I didn’t know any of the songs/chants/prayers the other campers did.After I’d already solidified my reputation for being a pain in the ass, all the campers went to a rock climbing gym.
Most importantly, dating a climber means they get your obsession.Dating a climber means that dates double as climbing trips.Vacations become sport climbing trips to Greece and spring break with the wife and kids happens in Fontainebleau. Dating a climber means having an easily accessible partner, often one who will put up with 4 am alpine starts to the sport crag, heinous multi-hour hanging belays and grueling 16 pad sherpa missions because they love you.So now, a few times a week I struggle up walls fueled mostly by shame and spite. But rock climbing is like solving a puzzle with your body. I can climb harder walls today than I could last week.To be fair, shame and spite motivate me to do other things like writing, stand up comedy, and thank you cards. Because it occupies all my limbs and also my mind, it’s hard to think about anything else for seconds sometimes minutes at a time. What I like about rock climbing is that there are clear metrics showing that progress is happening. Presumably I will continue to get better, I can choose to feel good about this.The treadmills seem even sadder there than at a regular gym.The Cliffs are full of people who can do one armed pull ups, and look relaxed hanging upside down by their thumbs. I climbed walls for children and focused on learning how to tie one knot correctly. There are numbers indicating which walls are harder.The first time I went rock climbing was at summer camp.My parents had just moved from Germany to North Carolina and wanted me to have some kind of experience.They sort of did their research, but they confused “non denominational” with secular.They accidentally sent their atheist eight year old to a camp for people who go to mega churches.