While my life achievements have been numerous, impressive, and intimidating to most mortal men, I tend to not publicize them. After all in today’s age we have at least seven different social media accounts (five of which you can’t remember the passwords), LinkedIn, blogs, Christmas newsletters, and on-line “brag books”. I have no idea what that last one is, but every professional job search service says you must have one. I usually just bring an old photo album of baby pictures.
So, imagine my horror when a friend sent me someone’s “climbing resume”. Seriously? With everything else going on in the world I now have to stress over my lack of a climbing resume? I’m a busy guy. I don’t have time to be searching for climbing resume examples on the internets. I have nymph fishing videos to watch (yes, this is a real thing and how I spent my morning).
Sigh… not wanting to be left out of the next social media, job hunting fad, I present my climbing resume:
- 1975 Climbed the big kids playground at the junior high school. Solo ascent. (class II 3.7+)
- 1977 Group climb of the Matterhorn. Seated climb, Disneyland-style. (class II 5.1)
- 1982 Ascended some hill in the dark to drink two beers we’d stolen from my friend Roberts house. (class I 1.0+)
- 1994 Summited high point in Houston (some office building downtown). Done in classic alpine style, carrying only a briefcase and sack lunch. (class I 2.2++)
- 2007 First ascent of Funny Bunny Express, Heavenly Valley, Tahoe. Expedition style, utilizing both “magic carpet” and “rope tow” methods. (class III 5.10)
Speaking of climbing and rope tows, I attempted to teach a friend how to ski this past weekend. First off learning how to ski when you’ve reached middle age, while commendable, has a few challenges you may not have anticipated when you were a little tyke. It’s not like a golf course – there’s no beer cart lady who periodically comes by to serve you tasty beverages. Your center of gravity is a few feet higher and further in front of you than it was as a youngster. This tends to have a negative impact on your relationship with Newtonian physics.
Also, the bunny hills tend to be filled with little kids and moms. It turns out they don’t appreciate expletive filled tirades when you fall. I tried to explain to the ski patrol dude that some little three-foot tall psycho went screaming by at mach II and cut us off. Anyone who wears an all pink “My pretty pony” ski outfit should have their pass pulled just on general principle.
The lesson learned? Don’t drop the F-bomb on the bunny slope (hey, that’s T-shirt worthy!). Also, knit ski caps give you really bad hat hair.
There’s a long list of things I’m not good at – gardening, polite chit-chat at parties, picking the shortest line at the supermarket, coordinating shirts and socks (Garanimals for men, please!), to name just a few. Let’s add paparazzi to that list. Ok, not paparazzi exactly. If someone uber-famous wandered by… like maybe Michael Bolton or Flo from that Progressive Insurance commercial, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to take a picture. But taking a picture of a complete stranger frightens the bejesus out of me.
You may be asking yourself, wait I don’t think this guy is a private eye so why is he stalking strangers and taking their picture? Yes there is a bit of a creep factor here, and as long as no one mentions it to my parole officer we’re all good. The real reason is that I’ve long admired the raw, unexpected, sometimes gritty images, that the truly talented street photographers capture. There’s something about real people going about their lives that’s just captivating.
I wanted to challenge myself to learn something new, something I was uncomfortable with. Poodle grooming is out so street photography seemed like a logical next choice. The problem is that I didn’t anticipate how hard it is to take a picture of a complete stranger – being relatively close and obvious. It just feels… invasive and a bit weird. Of course I could resort to one of those gazillion dollar lenses you see at sporting events and stand two blocks away, but that defeats the purpose. You can’t really capture emotion or the feel of something that way.
I’m not sure yet how I’m going to get over this irrational fear. And it is irrational. It’s not like someone is going to yell at me or chase after me. Even if they do, I can be pretty fast when I need to. I’m sure all that zombie apocalypse fitness training will pay off when that irate old lady gets all up in my face and wants to throw down.
So why can’t I bring myself to point the camera at a stranger and press the shutter? I don’t know. Maybe I need to print out a fake press pass? Dress like a tourist? Enroll in an expensive on-line course? One way or another, I resolve to overcome this fear. Sigh… maybe I’ll just go practice with more pictures of cows. They’re not too scary.
For this new year, I had resolved to have no resolutions. (well, starting after that one) Done. Move on with 2014. Now happily enjoying my structure-free new year, I attempted to impress some friends with a smug, Cliff Clavin-like factoid. After some rumbling and discussion we were forced to consult the device of all knowledge and look it up (smart-phone+search engine of choice+Wikipedia). My information was wrong.
Boom, mind blown. How could this be? It came from what I believed to be a very reputable source. Shortly afterwards, another statistic on a printed government map and trail sign. Consult the device of all knowledge… the map was wrong. How could this be? My faith in humanity, government, and the fundamentals of science have been shattered.
At that moment I un-resolved my original non-resolution and resolved to have one resolution for 2014. “QUESTION EVERYTHING” I was so impressed with my new quote I thought about a line of T-shirts… then discovered I’m not as original as I thought. Joe Rogan has a TV show by that name. Some old dead Greek guy (it was either Euripides or Homer Simpson, I’m not sure) said it. Whatever. It’s still a good creed to live by for the next year.
What if everything you thought wasn’t true? Maybe Miley Cyrus didn’t invent twerking? Perhaps Hillary really hasn’t made up her mind about running? What if skier packed powder just means we haven’t groomed in a few days? Maybe the Koch brothers really are hatching a massive conspiracy to take down the government? What if, gasp, Justin Bieber really is retiring???
The possibilities will shake you to the core if you start thinking about it. So, the next time you tell me something don’t be offended if I immediately consult the device of all knowledge to confirm.