Blogs in this series

Life in Culebrón is a disconnected series of pieces about the banal and ordinary of everyday life in an inland Alicante village seen from my very British perspective.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Impossible is nothing - Just do it

I realised this morning that I don't own any sports clothes. No Lycra (with my gut?), no trackies or even trainers. I do probably have some trainers and maybe some mountain man trousers somewhere but I haven't worn them for a while. This morning I was wearing boots, jeans and a jumper. I was the only person who didn't have lots of brand names as part of their clothing.

I'd signed up to do a bungee jump. Don't fret, I didn't actually do it. The event was advertised as puenting and, when I got there, I decided that what we were down to do was technically a pendulum jump rather than a bungee jump. The difference, I think, and don't quote me, is that on a bungee the elastic rope is fastened on the same side of the bridge as you jump from. The elastic stretches until it stops you and then catapults you back upwards. With a pendulum jump the cord is tied to the other side of the bridge from the side where you jump so there is a movement downwards but also laterally back underneath the bridge. When I was checking what damage jumping can do to a body as old as mine it was the bungee that offered possible eye and back damage.

Now I've never been much of a sports person. I don't like watching sport and I didn't like doing it. I've never been tempted to run, go to the gym, cycle, swim or hill-walk without reason or coercion. At school I was forced to do all sorts of dreadful, traditional, sporting things and later, when I was young and foolish, I tried some things I thought might be a bit more interesting - canoeing, sailing, pot holing, climbing and parachuting for instance. But I decided that I couldn't see the fun in going backwards on your elbows in a narrow tunnel as a farting someone kicked you in the face, trying to get back into the cockpit from being encased in the prow of an upturned boat as it bounced against WWII concrete defences or having your shoulders half wrenched out of their sockets. I chose other drier, ground-based and less malodorous hobbies.

For some reason though I've wondered off and on about doing a bungee jump. So when the local town hall put it on as part of their week of sporty activities I signed up. The person I gave my 30€ to (one jump 20€ two jumps 30€) didn't have any details. No information about anything. No little fact sheet - remember to wear sensible shoes and take a packed lunch - no safety guidance - don't do this if you weigh under 40kg or if you have a heart condition. Nothing. Well I did know where to go to catch the bus and the area we were going to - the Fuensanta reservoir near Yeste which turned out to be basically correct and specifically from la Vicaría bridge. I nearly cried off several times before today but I didn't have a contact number or an email address or anything. So I got up for the 7.30 start this morning probably to tell them I wasn't going to jump. Apparently 20 people had signed up but 11 had cried off (they must have just phoned the town hall I suppose) so we were reduced to a select band of young people and me who fittted nicely into the town hall minibus and a private car. I said to the organiser, right from the start, that I was too old and too scared to jump - not necessarily in that order The day looked hopeful though with sun drinking up the morning mist. I thought I could take some snaps so I decided to go to the bridge at least. The snaps are all blurred and badly framed.

The location was lovely. Albacete province looked splendid. I think I'd expected some sort of jumping centre but there was just the bridge. I looked over the side of the bridge and said that it was definite. There was no way I was going to purposefully throw myself into the void. To be honest when they started to jump it didn't look particularly strenuous. The only bit that looked hard was finding the courage to get onto the wrong side of the bridge fence and leap. Some people didn't do as they were told and didn't push off hard enough from the side but the only consequence seemed to be that the chief of the four person team intoned something like "¡hostias!" or "¡uff, los huevos!" as the cord tautened up. The jumpers might go "uff" too but they still got the ride and everyone walked back up the hill grinning. I vaguely wondered about doing it - I was there, I'd paid, I was pretty sure I'd survive even if I were to be one of the "uffers". It was a very vague thought though. My main reason for not doing it was that I lacked the courage to climb that fence, I'm not trying to pretend anything else but nearly as important was that I didn't really want to in just the same way as I have never wanted to do a Fun Run despite the obvious enjoyment that so many people get from it.

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