Friday, December 3, 2010

A Big Ol' Zipline to Query Hell

Every year, I get the opportunity to engage in some staff and student "team building" at work.

I love this sort of stuff: low ropes elements, in which we have to work as a team to get all members across imaginary crocodile pits and over six-foot walls, high ropes elements that involve balancing on tree branches and leaping into thin air...

Well, I don't like that part of it so much. You could say that I have a more than healthy fear of heights... and also that I'm not athletic enough to pull myself up a swinging rope ladder contraption without looking totally ridiculous.

But I have to set a good example for the students and so I do my best, wheezing however many feet upward and as far above the ground as I can manage before I lose my nerve. Most of the time it's a good experience all around.

But several years ago, I got myself in a little too deep, er, high.

It all started with one of our soon-to-be-graduates. He'd struggled through three previous team-building days and, seriously afraid of heights, hadn't made it to the pinnacle of the high ropes course: the dreaded ZIPLINE. This particular zipline required you to climb about 60 feet up a tree by clinging to giant staples in its trunk, stand on a teeny tiny ledge high above the ground and step off into a nothing that lasted 300 feet or so (Probably not the exact measurements here...suffice to say it was high, long and scary)

I truly believe that facing one's fears is one of the most worthwhile and life-affirming things a person can do, especially when done in relative safely. The ropes course thing has been a life-changer for many struggling students and with all good intentions, I promised this student that if he did the zip line, I would too.

THAT's how I ended up clinging to the tippy top of a tall tree in a helmet and rock climbing harness, whimpering something like "I'm the mother of three children! I can't do this!" in front of the entire school, students staff everyone.

I knew what was coming, knew I'd hate that stepping-off-the-edge-feeling-like-you-are-going-to-die moment and that probably, afterwards, it would all be okay. But the stepping off part loomed like you can't believe. I finally womaned up and did it. And really it wasn't so bad.

Fun? Eh, not so much. But definitely worthwhile.

Why the big long story about ropes courses, you ask?

Because I got one of those , ominous self-addressed-stamped form letter rejections today and looking at that sealed envelope, I experienced the same clinging to the top of the tree dread as I did during my zipline experience. I had gotten myself into this, gone and stepped off that teeny platform into a long, terrible (well, not soooo terrible) slide. The all consuming query and wait, hope and dashed-hope thing I (now) remember so well.

As with the zipline, I will learn something, face what I didn't know I could and, maybe, end up hanging 60 feet in the air from a crotch-hugging harness while the "team" finds a ladder and gets me the hell out of here.

At any rate, thanks for being the "team" part of this team-building activity. I really do appreciate all of your kind words.

Here's the updated Query Tally:

Queries sent-- 5
Fulls Requested-- 2
Fulls Rejected-- 0
Partials Requested--0
Form Rejections--2

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