I went to the climbing gym for the third time Thursday night, but it hardly seems to warrant the kind of narrative I wrote for the first two. But there were a few highlights.
Darryl was there again and he is starting a climbing club. He talked me into coming to his first meeting on Wednesday night. I told him I am in no way ready to climb outside on actual mountains but he wanted me to come anyway, so I guess I will, if for no other reason than I like him and want to hear what he has to say, and he asked me to.
I talked my cousin Laura into going with me. That is a story in and of itself, given that before Christmas day I hadn't talked to her in 20 years, despite us being best friends when we were kids. Not the kind of story I can tell on USENET anymore, though.
It was Laura's first try at recreational climbing, although she said they made her do a little of it in basic training when she was in the army. Something about me having to be the responsible one, telling her to take up slack or let out slack and don't take your hand off the end of the rope and so on, totally changed the character of the experience for me. I can't just go "AAAUUUGH THIS IS SO SCARY" and revel in the fear like I have in the past because I felt like if I didn't watch her it really could become scary, very fast.
So, no more fear, whatsoever. I occasionally got frustrated at not being able to make a move but it never translated into the sort of gut-wrenching reaction I've come to associate with the activity so far. Kind of a bummer. Also I climbed over twice as many routes as I did on my last time there and I didn't get sore at all, and no new cuts or scratches. Guess I'll have to work a little harder next time.
I'm wondering if I'll have to go climbing outdoors before I get fearful again, and maybe not even then. I was at REI today buying more gear and I got to talking to this kid that works there, and told him that the fear was my favorite part. He said "Eventually it seems like the fear turns into something else, like maybe respect." I wasn't paying much attention at the time but now that I think about it, he's probably right.