I went rock climbing tonight, with Randy, for the first time in years. My arm muscles are in revolt now; they remember supporting my whole body weight off tiny little chips of bolted-on rock, and they don’t want to type. Don’t do that to us again, they say. We’ll give you the jo-jeezly-Barbie-arm rigor mortis again if you do. Randy says when his dad was in town he tried to get him to climb, but since he’s an orthodontist it’s too big a liability for his fingers. An excellent point, say my fingers, and point rigidly.
This was an indoor wall. I did my early climbing in places like Joshua Tree and around the Kern River, and I spent a lot of time being snobby and telling everyone how I preferred that. (They looked at me like I was stupid, and said yeah, that’s a given, we would too.) Randy, meanwhile, was drooling in anticipation of his next big adventure, which is going to be climbing cliffs in Thailand that lead from a sandy beach to a rainforest plateau.
There is a purpose to climbing indoors, especially in Manhattan. I sat at the bottom of the wall watching Randy scramble around fifty feet above, and the impulse bubbled up in me to go UP all those buildings whose shadows we live in, without an elevator. I don’t know if I’ve felt that way the whole time, or if it just occurred to me.