Most drop zones have some sort of border line. A fence line, a wood line, a property line, a power line, a body of water, downtown, a road, a mountain, a valley, a Farmer McNasty or any combination of these.
For general purposes let’s just say all drop zone border lines are surrounded by fences. Z-Hills is a perfect example: The whole airport is surrounded by a cyclone fence and is topped off in some areas with yellow plastic which makes it more visible. The Fence passes through swamps and bogs. It parallels a road and borders the outskirts of the city. After spending some winters there, as well as at any DZ I have spent a good amount of time, I found the meaning of The Fence. The Fence is also what I call the “Sanity Line:” Everything inside The Fence on the DZ is sane. You can be inside The Fence and actually be yourself. If someone ran naked through the packing area we would all cheer and laugh. Some might even join in. Do that outside the Sanity Line and you go to jail—or worse, the nut house.
The drop zone offers us sanity. Our collective insanity becomes sane because we all recognize why we are doing this and accepting the risks along the way. Birds of a feather that we are, we are very much individuals in this sport where we can joyfully express and be ourselves in the air and on the ground.
And when I stand in the dark on a building ready to BASE jump, I look across the vast city and I see a million lights. Each one of those lights represents an idiot. A robot. He wakes up, slams some caffeine, sits in morning rush hour traffic going to a job he hates. Slugs along on the return home in smoggy polluted traffic to sit down to a frozen dinner. Might have a beer, watch the poison on TV, go to sleep and get up the next day and repeat. This guy is not living. Merely existing. This robotic way of existence is the definition of insanity.
Now, I ride my mountain bike around some parts just outside the fence surrounding the DZ. Through the bogs and swamps, there is not any change in staying sane. I can still be Me. But as I continue to hug The Fence from the outside, the closer I come to civilization, the more insane I become. Now I must conform to society and its rules. I can no longer be Me. I am forced to play the game.
The farther away from the Sanity Line, the more insane it gets—until you come to the next fence surrounding a drop zone where you can scurry inside where it’s once again sane. So that’s why I have spent most of my life living inside The Fence, or just a tolerable amount just outside of the Sanity Line.
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