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  • Writer's pictureLizzy Shannon

Parasailing: the real Prozac

Updated: Jun 19, 2019

It took me two days of rest to recover from the trip east to Miami. But what a place! A spa set in a golf resort just outside Miami. It was a beautiful, peaceful place to be. (If you ignore the loud pool parties and weddings in the evenings, that is!) But they didn't last very long and didn't bother me at all.

The first time I attempted to swim, my body was reluctant to cooperate. So I made it climb a lot of stone stairs to the huge water slide and zoomed down that. Splashdown into the pool at the bottom and my body had woken up, all right. I was so happy to be able to swim a few lengths. Last year my knee had become so swollen it had been difficult to make it work properly. No problem now! So on June 1st (always the first day of a month for things like this!) I'm signing up at the YMCA so I can attend their water aerobics classes.

So, how many of you are singing "YMCA" now? ;-)

The weather was definitely iffy in Florida with many thunderstorms and sudden rain showers. I'd booked a parasailing session for Monday afternoon, hoping I'd be up to it by then. That was the day the group had arranged a bus to take us to a hotel on Miami Beach where they'd booked a poolside cabana for the morning. I called Parasailing Miami Beach to inquire about the weather. The guy told me to come in early if I could, as storms were predicted for the afternoon. I had written down the address and showed it to the bus driver, hoping he'd know where it was. Colleen, who had arranged the trip, overheard, and she had the bus driver actually divert from their route to the cabana hotel and drop me off outside the one I needed to go through to reach Parasailing Miami Beach. As I got off the bus, the women all called encouragement to me and my heart warmed at the kindness of people I hardly knew.

The bus huffed its exhaust as it pulled away from the curb, and I waved as traffic swallowed it up. With trepidation I made my way to the beach and easily spotted Parasailing Miami Beach; the only red umbrellas on the beach! Signing the paper that stated I had no injuries or recent surgeries, even though the angry red scar was quite visible on my knee, and I also bought a t-shirt and their photo package. I was just in time to be taken up immediately. I donned one of their lifejackets and followed the other two couples who were heading to the zodiac bobbing at the shore. My leg gave me no trouble, and I was happy to clamber up, perch on the edge like the others, holding onto a rope so we didn't fall off. The little boat surged through the waves toward the white parasailing motorboat waiting further out. I let the others climb off the zodiac first, and then I took my time. But again, I had no trouble at all. My knee is truly as good as new!

The captain went through his safety schpeil (sp) and the first couple went up. I used my little Flipcamera to film them, the boat and crew, and the surrounding scenery. Miami Beach from the water is astounding. Building your house on sand, indeed. And so many buildings, so tall! And then out to sea... to infinity it seemed, as water met sky and you could scarcely tell exactly where, it was so hazy.

Finally it was my turn to go up. Already harnessed, one of the crew clipped me onto the parachute and the boat sped up. The wind caught the parachute and my heart surged with joy as I was lifted off my feet. I rose rapidly as the boat unreeled my line until I was at a glorious 600 feet. I wanted to whip out a knife and cut that line, but if I did I'd be in a lot of trouble and maybe barred from parasailing again! So I waved at the crewman who had the camera pointed at me for the photo package, and whipped out my Flipcamera instead.

Oh, the peace of being divorced from the earth for those 20 minutes! All you can hear is the wind and the occasional seagull. And apparently me humming! Songs come to mind when I'm up there. This time it was Procul Harum's "Whiter Shade of Pale".

When I'm up there, I find I can put life in perspective. If I have a problem that needs working out, the answer is very apparent up there. That's when I knew I had to withdraw from social events, which were taking all the energy I had left, just to get ready to go out to them. Also doing favors for friends. Editing takes energy. I don't have any to give, and although I *loved* doing it and felt honored to be asked, each time I edited someone's work, I was using the very last of my energy to the point of drawing on adrenaline to finish the job. Have to stop doing that until I'm better. Have to stop making plans and letting people down when I can't follow through. Feeling guilty just kills me! And I feel so guilty when I let loved ones down. Have to just concentrate on getting better. *Then* the plans can be made.

Answers to problems clear, I totally relaxed, let my head tip back, basked in that sapphire sky and.... flew. Joy, joy, joy! Almost weightless, sun warming my 85 SPF proofed body, and my soul. I filmed here and there. The aquamarine water far beneath my painted toes, and Miami Beach reaching into the horizon. Eventually I felt the tug of the rope and knew they were beginning to reel me back in. Slowly I descended until I gently touched down on the back of the boat. The crewman unclipped me, I hastened out of the way so they could haul in the parachute and fold it up. Content, I sat in the sun, so very happy I had been able to go up.

When I got back on shore, bold as brass, I went into the nearest hotel and changed into shorts and t-shirt in their public restrooms, found my way to the lobby and had the valet call me a taxi. Once in the the cab I gave the driver the name of the hotel where the cabana was, and he drove away, simultaneously entering the hotel into his GPS.

"It's on the next block!" he said incredulously.

I blushed. "Oops. How embarrassing."

"Hardly worth my time. Only a few dollar trip."

"I'll give you a good tip," I said, laughing. "Sorry, I didn't know."

In seconds we were there with $3.60 on the meter. I handed the driver $10 and told him to keep the change.

"Wow," was all he could say.

I got out and went into the hotel, found my way to the pool, and was greeted by the women, smiling and waving. You'd have thought I was a conquering hero coming home. They were so sweet, asking all about the parasailing. I shared one of the videos and ordered a Mojito. I was just in time for lunch. We had a fabulous time.

It took me 2 days to recover from the parasailing, but it was worth it. And then it was time to come home. The trip back to the west coast was a lot easier on mind and body than going east. Of course, I didn't have a psycho passenger behind me, this time. American Airlines offered a fruit and cheese plate, with what I thought was a glass of wine. I ordered it, and when the flight attendant handed me half a bottle of wine, I tried to hide my grin. The movie they showed was "We Bought a Zoo!" I sipped Sauvigon Blanc and savored the selection of cheeses. I rather enjoyed the movie, even though I'm sure my alumni from screenwriting class would slam it. I'm a sucker for anything with animals in it. Particularly exotic big cats. :-)

The air was so fresh at Portland International when I stepped off the plane. I felt pretty self-conscious being wheeled in a chair to baggage claim. But grateful. When you have a recovering limb surgery and have low stamina, that chair makes all the difference in the world. American Airlines doesn't charge anything for it, either. The service is a courtesy. So I tipped about $10, which put a smile on my 'wheelers' faces.

So, I have put the 'getting well' plan into action. I've canceled out on all commitments except the Willamette Writers until August. That doesn't mean to say that friends can't come here and hang out with me at times. My friend, Jessica, came by on Saturday night to watch a movie and hang out. We were both too tired for the hottub, which she badly needs. She managed to break her coccyx whilst roller skating last week. She brought a CHOCOLATE gluten free cake that she'd baked herself! How wondrous!

I'm glad she came. It's going to be a bit lonely if I don't see friends from time to time during this time of recovery. I miss people already, but this is the way it's got to be for a few weeks. I'm also looking at moving to a smaller house in the area. Although I feel the pull to move on, I won't. This is the longest I've stayed in one place and I have great friends here. When I lived in London I moved something like 7 times in 3 years. It was easier when all my belongings fitted into a couple of suitcases and big bin bags.

Where would I go if I had a choice, I wonder? Alaska, with the draw of the wild? California with its promise of eternal sunshine? Florida, where I could apply for a job with the Kennedy Space Center? Perhaps when I'm better I should do a mini walkabout. Squash that wanderlust. A friend from WAY back in Northern Ireland has invited me to visit him in Australia. That should be my first destination when I'm well. A goal. I'll have to tell you all about 'way back when' sometime. But that's a story for another day.


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