Friday, May 6, 2011
7 Quick Takes Friday: Climbing Edition
1) Today (Thursday), I went to the climbing gym. I have a rock climbing class next week, and an acquaintance very kindly offered to teach me some things. I took her up on it. It's true that I'll learn it all next week, but I have a feeling that all at once will be overwhelming, and I thought it might be easier to take her up on her offer.
2) So, this is my first time ever climbing with ropes and harnesses and stuff. Yet the thing that almost kept me home had nothing to do with the climbing part. No, it was the part about doing something new with people I don't really know. (Those of you who are lucky enough to be extroverts- this probably makes no sense to you, and I can't explain it. Fellow introverts, can I get an amen?) Two scenarios usually come about. 1- I get really quiet. 2- Verbal diarrhea. Unfortunately, with the nerves, it was the second option. As I left, I marveled over the fact that technically my mouth is under my own control, so why didn't I stop it?? One of the great mysteries of life, I guess.
3) I had so very many opportunities to turn around. First, I almost backed out by not driving down there. Then I couldn't find parking. Finally when I got there and got signed in, it was almost the final straw. Let me just say, when you get a day pass and have to rent all the equipment... Holy expensive!! I really don't need another hobby to spend money on. I have enough of those already.
4) That being said, though my introvert anxieties kept me distracted for a while, the more we talked and the closer I got to actually having to climb, the more nervous I got about the climbing part. I stood there looking at the top of the wall so very far away and tried to think of more questions that would keep my feet on the ground without me actually having to chicken out. Finally, though...
5) I did it! The very first one was easy with really easy hand holds, mostly like climbing a ladder. The worst part is looking way down and telling my partner that I was ready to lower, and she yells back up that I have to let go of the wall first. Umm, do I have to? So I let go of the wall, but I'm clinging to the rope, and then she tells me that I have to let go of that as well. Dang it! She said I did really well and looked really relaxed. Did I? Well, that's nice. Now if someone had only informed my mouth that I was relaxed; I don't think I've had that dry of a mouth in a really long time! It was like someone had sucked all the saliva out. Speaking was a bit of a challenge at that point (unfortunately, I got over that later. Why, oh why, couldn't the dry mouth have come at a better time to save me from myself?)
6) I also learned how to belay. (That's where I hold the rope while someone else climbs. Someone's life is literally in my hands, and I think it was nearly as scary as being on the wall myself.) The first time, my friend had someone else come over and watch me while she climbed (you know, to make sure I didn't drop her). The person that watched me didn't say much, but when he left, he said it looked good, and that he'd climb on that belay. My friend said later that's a huge compliment coming from that particular person.
7) My favorite part was learning how to tie one of the knots. My friend was trying to show me, but she was having a hard time teaching me. So she has someone else come over. He tells me to make a loop with the rope. He says to picture someone I don't like and imagine the loop is their head. Then I'm to wrap the rope around their neck and poke them in the eye with the end of the rope. Bloodthirsty, but effective! After that, I got it right away. No, I don't actually hate anyone enough to picture them while I do it, but the overall mental picture made it super easy to get the knot.
All in all, the whole thing still scares me a bit, but I find that I already want to try again (in theory, anyway... staring up at the climb right before you do it is not as fun). Anyway, head over to Jen's for more Quick Takes, and have a great weekend!