Pivotal Moments and Critical Decision-Making
I freeze. I need time to consider my options. In climbing, a situation can change in a heart-beat. I recognise this immediately, as one of those incredible moments which the entire future of my climbing career might depend on, if not my life.
Our Lass has just asked me what sort of places I would like to consider for a holiday...
Until that moment, things had been straight-forward. We are at a wedding of one of my friends. He must be a bloody good friend if I haven't found an excuse not to bother, but Our Lass was also really keen on us going. We are sitting on top of a hay-bale in a field while people play guitars and sing on a teepee stage, the braziers have been lit, and people are smoking fags all over the place, which after a few years of The Ban, is really novel and amusing. It is a warm evening after a nice day.
But no mistake, I am in the shit.
Immediately, destinations flit through my mind. Flatanger, El Cap. The Alps. I try and look thoughtful, but Our Lass is not fooled.
She leans closer. 'NOT climbing.'
'Erm... Erm ...' I am struggling, its like pawing around for a half-decent handhold. For Fuck's Sake! Stuck for an idea, and I can only relate it to a climbing situation. No shit, I have a problem.
'What about America? Would you like to to go back to Cape Cod, we could stay at the hotel where you used to work?'
Actually, not a bad idea. I have thought a few times about going back, it was a great place, where I had a great time. As long as none of the same waitresses are still there it should be fine...
'Anyway,' she says, 'If Vermont is nearby, we could go and see all the leaves when they change colour.'
I enthusiastically agree - the Green Mountains would do nicely.
'Boy really liked it when we went to Cyprus, that was a good holiday.'
'It would want to be for the money. Half-fucking-Term. Anyway, I nearly drowned. Fucking scuba diving.'
'Doesn't have to be Cyprus, what about another Greek island?'
Champion. Kalymnos. Sport Climbing. Deep Water Soloing. That could work.
'I regret not going to Nepal when we had the chance, ' I say. 'I would have liked to have gone, in hindsight.'
Two of our mates had invited us to go over when The Boy was very little, but we had just taken him for his last infant vaccinations and we couldn't face putting him through it all again.
'I'm not sure it was that good. They had altitude sickness.'
'I'm not sure it was altitude sickness - it was just the shits wasn't it?'
'We could go to the Basque area of Spain, as a family, that sounded nice, when you went last year.'
It was too, I had crossed a glacier summited two 3000m peaks, crossed a glacier, visited the village of my ancestors, and been thoroughly spoilt by a close friend's family in San Sebastian. Thumbs up again.
|I suppose we could go back.|
All in all, this conversation is going well! She suggests Japan: fair enough she has learnt to speak Japanese, and points out that The Boy would like the gamer culture and weirdness of it all. I agree, and I think it will be like cyberpunk novel. Then I suggest the west coast of Canada, and it is not blown out of the water.
We are in a haze of agreement and goodwill.
'Anyway,' she says 'Where would you go for a climbing holiday?'
I real them off like an auctioneer. When I finally look across to see how it is received I realise she has not been listening for several minutes.