Tuesday, 9 November 2010

A view from the top: Don't look down!

A colleague of mine mentioned casually that in his spare time he jumps out of aeroplanes, about 20 times a year. I am hugely impressed. That's real action man stuff. I feel even more whimpish now that I have to admt that I am scared of heights.

What's puzzling me is that I didn't used to be scare of heights. I seem to have developed vertigo as I've got older. I didn't know that the ageing process had anything to do with fear of heights but I was surprised when my older brother revealed that he too has developed a fear of heights in the last few years. How odd.

In my case it has become quite acute. It doesn't help that my holidays keep taking me to places with amazing views. The cable car climb up Table Mountain, Cape Town, had me clinging to the middle of the car for dear life like a paralysed pole dancer. As people gasped at the glorious sunrise on the edge of the Grand Canyon, Arizona, I sat shivering and slightly dizzy looking resolutely in the opposite direction. The Stratosphere at the end of the Las Vegas strip where you can see straight down, the stairs to the middle section of the Eiffel Tower, driving through Rift Valley, Kenya, overlooking Niagra Falls and even the view from an old look-out tower atop the hills in the Peak District - all left me scared, sweaty and shaking.

So, how do I confront this? Some people insist that you face your demons. Kill or cure. It's time to "Man Up". Feel the fear and do it anyway. Me? I'm past all that macho stuff. I think I'll just change the places I go on holiday. Holland is looking pretty attractive all of a sudden.

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