February 25th, 2004

Sign: Go

A Personal High

Yesterday, our office went to a retreat/celebration at City Beach to celebrate a product release that I wasn't, really, involved with. But I got to go anyhow, which is pretty cool.

City Beach is a bizarre indoor party/athletic facility. It's a clever use of empty warehouse space, basically. They serve a buffet meal (mediocre mexican), do some teambuilding games (not as bad as they could've been), and then have free access to different sorts of games and sports equipment.

I was having fun since they had bocce ball. It's a fun game that's about equal parts skill, strategy, and luck. Turns out my manager's pretty good, being experienced in a french variant called petanque.

But the surprise, for me, was the climbing wall. City Beach's facilities always have those artifical climbing walls with little footholds bolted into a sheer surface. To make it safer (although their Fremont one has an open and all-angled area) they put you in a climber's harness and have a staff member on a safety rope. (This also allows you to rappel down.)

I've never tried these before. The single reason for this is that I'm acutely acrophobic. To put it in perspective, I dislike standing near balcony railings; I don't dare lean on them. I get wobbly going up a 10' step ladder.

But I gave it a try. I wanted to and I knew, intellectually, that it was safe. It was quite challenging personally. (The biggest tip, besides the obvious "Don't look down", is to keep your body pressed as close to the wall as possible.)

I reached out and rang the bell 30' above the ground! Dang! I came down rather quickly after that and was trembling slightly, to be fair; I certainly didn't linger and savor the height. But I was still proud of managing to overcome the stiff psychological challenge.
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