twice through, providing insightful commentary. Women’s fiction isn’t his genre. It was truly an act of love.
So I’m making my peace with the paragliding. He got a helmet camera so he can film his flights. I’ve watched them. It’s pretty cool, although I’ve told him that if he films himself breaking something I reserve the right to show it at dinner parties. I have to get something out of the deal. If I was totally nice about the whole thing, he wouldn’t know it was really me.
Words by J. B. Everett