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Felix Baumgartner


Felix Baumgartner

I talked with Hellen about Felix Baumgartner who had skydived 39 kilometers and became the first person to break the sound barrier outside of a vehicle. About how not too many people know that apparently he wasn’t too afraid to go to outer space alone and then jump to visit New Mexico through the atmosphere but was, on the other hand, terribly afraid of the special pressurized suit he was wearing and had to go through psychological treatment for panic attacks in order to prevent his Claustrophobia from canceling the entire mission. And from here, if you may, we can do a freefall to a little free association and get a lesson in perspective. Hitchcock’s “Vertigo”, the nonexistent version. Scottie is standing on the famous third step of his friend Midge’s little stepladder. His head is resting inside the open mouth of a giant Crocodile and his eyes are staring at the floor. Midge is holding a stopwatch. 2 minutes and 38 seconds. That’s it, she says, you can take your head out now. A viewer who lacks cinematic education who had just turned on his TV would probably think Scottie is a world champion in the realm of Crocodiles. A more knowledgable viewer, on the other hand, would be able to guess that climbing up to the third step and staring at the floor did not cost Scottie any less new white hairs than putting his head inside the lovely Crocodile’s mouth, and that in that respect Scottie is not any less of a hero in the realm of Vertigos than in the realm of reptiles. Is the third step on Midge’s little stepladder, therefore, higher or lower than the point in outerspace from which Felix Baumgartner jumped? And why did Felix Baumgartner tell the journalists that sometimes you have to go up high in order to understand how small we are when in fact he, the small one, did such a big thing in overcoming Claustrophobia while Earth, big old Earth, never had to combat any fears?

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