Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rock People

I'm procrastinating like you wouldn't believe. My first-ever writer's critique group is on Saturday, and it dawned on me earlier this week that I have to bring something to the group to have critiqued. Here I sit, wondering what could possibly come out of my head that will be worthy of this critique group's time. So I've talked on the phone, sorted through the mail, eaten a burrito, made a hot cup o' tea, and pondered whether I'd rather be sitting at Agia Sophia to write this masterpiece. And now I'm blogging.

What I'm really going to write about is what I wish I was doing right now instead of procrastinating: rock climbing. More specifically, tonight I'm going to tell you about the people of rock climbing, and my favorite characteristic of theirs. All rock people seem to have one thing in common. They're obstinate. What exactly does this mean? defines it this way:

  1. firmly or stubbornly adhering to one's purpose, opinion, etc.; not yielding to argument, persuasion, or entreaty.
  2. characterized by inflexible persistence or an unyielding attitude.

That sounds about right. Most rock people come to the gym with a very specific purpose in mind. It could be an entire climb, it could be a portion of a climb, or it could even be one single move. They will climb, and more often than not, they will fail. But they'll rest, stare at the problem, talk to other climbers about it, and try it again. Climb, fail, repeat. Climb, fail, repeat. Climb, fail, ask for help, repeat. Climb, success!!!, next climb. That's how it works. And every single one of us loves it. The rock is both our rival and our teammate. 

We are people with an insatiable desire to conquer challenges. But there's one thing I don't understand about them. After crazy amounts of effort, I don't see anyone celebrate when they actually achieve what they've been working for! When I finish what I've been working (especially if it's taken me several days), I want to backflip, pop the champagne, scream, something. But no, I have to get off the wall, act unaffected and then happily move on to the next climb.  

I've never done anything else in my life with people who can be so frustrated with something yet continue to do it, and do it, and do it, until they get it. I've also never seen any of them angry about it. They are happy to be doing it, because they know it's making them better climbers. They're a peaceful, easygoing bunch. Remarkable. 

I'm now 30 minutes closer to Saturday. Time for me to practice being obstinate and write something impossibly witty, intelligent, and wise beyond my years. 



  1. Rock people do indeed rock! Although, I would have to say that you have seen people angry about not getting climbs....mostly because you have climbed with me!


  2. And I would say you are a rare bird, LLD. To help with this, you may want to consider Tuesday night yoga...

  3. I know you will write something amazing!!! And you have to tell me how it goes!

  4. oh this is such a good point.