There’s never been anything I couldn’t mentally do.
And then a few weeks ago I found myself standing atop an 18-storey hotel sobbing into my tour guide’s chest.
Yeah, I’m a wimp. Wanna fight about it? I’m only beginning to understand this, turns out. I’ve ridden my high horse from Vancouver to Peru this past year, conquering fears while rock climbing on cliff faces and inside gyms, and generally laughing in death’s face while being tossed around white-water rapids in a dinghy.
I’ve always said it’s not the height that freaks me when flying, but the lack of control. I have fear of equipment malfunction, or something. A complete lack of faith.
But I’ve always just done it.
That day, I found myself on top of the Tryp Quebec Hotel PUR, with the opportunity to décalade down the side of the hotel. It SOUNDS like rappelling, but it’s not: you’re actually facing the ground, and your body is fully extended.
I figured I’d calm down after being all geared up.
I went through my own safety demonstration with the guides. I crowded around the edge of the hotel roof. One-by-one, volunteers began making their way down the side. Even the big, burly men were clearly terrified: they sat on the edge of that roof trying to slide their feet forward but being unable to take their eyes off the bottom. One-by-one, they all made their way down.
People on the rooftop of other buildings took pictures. Folks in the streets paused to watch. And those brave souls just walked straight down the side of that hotel like it was nothin’.
I wasn’t the only one crying. The only difference is that I freaking lost it, and could not control the sobs coming out of my mouth. I stood up there for hours trying to gather myself, while some of the group even came back for thirds…and FOURTHS! Their big grins and ecstatic energy told me what I was missing out on.
One friendly guide in particular walked me through the procedure THREE TIMES to explain how the gear held up. They hugged me, reassured me, and were generally AMAZING about the whole thing. And finally when they strapped me in and pushed me to the edge of the hotel, and I dangled my boots over the side, I was gripped with the most blind panic I’ve ever felt in my life.
NO NO NO NO NO! I just kept it saying over and over again, until the guide eased me back off the roof. I unhooked, ditched my gear, and ran to my hotel room without evening saying “SEE YA!” to my awesome guides.
Damn, you guys. I totally failed. Will I deal with it next time? Will there be a next time? Who knows. I’m okay with being a pansy though, even if I missed that adrenaline rush.
Thanks to the décalade team for being so freaking awesome! And for patiently dealing with my whining. And for all the hugs. I loved the hugs.
Despite my wimpiness, if you ever get a chance to do something like this, FREAKING DO IT. Then call me up and laugh in my face. I’m okay with it.