Sometimes I pretend I’m a badass. Last night, I went to a rock climbing gym believing that I was a tough chick and left barely able to pick up my keys. Which is not to say that I had a bad time. I’ve only been climbing a few times before, but I like the challenge of it. Of course, I could have gone with my friend Paul a few weeks ago, but we opted for having beer and plates of fried things instead. That was enjoyable in its own way, but kind of the opposite of the original plan.
I was in the mood to go climbing again, but Paul’s back in Boston, and I was a little nervous to go by myself. Yeah, I’m soooo hard core! But seriously, I used to know some guys who called the weight room “The Iron House.” They always kind of growled the words because it’s this manly place where they go to…be manly or whatever. They were kidding, but I’ve been to a few gyms where that was the vibe. I’d walk through the door, and a bunch of beefy guys would turn and stare at me as I entered their sacred space. I usually just put my headphones on and went about my business, but sometimes, when I’d lift weights over my head and come perilously close to tipping over, I became a little self-conscious about being in The Iron House. That sense of awkwardness made me scared to try it out on my own.
I didn’t need to worry. Everyone was really nice, and, in fact, two guys—Peter and Justin—showed me how to follow the routes taped off on the wall. And when I proved to be incapable of doing that, they kept me from seriously injuring myself, which I really appreciate. Thanks, guys! Peter also offered the sage advice that if I felt like I couldn’t climb any more, I should stop doing it. I nodded while assuring him that I was probably not going to do that. I pretend to be hard core, but I am stubborn for real. Even when I got a butt cramp (I’d tell you which cheek, but I don’t want to overshare), I walked it off and tried again. I didn’t make much progress, which only fueled my determination. I’d study the wall, grabbing at different holds to see what felt right. Climbing reminds me a little bit of ballroom dancing because when you do it right, it feels natural, and when you do it wrong, you clothesline yourself. After an hour and a half, though, my arms pretty much quit on me, and I decided that was a sign that I should take Peter’s advice.
I feel better today than I expected to when I tried to brush my teeth by keeping my arm still and moving my mouth around the toothbrush last night. I had a friend in college who said that having a mild hangover made her “a worthless human being” for a day. For 24 hours, she lazed in bed, wore her most comfortable pajama pants, and left the house exactly once to go to McDonald’s for fries. That’s how this feels. I’m sore, sure, but I can move. It’s mostly that I’d rather not, and so any time I started to reach for something, I stopped and asked myself: “Do I have to?” If the answer was no, then, I conserved my energy in case something came up that I absolutely must do. In fact, why am I typing right now? I’m off for a quick fast food run and a nap!