Monday, February 28, 2011

The climb

Why, oh why, did I think it a good idea to climb 66 flights of the Rockefeller Center yesterday? Yes, it was to raise money for MS, a very worthy cause. But I did this last year, and remembered the ghastly experience in agonizing detail, so I should have known to bow out gracefully this time.

But, as is often the case, the train had left the station. I had strong-armed colleagues, appointed a team captain, and told everyone and their mother I was doing it, so do it I must.

I set my alarm for 5:45 am. Turned it off. Woke up in a panic at 6:17 am. Thought for a minute about not showing up. I could stay home and snuggle with my kids. Or at least argue with them about what's for breakfast. Decided it wasn't honorable to bail. Drove like a maniac. Met my bleary-eyed colleagues at 7:10 am -- way earlier than should be legal.

The group was in higher spirits than they had any right to be. Bets were laid. Jokes were made. And lots of photos were taken. For god's sake -- had they no mercy? I am way past the age where I can face a camera before noon, and certainly never without lipstick. I hadn't even had a cup of tea to brace me.

The siren (unnecessarily loud) went off at 7:30 am and up we climbed. And you know what? We all made it. And we enjoyed it. (Actually, make that "enjoyed" it. I enjoy a good sleep, a good wine, a good laugh. A good climb? It's just not the same kind of "enjoy".)

The athletes in the group ripped up the stairs with startling ease. The chap who hadn't worked out since college (lifts drinks I gather, but that's about it) made it up alive. I climbed and swore, climbed and swore, emerging into the sunlight after 20 minutes with a limp fist pump.

All fine achievements. But they pale in comparison with the achievements of people we passed along the way. The lady with MS climbing one slow step at a time on her walking frame. Very young kids climbing to support parents affected by the disease. Firefighters climbing with all of their gear -- yes, all of it.

It was humbling to be in their company. And I was so, so proud of my colleagues for getting out of bed to join them.

You know, something just occurred to me. They have 2 water stops on the way up. Next year, I will ask them to serve mimosas. Climb and sip, climb and sip. It will be so much more civilized.

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