Making my way like Ginger Rogers
Backwards and in heels
Maybe the heals on my steel toed boots are not quite what Ginger wore.
When it was my turn I entered the tower and clipped onto the safety wire. The clip attached to both my harness and the wire was a genius of design. It had an internal brake. If I was climbing, the brake wouldn’t engage. If I went down slow enough, it wouldn’t engage. It did however have one major flaw.
The brake was big and bulky. It got hung up on the rungs as I climbed down. It was constantly engaging itself unnecessarily. Initially, I could take two or three steps down before needing to take a step up to disengage the brake. Two steps down and one step back? Ginger would have been proud.
I wasn’t there to dance. I wanted to go home. If the climb up was difficult, the additional problem of the brake made the climb down quite irritating. I’d make progress, then need to take a step back in order to save myself from the safety feature. I was hungry and really really really needed the toilet. I needed to keep going.
One two cha cha cha
Down I went, dancing with my steely, safety Fred. Though not in tap shoes, I was dancing. Eventually I figured out a way to hold myself such that the safety devices didn’t get hung up on the rungs. Eventually I lowered myself slowly enough that the brake didn’t engage.
Initially, when the brake caught, disengaging it was a fraught process. Two feet on rungs. One hand on the ladder. One hand was left to mess with the safety buckle. There were times when the passage of the buckle was impeded by some legacy safety devices that were not fully removed. It would engage. I’d step up. It would disengage, I’d step down and the buckle would hang up. In one place, I was caught up three times before moving on.
Down backwards and in heels I went. My hands shuffled along the ladders rails. My feet slowly stepping. The ladder, wire, safety gear and myself all working together. Every now and then the brake caught again. I would climb up, disengage the brake then continue. Things were improving.
My arms and legs were no longer straining. My efforts were assisted by gravity. Lowering down required less physical effort than climbing up. With a rhythm, I progressed more quickly. Finally, I reached the bottom.
At the bottom, I was greeted by smiling faces. Every one was happy. Everyone seemed quite proud of the work they did and the spaces they inhabit. Took you long enough teased Craig.
The safety gear slowed me down a bit Craig.
Well buddy, that’s what it’s there for. If you trip and fall you want it to slow you down.
Safety features, they’re here to slow us down. We have them ourselves. They’re here to keep us safe. They provide resistance. They are moments of hesitation, of doubt and of taking two steps forward and one step back. Or in the case of descending a tower of a suspension bridge, they take allow us two steps backwards and one step forward.
What are the safety features built into your character?
How do they help? How do they trip you up unnecessarily?
How do we work with their limits such that we don’t engage them, yet continue to move?