Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 24th 2015 Contents 12| WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt May 24, 2015
| ADVENTURES IN FITNESS |
By Roslyn Carrington
LET'S GET THIS STRAIGHT from the giddy-up: I'm
afraid of heights. Not just mild vertigo: I cling to the in-
side when I use the stairs, have a morbid fear of glass-
fronted elevators, and clutch the shirtsleeves of random
strangers when negotiating any balcony above the 3rd
And then I went ziplining.
Maybe I was going through some sort of prove-it-to-my-
self phase. But one Sunday morning last month, there I
was, at Zipitt in peaceful Maqueripe with my son in tow,
preparing to face my #2 fear. (I won't tell you what my
#1 fear is, because you might throw a spider at me.)
The process of gearing up is thorough, and that calms
me somewhat. Smiling, well trained young guides strap
me into a body harness that wouldn't be out of place on
the North Face of the Matterhorn. A few selfies later,
we're outside, being briefed about the trauma that was
about to befall --- I mean, adventure that faced us. Again,
three thumbs up for the professionalism of our guides. I
listen with a fine-toothed comb, trying to memorise
every nuance, because I have no wish to fall screaming
to my death.
Then, we ascend The Tree. I try to dispel the image of
Marie Antoinette mounting the platform. Around me,
friends are laughing. "The tree is ... shaking," I mutter.
"It's a tree," they respond.
At the top of that particular tree, I realise we have to
walk across a net canopy to another particular tree,
which is even taller than the one I am leaving. I'm at-
tached to a cable strong enough to haul a fire engine up
a precipice, but still, I am, shall we say, uneasy.
My son is giggling with excitement. I put my game face
on, because I don't want him lying on a psychiatrist's
couch, 20 years from now, recalling that his mother was
a yellow-bellied coward.
I walk, the canopy sways. I feel like a pirate. Not a
next-victim kind of a pirate. A walking-the-plank kind of
pirate. "Walk like you're on concrete," advises our guide.
Fat chance, I think, but do not say.
This is it. We're at the zipline. And it's a long way down. A
very ... long ... way. I avert my eyes as, one by one, my
friends are clicked and clacked onto the line. My son goes
before me, and by now he is cheeping like a parakeet. As
the guide clicks him onto the line, he smiles at me, proba-
bly noting my ashen face. "Is this your grandson?" he
"Actually, I gave birth to him," I say, which only goes to
prove that the last faculty I will lose before I die is my
wit. (And, as an aside, to all who take my smattering of
grey hair as proof positive of my grand-motherhood, EX-
CUSE ME for having made the decision to acquire some
of life's essentials (you know: education, job, house, car,
dog) BEFORE having children. I apologise for how badly
that must undermine your status quo.)
My sarcastic ruminations are cut short when I realise I'm
up next. There I am, standing at the edge of a nauseat-
ingly tall tree, being asked oh-so-nicely to step off into
the void. Now, there are two cables for zipping on, and
three lifelines attached to my harness. I have been on
gas platforms out in the ocean, 180 feet above sea level,
and not been as well secured. And yet, I was terrified.
"Whenever you're ready," says the guide encouragingly. A
lesser person would have just given me a shove and
dusted off his hands, but my guy is a darling. My son is
on the other side, laughing at me. I shout back, "Next
time you tell me you're hungry, we'll see who's laughing!"
That shut him up.
I take a breath, then another, then a leap of faith.
I can't tell you what happened next, because my eyes
were closed. But I did arrive at the other platform,
breathless, flushed, and victorious. I did it! I faced my
fears, and won! The guide offers a few words of advice,
"For the next line...," he begins.
Me: "What the next what, now?" You see, in my inno-
cence, I had stupidly assumed that this whole ziplining
lark consisted of skating from ONE TREE to ANOTHER,
climbing down and going home. Fait accompli.
He notes my surprise. "It's a circuit," he explains (proba-
bly trying not to laugh). "You have 6 more lines to go...."
I will spare you the gruesome details. Suffice it to say
that the only way down was by zipline --- and another
and another. But I did it, and I'm here to tell the tale. Did I
overcome? Yes. Am I proud of myself? Yes. Would I do it
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