I am usually a planner. OK that’s total B.S. I am a planner when i need to be. It’s what responsible people do. So i make a list before going to Sam’s Club. I check out the movie times when i catch a flick with a friend. And i do get dressed in appropriate attire before heading off to work. I have also been known to get up and wear the same clothes as i went to bed in, meandering through stores and museums.
Also, I do like getting a wild hair and just going to do something about it. YEAH….., i enjoy that a lot. Now, the good part of this would be being spontaneous, care-free, and thinking on the fly. The bad part is, i’m scrambling for the next solution. Can’t really think about the end result, just going from step to step. And i’m fine with that when it comes to, say, an impromptu trip to Black Hawk for girls night out. Crab legs and the fine art of: gambling/boozing/people watching with faint distaste on their sneering face at the money going down the drain. What’s not fun about that? Depends on which group of ladies i have roped in. And which mood i’m in. Note to self, never cross the 2 breeds. Unless you get a wild hair. Then, it’s just fun to experiment. I like to watch all 3 breeds, actually. Not a drinker. or a harumpher. but i have done a bit of gambling. It’s just so dang addicting to win!!!!
CHURCH LADIES: Well, you can guess which category some fall into, complete with a *SNIFF* and a *HARUMPH*, completely ignoring the fact that they are in a Casino being part of the unstuffy side of Sears.
CO-WORKERS: Oh my. They would be the ones to seek out the sniffers and harumphers just to plunk down some change and put on the most obnoxiously obsessive and downtrodden face to give the churchladies a good show. And let the drinking under the table begin…….
Mostly when i go with friends, however, we just do the crab legs thing, and revel that no man we know or love can see the crab juice and butter running down our arms to the elbows, dripping off the table and onto our laps. We always order extra napkins, and then just dont use them. It’s part of being able to say, “i’m every woman.” We can be delicate, sensible, and responsible. And we can belch with the best of the menfolk. Mostly, Susie, i’m talking about you. Ok, and you, Debbie.
I go through the night, regardless of which group of ladies i am with, and think, “what’s next? how will this end? Lets get us all home safe and happy. Sometimes i can think an hour ahead, and sometimes i can’t think to the end of the …..(round,belch,game,sniff/harumph). We just improvise.
So i have, what i thought, was a good balance of adventure and responsibility……
What then, am i doing hanging by a rope across a river with just a helmet and harness letting me feel the illusion of safety? Getting some perma-grin, of course! I would not have gone, i don’t think, if i knew what all my first rock climbing adventure would entail. Or if i planned the trip and knew what terminology to use. Someone else planned and i just showed up. Actually, I was lucky i stopped and got the right shoes (thanks patient co-worker with insight to the newbie state of mind).
I got the treat of being a newbie and not knowing what i was in for. I showed up, they hooked me into a harness and then used words that i knew i should know, but had no clue as to the meaning. Carabeener. Top Rope. Trust. Stuff like that.
“Are you ok using a (insert rope line of life, technical term) to go over the river?” Sure, i’m thinking. What is that, like a rope bridge? i can walk it with the best of them. Uh, No. Silly me.
There’s no walking in this story!!! Whenever there could be walking as a form of transportation, just know these action words will be filling in for them tonight: hanging, jumping, hiking hard core, and pulling your arms out of their sockets because that is the better thing to do than plunging to your death…. Why would you walk when you could do all that????? I had no idea . I was a newbie, after all. Just lloved being in the open air and nature.
ok so back to climbing. We went over this river, right off the bat. Couldn’t get to the mountain any other way, silly, so of course we don’t wade through. We go over! It looked like this for me. i harnessed up and clipped on to a rope (3 ropes together, thankfully) over the river and pulled myself hand over hand to the other side. Such a piece of cake because i didn’t think about what it entailed….. until half way across and i’m hearing the water rushing underneath me, and my arms aren’t working anymore. But i just kept going hand over hand, pulling myself along. It was a rush! I put my thinker away and just pulled. I think i had a harder time getting my clip off the rope. Yeah, i’m that co-ordinated. 🙂
Then there was an insane climb for me that i realized i am way out of shape for, but it was great. No rattlesnakes bit my shoes or legs. No bears ate me on the way. I did almost get my eye poked out by a ferocious branch. I emptied my pepper spray at it, and survived.
When i looked up, all blotchy faced and puffing for my life, we were on the side of the mountain and watching a bunch of other climbers scaling the cliffs. We took a sheer granite face. What did i know? I just knew that we were going for “easy climbs”. I was really scared because , you know, not a lot of handholds, it was looking like to me. “So this is a newbie climb, huh? ok then….” And i just didn’t get into the details of it, again, otherwise i might have booked it back down the mountain. But Israel, the hubby of my co-worker, took top rope (is that what i’m trying to say? he scaled it first, did the rope secure things, then came down to let me on…) and just said, “it doesn’t look like there are handholds or footholds, but if you get stuck, just stand up and reach, and they will always be there.
So i did. I just believed. Put on my rented climbing shoes (which are magic, by the way. i can’t believe they can stick so well to the wall!!!!) did the chalk thing, and i was on my way. and it worked. i just found a way. Nothing to focus on but the next step. not the future, not how i was going to get down (i had no clue, really) not focused on the top. Just the next handhold/foothold.
mmmm ok, i did have one train of thought as i was on the wall. All the quick but amazingly accurate advice an old aquaintance gave me just kept playing in a loop through my mind. I kept my hips hugged to the rock, 3 points gripping it at all times, and trusting. Thank you, Jeremy. It didn’t register that my co-worker was snapping shots of me, but i do have photos. wahoo!
When i got about half way up, i slipped with my right foot. i just held on with the other foot and 2 hands till i could find a foothold, and it was there. It did not occur to me that i couldn’t find another hand hold. Instead, it was, “where is it? Chalk on my fingers, look, look, look, feel, feel, trust that my muscles are enough and go! I forgot that i had a rope on, i think. Or maybe, i just didn’t get the concept that a rope could hold me if i got tired. I just kept climbing and looking for the next crevice.
I remembered the rope eventually, though. I distinctly remember a handhold not being as set as i thought, and i felt like i was just going to fall. “well, that was fun, and now the pain will start when i get to the bottom…” or something dramatic like that. Lightbulb goes on as i realized that that big beautiful man that was belay-ing me didn’t let me die a painful death. I HAVE A ROPE!!! A lifeline. I get to keep going! Um, i got tired another 10 minutes later, and he just said, “lean back with you legs straight out. i’ve got you.” I think that was the hardest part of the whole day. The trust that i could take my hands off the rock and not fall. Nevertheless, he assisted me in just walking down the rock face.
Now this is very possibly an every weekend occurrence for rock climbing junkies, but when i got back on the ground, i woo-hoo’ed like i was actually the first one to scale that smooth face of rock. Like i had actually invented the sport myself. Like i had knitted the ropes and carved the clips myself. I felt like it. I felt empowered and a rush like any giving-birth-and-living-to-tell-about-it story in a women’s circle.
The thing is, I have taken steps in my life to move me forward. They have been risky, scary, and sometimes stupid. But it’s paying off. And that’s all nice, except that it hadn’t had anything to do with me physically putting myself in danger, owning the wall, and laughing while I was scared spitless. (i was scared spitless. i tried. it just came out as a whistle. And a bit of hootzbah. Pathetic.) Being physically pushed and owning my 100% was something i have missed a lot. And is totally worth being so sore that my toe muscles need a massage. I’m going to the rec center and doing the hot tub soak. (Hope i don’t get Foliculitis. Again.) And i will be downloading the pics to the computer because every time i see them i’ll get perma-grin again. I’m ready for next weekend.