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June 13th, 2010

Jana and I went by City Hall today to stare down our opponent (the taller building, the one on the right). Twenty-eight storeys is ... tall. Really, really tall. It's one thing to know intellectually that yes, a twenty-eight storey building is going to present something of a challenge. It's another to stand there at the foot of the building, and stare up, and up, and up, and up. To imagine one's self at the top of that height, with nothing but some ropes and a climbing harness to keep from succumbing to gravity.

Rappelling from a twenty-eight storey building? We must be crazy. But it's an awesome sort of crazy.

I have never done anything like this in my life. I'm not the sort of person who naturally gravitates towards activities such as lowering one's self off the side of tall buildings with a rope. I hate rock climbing. I am generally cautious, even hesitant. I do not tend to pursue activities that might risk my life and limbs, because, well, I'm rather fond of them.

And yet from the very moment that I first read the announcement that City Chase was going to be holding a rappel from City Hall, I felt the desire to be that person -- if not the daring, adventurous sort, then at least someone who can recognize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and pursue it. Someone who can do something awesome, amazing, memorable -- not without fear, but in spite of it.

So here I am. Jana and I (aka Writers With Day Jobs) made our fundraising target with the help and support of some truly amazing people. ($2,500 in a week and a half -- and here we thought it impossible.) Three days to the rappel, and counting.

I am genuinely terrified of this prospect. True fear. Last week I had a few days where just thinking about it was enough to make my appetite vanish, and give me trouble sleeping. When I think about what I'm going to do, my stomach tightens like a fist.

I believe that the moment where I have to go from standing on a solid building to hanging over the edge with 300 feet of empty air beneath me will probably be one of the most frightening things I'll ever choose to face. I fully expect that before I start, I will be trembling hard enough that I'll have difficulty standing -- and that when I reach the bottom, I won't be able to stand at all.

But as afraid as I am, I feel excitement in equal measure. No, that doesn't even quite cut it. Joy, perhaps. Something bright and thrilling. It's ... it's going to be totally amazing. Unforgettable. And I'm not going to let the fear keep me from that.