Worth the time

Wednesday evening I showed up at the climbing gym, eager to get started after taking the previous week off. Climbsalot greeted me with a gleeful I know which route you’re climbing today. We trekked over to one of the “silos” and I eyed the route suspiciously. That looks… a little rough I said. Nah, it’s fun, it’s a blue he replied (green routes are the easiest, blues are intermediate, black routes are expert stuff. Of course, this is all relative to your skill, fatigue level, sweat output, missing handholds, etc. We’ve been exclusively climbing the intermediate routes for a few weeks now. "Intermediate" also means "wow-this-is-challenging-but-i-ain’t-goin’-back-to-the-beginner-stuff-dammit.")

Climbsalot went first, and after much huffing and puffing and grunting and swearing (all his), I called up to him That doesn’t sound like "fun." He ignored me. Eventually (and inevitably) he conquered the route, I lowered him down, then spent some time squinting up the wall at the handholds. My turn. More huffing and puffing and grunting and swearing (all mine this time, natch). I may have done the splits a couple of times, bracing myself against the adjacent walls. And slipped once or twice. And scrabbled a little. Not the best-looking climb, but when I finally reached the top I looked down (holy hell was I up there) and thought damn, that WAS fun. Once Climbsalot lowered me to the floor and I’d disgusted him with the rivers of sweat pouring off of me, he took me around the corner to show me the route rating. I’d just completed my first black. I grinned at him - but if I had any remaining strength I’d smack you.

After the Big Deceit, we had a few light climbs and some bouldering, then Climbsalot raised an eyebrow and said So, wanna go up to the roof? We ducked under and around a false wall and slipped through a mini-doorway into a dark space (you're not claustrophobic, are you?) where he pointed to the metal rungs bolted into the wall, laddering all the way up what used to be an elevator shaft. Climbsalot jumped up to the first rung of the ladder and started the ascent; I quietly followed, concentrating on deliberately grasping each rung, noting the occasional clink of our carabiners swinging against the wall behind us. Every now and then Climbsalot would drop some information down the shaft at me: The elevator is about mid-way up, watch your head! Look how the elevator rail is actually made of wood- crazy, huh? There’s a bent rung right here, be careful. Halfway up the elevator shaft it struck me: I'm climbing all the way up a fucking elevator shaft in the semi-dark, to stand on the top of this building for a while. For no good reason whatsoever. Sometimes life is pretty awesome.

Out on the roof of the building, Climbsalot kicked some debris out of my path, pointed out some landmarks, and then we fell into an easy, sporadic conversation. The wind threatened to blow us off the top of the silo a few times so we agreed it was not the day to walk around the edge to the other side. We talked about watching fireworks from this vantage point, my career change uncertainty, and partying long enough to catch the sunrise.

After we made our descent and removed our gear, Climbsalot suggested we grab some dinner. Over spur-of-the-moment gyro plates and what was quite possibly the smoothest hummus ever, we discussed trips to Europe, apartment hunting, how much we like climbing together, and relationships. He dropped me off in the parking lot of the climbing gym tired, full, and exhilarated. We agreed it would be tough to miss next week’s climbing session but that he’d call when he got back to town- maybe next time we’d tackle another black route.

Later that night, after describing the evening to Biff, she exclaimed "Okay, you just had, like, the best. date. ever!" I laughed: "I know! If you ignore the fact that I’m happily married and that he’s getting hitched this weekend, it would've been freakin’ magical. Like one of Hollywood’s great Movie Moments."

But then I thought of the magic involved in forging a friendship, unleashing your inner badass, having a little adventure, sharing a fantastic meal, and going home to tell the coolest spouse in the world all about it, knowing he'll share your enthusiasm 100% (and agree that it was probably the best. date. ever). Forget the Hollywood spin, I like this movie.

Sometimes life is pretty awesome.

3 comment:

Blogger Lisa said...

Yeay YOU. You badass. How cool.

Just reading your post about the heights makes my palms sweat. (Guess I'd suck at climbing, yes?)

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Huzzard said...

Considering you're doin' the climbing, you're cooler than me. But that's just because I can't ride a bike.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Beckalicious said...

You rock.

Rock. Climb.

Get it?


But, seriously. Awesome.

6:50 PM  

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