18 April 2016


"You are fearless," my mountaineering instructor said, as I leaned back off the edge of a rock to do my final safety check.

"Everyone has fears," I said. "I feel funny in my stomach when I stand at the edge of heights." (Facing backward is apparently fine.)

"So do I," he said. "But it doesn't stop you."

One other student and I were so excited about rappelling the forty feet off the rock that we did it three times. Everyone else did it twice, but we were first, and then we were standing at the bottom looking up longingly as the others finished up, so they let us do it again.

"You are a pro," my instructor's fiancee said, down at the bottom, as I finished my rappel, leaned fully back like I was sitting in a chair. 

"It's so much fun!" I said.

I was trying to explain it to someone the other day: I can't do sports that require much in the way of hand-eye coordination, which rules out most team sports. But give me a sport that requires fearlessness and a willingness to work hard, and I'm in. (See martial arts. See also mountaineering.)

14 April 2016

defeated by the children, again

Scenes from a trampoline park:


J. went running off to try something. The trampoline lifeguard dashed after him. 

"I think he forgot about the no running," I said. 

"First I thought he was running because a kid got hurt," the TL said. "Then I remembered that you two didn't come with any kids."

"You're making quite an assumption there, thinking he's not a kid," I said. 

"I kind of got that," the TL said. 

(J. found this hilarious. I am saying nothing here that I have not already said to him.)


J. fell into the air pit while trying to walk along a challenge tunnel, one foot on each wall. 

He crawled across the pit and managed to hoist himself out. 

Across the pit, a kid fell into it and stood up, walking effortlessly on the air. 


I dropped into the air pit just to see how it felt. (Weird.) 

When I clambered laboriously out, there was a girl with dark red-blonde hair staring at me. 

"You're supposed to wear closed-toe shoes to go in there," she said sternly, and pointed at the sign not three feet from me."

"Oh," I said. "You're right. You also have to be four feet tall. Do you do this one? Are you four feet tall?"

She gravely stood with her back to the sign. She was about 1/4 inch over 4 feet tall.

Then she showed me her caramel apple lollipop. 

"Those are my favorite, too," I told her.


I jumped off a ledge onto a trampoline, but my knees gave out and I fell. I rolled into a ball and stayed there.

I finally moved when I heard the TL coming over, expecting him to yell at me for lying down. 

"Oh, good," the TL said. "You aren't dead."

"She's just embarrassed," J. said.


J.'s list of injuries grew: 

  1. He slammed into the ledge as he bounced back toward it (arm). 
  2. He bounced on his head (neck).
  3. He got rug burn all over his feet, knees, and elbows. 
  4. That pulled muscle he already had in his thigh, from softball and all the other sports. 
"I'm so old," he said on one of the injury-recovery breaks. "Why would you want to date an old broken guy?"

(That's funny because he's younger than me.)


"You guys lasted a lot longer than most adults," the TL said. "Most people over the age of, like, 18, give up after an hour. It was a mistake, though. You'll regret it tomorrow. It was a mistake."


"Was that in the 1950s?" I asked J., today, when he told me the name of his first girlfriend. "That would be a good 50s name."

"The way I feel today, it might have been," he said.


(We actually both feel better than we expected. Trampolines are hard work.)