Monday, September 27, 2010

Hazards at the DZ

On occasional Saturdays, I round up the children and head to the drop zone to watch my husband and his cohorts skydive. We spend most of our time outside under a canopy of sky, but when the summer heat is strong enough, the children and I seek the air conditioned comfort of the club at the hanger. The club is a cinderblock shack slapped on the back of a quonset hut that shelters the skydivers who are training or packing their rigs. The club is horribly unsanitary and smells like dirty feet, but skydivers seem content to wait their turns out draped across the tattered, dingy couches, and even sleep on the floor. It reminds me of a frat house.

I complained about the state of the lounge and bathroom to my husband, who explained nicely who looks after the place, that this situation was not likely to improve due to the drop-in-drop-out nature of members, and that there was no fund designated for the prevention of staph infections or any other germ that hints of death, decomposition, or general disease. He recommended the building next door-- a small and apparently sanitary management facility for a few small aircraft and a medvac unit. I will start making sure the little ones and I use that restroom instead of the one at the DZ.

This summer, I camped a night at the DZ with my younger step-daughter (she had jumped that day). We carefully brushed our teeth over the sink in the club bathroom, and I told her that peeing in the woods was a more sanitary option than using that icky toilet. I walked around with her the way I do my little ones, saying, “Dude. Gross. Don’t touch that. No, ew. Don’t touch that either.” I walked over bodies crashed out across the worn, scummy carpet, and guided us back out the hanger, across a field, and into our tent—our lovely, clean tent, despite the balmy humidity, the bugs, and the hole I burnt into the bottom of it (don’t ask).

I don’t care how much of a hot adrenaline jock magnet a drop zone is. There is nothing sexy or healthy about mineral and dirt build-up inside a shower, sink, and toilet, and sludge on the floor. Certain mysterious hairs left behind? Don’t even make me go there. Maybe it’s a mom thing. Maybe not. But don’t even get me started on the kitchen. Note to self: bring hand sanitizer, Lysol, and a hazmat suit.

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