Pride Comes Before the Fall (or at least the rope burn)
As I mentioned before Thanksgiving, I was busy last week trying to obtain skin cancer in the lovely Caribbean on a cruise. Not too much exciting to report except for one anecdote I will now share with you. (BTW, skin cancer achieved!)
I was on the Norwegian Epic, and one of the unique things about that ship is that they have studios for solo travelers, of which I was one. In the studio section of the deck, there is a nice, cozy lounge for people to hang out and meet people if they so desire. A gathering area of sorts. Personally, I used the lounge for the comfortable seating and electrical socket to plug in my laptop since it wasn't quite comfortable enough to use my laptop on my bed. It became a nightly ritual that I would be down there on my laptop playing Civilization V and somewhat eavesdropping on other people's conversations because that's what socially awkward people like me do. Indeed, a lot of people would comment, "Oh here you are again." Go ahead and shake your head if you want, but this wasn't exactly the love boat -- the majority of the solo travelers were older people and a bunch of dues for the most part. I'd be friendly when I could, but for the most part, I kept to myself .... until she showed up.
Now, I don't know too many details about her other than she was cute and dressed very nicely, but one late morning before lunch, I was in the lounge on my laptop again. She was with another lady and commented that here I was again. I smiled and said, "That I am, but not for very long." She then mentioned that she and her friend were going to be at the rock climbing wall at two o'clock, and that I should get out of the lounge and join them. I, again, smiled and said, "Maybe I will." They left, and I joined my family for lunch.
At this point, you can imagine the thoughts running through my head -- idealistic scenarios and expectations of what might and might not be, and I decided that indeed, I would go to the rock climbing wall at 2 to see what came of this. So I arrived at the destination fully prepared with the requisite equipment of shirt, dry swimming shorts and socks. As I stood in line watching other people attempt the wall and smirked when I realized that the spotter was giving the rope a little tug to help people when they got to problem situations on the wall. Alas, she was nowhere to be found. Perhaps a little disappointed, I decided I would do the rock climbing wall anyways, and here's where the pride kicks in.
For your information and amusement, here is the aforementioned rock wall. In my great hubris, I thought I'd do the left side of the overhang which is the hardest route on the wall. Not only is there an overhang, but the hand holds are far fewer and between. Nevertheless, I thought to myself, "I work out. I should be able to do this with great ease." So then, I tallied forth and attacked the challenge with gusto. I approached the first overhang quickly enough and after getting my hands on the first holds above the overhang, At this point, usually people would try to scramble their feet or legs to a hold to help get up the wall, but I thought I could just lift myself with just my arms since.....you know, I work out and all. The miscalculation on my part was that my reach was not long enough to pull up with one arm and grab the next hold before gravity intervened. Filled with shame, I swung away from the wall, suspended by the rope, and the spotter let me down to the ground.
"Do you want to go again?" the spotter asked, and eager for redemption, I agreed to go again. Earnestly I got to the overhang again, but again I tried to pull myself with my upper body strength only. And again, I failed to grab the next hold before gravity taunted me. With a double portion of shame, I swung away from the wall, but from all the exertion, I was quite winded. I had to give up after that, and the spotter tried to be encouraging and said I probably could have made it if I had gone slower. More salt in the wound. Later on, I realized I got this lovely mark from my prideful attempt to conquer the climbing wall. It is indeed my mark of shame for trying to impress a hypothetical girl who wasn't even there. Later that night I bumped into her in the lounge and asked if she was able to make it to the rock climbing wall. She mentioned casually that the opportunity did not present itself, and then she headed off to her room to retire for the night without too much more conversation. That, my friends, is how you make yourself feel sad. Public service announcement, boys and girls. Pride will make you feel stupid and foolish. Don't do it.