I feel as though I’ve been run over by a truck and then strung out on one those medieval torture racks, like the one at the end of Braveheart that they hook Mel Gibson up to before chopping his head off. Why? Well pursuant to yesterday’s comments I decided to stop being such a L-O-S-E-R and go rock climbing.
Spiderman I was not.
Nor was my date.
But we bonded over our mutual “E for effort” conduct and the knowledge that neither of us will be scaling Everest anytime soon.
We didn’t even get to actual climbing (which would have required all sorts of gear rental and a training session to enable us to belay one another) but stuck with bouldering. For those of you unfamiliar with rock gym terminology (as I was until yesterday), bouldering is where you “practice” climb without a harness. The walls are shorter (see above) so even if you fall, there’s very little chance of incurring serious bodily injury.
Nonetheless, bouldering can be pretty scary and getting to the top is only half the battle. Because you’re not wearing a harness, you have to either climb down or jump.
Now the good people of Philadelphia Rock Gym provide a sprung floor and huge foam pads for this very purpose but the bouldering walls feel a lot higher when you’re stuck at the top, clinging to a rock for dear life and wondering, “How the hell am I going to get down from here?”
“Just jump!” my date urged.
“You’ll be fine.”
“No! I’m too high!” Obviously he couldn’t tell just how high I was from where he was standing.
Finally one of the instructors pulled an extra mat over from the belay training area and assured me I was fine to jump.
“I think I’ll just stay up for a while,” I laughed nervously. Whenever I do anything even vaguely extreme (such as bouldering), the knowledge that I literally cannot afford to twist my ankle looms in the back of my mind.
“Seriously,” the instructor repeated, “Just jump away from the wall and you’ll be fine.”
With one final word of encouragement from my date, I jumped.
And lo and behold I was fine.
And when I stood up from the mat to survey the wall I’d just conquered I was surprised to discover I’d been only about 15 feet in the air the whole time. Fifteen feet! (And that’s a rather generous estimate.)
“It feels a lot higher when you’re up there.” My date assured me. And being that he’s afraid of heights to begin with, he would know.
All in all, it was a rather enjoyable experience. We laughed a lot, fell off the wall a lot and climbed completely improperly for the better part of two hours (I tried to follow your advice about using my legs instead of my arms, Jennifer Avventura, but judging by the way my upper extremeties are feeling right now, I didn’t exactly succeed). Two hours later, we decided to grab a bite to eat.
(Did I mention, by the way, that My 50th Date is such a fitness fanatic that he has to count calories to make sure he’s eating enough? This is a totally foreign concept to me.)
After gorging ourselves on guacamole and chips and some rather excellent Mexican food, we drive back to his apartment where I’d left my car.
“Do you have to leave right away?” he asks.
I glance at my phone and even though I’d intended to hit the road long before, I shake my head.
“Then would you like to come in?”
Without further ado, I slip my phone back into my purse and say, “Yes.”