15 October 2009

Cats, Ladders, and Heights

I had to rescue Jilly from the roof of the garage this morning. I'm not entirely sure how she got up there, but when I went out to get the cats in, there she was. My best guess is that she climbed up the neighbor's fence and jumped from there. She was meowing plaintively, like she didn't know how to get down, so I went into the garage and got the ladder. I don't like ladders, but I can use them so long as I feel stable enough on them. I got her down, found Princess hiding between the garage and the fence, and took off for work with the wrong set of keys. Thankfully, the secretaries get here before 8:00 am and have keys.

My first real indication that I have a minor problem with heights came when I was seven or eight and at my grandma and grandad's house in Akron, Colorado. There was something we had to climb up onto the garage for, and I got nominated because I was the smallest and lightest. I hated it. Give me handholds and rocks and ledges, and I'm perfectly happy. Put me on a ladder and I'm miserable. I think it's the same issue as with the stairs: all the open space makes me feel unstable. On a ledge, I feel more secure because I have the rock-face/building/whatever right next to me.

Interestingly, having the cold and medication nullify the effect for a day seems to have resulted in it mostly abating. Or, it might be more accurate to say that I've found a way to feel stable despite the open air of the staircase, and I think that I would not have done so without that moment of drug-induced clarity. That let me know that it was possible for me not to feel the effects, so I went looking for a way to duplicate the "cure" without the drugs in my system. Essentially, it's a mental image of dropping my root into the structure of the stairs, rather like the sensation I get whilst rooting against a taiji push. I wonder if that would work on the catwalk at the Minidome?

In rock-climbing, we climbed up the catwalk, which runs across the very center of a large stadium. It's probably a 100-150 foot drop. Climbing up the catwalk was much harder for me than rappelling down from it. Okay, the first time I said something like, "I'm a little bit terrified here," to the person who was helping me secure my harness, but, seriously, the rappel down was fun. The climb up...not so much. Incidentally, part of the reason I took rock-climbing was to work on my fear of heights.

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