We’ve already established I like to climb things. I was a gymnast until I was 12. I was a dancer and diver throughout high school. So when my dearest AfricanKelli (she’s not really African. But she kind of looks Mexican. Although she’s not Mexican either.) tweeted about a Groupon for a Trapeze Class, I was on that sucker like a Tolar on an alcoholic beverage and a sarcastic retort (Tolar is my maiden name, natch).
Last Saturday morning I showed up at the Trapeze U facility in Gilbert to find this:
And I may have peed in my pants a little bit. Just a dribble.
I love everything associated with the acrobatic arts and I can still do an aerial if you get enough wine into me and then tell me dismissively you don’t think I could ever do one much less do one right now outside on the grass (I have a weak spot for reverse psychology after glass of wine #3). However, I have to confess: I have a fairly crippling fear of heights.
I feel pretty strongly that buildings should never be taller than they are wide. I am much more comfortable with the principles of logic and gravity behind buildings whose latitudes are greater than their longitudes, if you catch my drift. The Egyptians had it right (no political joke or insensitive remark to follow, I swear); pyramids don’t fall down. I rode up to the top of the Hancock Building in Chicago a couple of years ago and had the strongest sense of deja vu as we sped to the top floor in an elevator that shook back and forth. It took me a second, but then I remembered where I’d experienced this before: IN MY NIGHTMARES. I have a recurring dream where I go to a party at the top of a tall tall building and when I get up there the building is weaving back and forth ready to topple at any moment. I’m on my hands and knees crawling to the elevator trying to get back to level ground (I just peed a little bit recalling that. Maybe it’s not fear, maybe I have a bladder control problem).
The teeny little anorexic ladder we had to climb to get up to the plank to grab the trapeze was definitely taller than it was wide.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we tackled any lifelong terrors, we totally learned to speak a new language! That’s right, I now speak Circus, the ancient language of freaks and performers. I never mastered Spanish, but I’m a whiz at Circus. Apparently in Circus, ‘go’ is pronounced ‘hep’. Also, ‘flying’ means ‘holding onto the trapeze way high up and swinging back and forth awesomely’. It’s a complex language.
After we learned the basics of the commands and were given a tutorial on how we would manage to attach ourselves to the trapeze once we’d made it up to the leaping platform we were fitted with a harness belt that totally accentuated my muffin top in an incredibly unflattering way. Then I was told to climb.
By the time I got to the platform and was clipped into the harness, I was shaking ‘like Elvis’ as the trapeze artist professor pointed out. He had me hold the rope with one had and the bar with the other and shouted ‘HEP’.
I, of course, didn’t move. Not an inch. Instead, the trapeze professor and I had the following conversation:
Me: So, if I miss the bar it’s ok and I won’t die because there’s a net, right?
Trapeze Professor: Well, and you’re harnessed in, so I won’t even let you fall right into the net. I’ll lower you down.
Me: Right. So I can totally miss the bar or my arms can just break off at the wrist because there’s no way I have the strength to handle this, but I won’t die.
TP: Yes, no dying.
Me: OK. I think I’m ready.
And I did it!! I swung out over the net and hooked my knees up around the bar and let go and swung only by my knees. It was amazing! It was awesome. It was so worth this moment:
I was so flooded with endorphins of fear and exhilaration that even after I got down safely to the solid earth, I wasn’t safe from myself:
It was the most fabulous thing I think I’ve ever done. By the end of the class I was even doing this:
I cannot wait to go back. They have a 7 week class with a performance at the end (with costumes! SQUEEE!) I’m going to have to ask for for my birthday (hint hint, husband and/or parental units). I still have a lot of work to do before I can run away to join the circus. Namely, I need to learn to point BOTH of my toes when my legs are wrapped around the bar: