Sunday, September 13, 2009

That guy in the zip line

I am running the zip line at camp this fall.

So, the other day there's this guy...


We had a school group at the zipline and I was giving the safety talk; "this is the harness, that is the zip line, climb up over there, we're at the top to let you zip down, blah blah blah." The last thing I am always sure to remind them of is to not hang upside down in the harness. It doesn't go over the shoulders so going upside down, though most definitely still safe, is not 100% safe, and 100% is what we're all about at Camp. "Don't hang upside down!"

So, the guy...

The guy is actually the teacher supervisor for the school children. Well into his forties I had all the confidence in the world that he still had his hearing. He heard the rules. He was standing right beside me. So close that I noticed we both had the same pair of shoes.

You can see where this is going. After the kids are all through we usually give the teachers and parents a turn. So, up climbs "the guy". As we transfer him from the ladder to the line this dialog tumbles down...

"Hey, we were thinking that it would be funny to put the harness on backwards and zip down like Superman," he says.

Noticing that his harness is done up correctly and that he is just joking around I say, "Yeah, you could try that at a different camp."

We both chuckle and then he says, "yeah, like at a camp for people with mental problems."

After that comment I was all business. I just wanted to get this guy down the line, into the building for lunch, on the bus and back to the city. So, I hook him up and off he goes. Almost immediately he flips upside down, making "Wooo Whoooo" sounds as he goes. In the shock of the moment (breaking the rules and loving it) I stand there for a moment in silence. Then Curtis, who is working with me up there says, "Man, I hope he cans himself on the tire." The tire is the bumper that keeps the rider from smashing into the pole at the other end. After he says this I realize that I should start letting him down so that he slows up and doesn't hit the tire too hard. As I lower him he continues to pick up speed toward the tire, completely vertically upside down, and now with his legs spread open for some reason. Curtis and I brace for what could possibly be the best "tire hit" in the history of the Nakamun Zip line.

You can be sure that the words I type cannot express the experience of the moment. Curtis and I laughing it up as this guy smacks his crotch into the Goodyear! The best hit we've both seen. A guilty feeling of pure joy rises up in my chest. I smile as I wind the line back up for the next rider. The guy slowly walked back up the hill to return his trolley and harness. He didn't say anything to us about the hit because we all knew that it was his fault. He eventually got on that bus and we went away a funny story to tell.

1 comment:

sara said...

Oh gosh. I was managing the ropes course at Caroline and one of the kids took BOTH SAFETIES OFF. On a big crow's nest, thank goodness..
I'm good at keeping my cool in those situations, but I almost barfed.

I'm glad that you will be able to carry that image with you forever. I have good images of people getting hit/hurt that, while slightly funny at the time, are ONLY funny in retrospect.